Amazing But True Hardware Stories

  • An Awkward Piece of Copper Tubing

    When I was just starting out in hardware (mid ‘70s) many customers brought in a piece of copper tubing with the nuts flared on the end. It was not uncommon for them to want a new piece of copper, and they would reuse the old flare nuts. One day I looked at a man who was here for this purpose and said, “Alright sir, now if you’ll just step to the back, I’ll cut your nuts off.” I don’t know whose face was redder!

    Susan Harlan
    Vickery Do it Best Hardware
    Smyrna, Ga.

  • F 'n' P washer

    We sell Fisher & Paykel washers, often abbreviated as F and P. Our hardware employees, unfamiliar with the abbreviation, think customers are swearing at them when they say they need service on their F ‘n’ P washer. They probably wonder what a P washer is used for, too, but none have ever asked.

    Amy Earls
    Page Hardware & Appliance Co.
    Guilford, Conn.

  • Do You Have Any Hose (Hoes)?

    My personal favorite is “hose (hoes),” preceded by “Do you have…” 50/50 chance of getting it right and I have had some pretty indignant looks when I didn’t guess right.

    Mark Nakajima
    Ace Forest Grove
    Forest Grove, Ore.

  • Do You Have Any Paralyzed Lime?

    Had a lady ask if we had any paralyzed lime. Finally figured out she meant pelletized.

    Susan Miller
    Bob’s Hardware
    Whiting, N.J.

  • Womanized Wood

    We frequently get calls for “womanized” wood. Wolmanized. Really. Thanks for the laugh!

    Karla Robson
    Slavens True Value
    Cortez, Colo.

  • An Itching Problem

    I had an employee come in one day who was practically dancing around with an itching problem in a sensitive place. I instructed him to call a doctor for an appointment immediately and could overhear the conversation as he did. When prompted for the location of the problem, he hesitantly replied that it was in his “gentile” area. Took me 10 minutes to get up off the floor.

    Ken Sculley
    Tom Horne Supply Co.
    Thomasville, Ga.

  • Free Firewood

    As a lumberyard we accumulate piles of wood pallets. The local fire department is always after us to get rid of them. A few years back we made a large sign out of an old sheet of 4×8 plywood. We painted on the plywood “FREE FIREWOOD” and put it in front of a pile of pallets and left it in front of our store overnight. Next morning all the pallets were still there but the plywood sign was gone.

    Joel Kessel
    Lynn Lumber Co. True Value
    Lynn, Mass.

  • Espresso and Free Puppies

    Sign posted on the salesfloor: “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy. Thanks kindly, Morgan Hardware.”

    Larry Floyd
    Morgan Hardware
    Lavonia, Ga.

  • Do You Have Any Left-Handed Nails?

    A young, visibly frustrated customer came in recently and asked if we had left-handed nails. He said he was having real trouble driving nails in. We did not have any left-handed nails so we sold him a left-handed hammer.

    Richard Filion
    Eldredge Lumber & Hardware
    York, Maine

  • We Sell Crack & Ship Pecans

    We sell pecans in the fall and ship them from our post office in the store. We will also crack the pecans for a nominal price in our cracking machine. One year, obviously not thinking, I put on the portable sign on the street: WE SELL CRACK AND SHIP PECANS. It only took an hour to make me walk outside and change the sign. Customers still come in and ask if we are back in the drug business yet.

    Gary Johnson
    Home Ace Hardware
    Columbus, Ga.

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