Free samples….

Today’s positive is actually from yesterday, but I think carrying over is ok.
Last summer we were given a solar blanket roller for the pool by someone who installed a heater and no longer needed the blanket. However, it was nothing at all like the type of rollers we’ve had in the past, so we simply couldn’t figure out how it would work for our style of pool. However, we went online and this seems to be how most of them are now, and while we STILL can’t quite figure out how it will work, we decided to try it.
Now, solar blanket rollers are adjustable length. The catch is that you have to adjust the length BEFORE you put in the screws to hold in place the straps that the actual blanket attaches to. To adjust the length later you have to take the straps off by removing the screws. Which inevitably have rusted in place. That being said, Paul finally got the screws out, shortened the thing, but now needs new screws for the straps. This is where I come in.
Being as I’m home all summer, bored, with absolutely nothing to do…..I get conscripted to run all the errands. Just the other day I ventured into the lumber section at Home Depot and actually purchased fence boards! I never knew women were allowed in places like that! (yes, I’m being sarcastic) So off I trotted to Home Hardware, nasty rusty screw in hand. I turned down the screw aisle and stopped dead. There is an entire aisle devoted strictly to different types of screws! There are umpteen different sizes, different lengths, different heads, different materials, different purposes… was I supposed to find exactly what I was looking for in this unfamiliar land? However, I’ve learned that if you look helpless enough, some kind person will generally rush to your rescue, so I headed for the nearest man in a red shirt. I explained what I needed, but he was unable to help me because they didn’t have any stainless steel screws. (Paul wanted stainless steel because they won’t rust, he says) So the nice man sent me to a nut and bolt place over on Morton Ave.
I pulled up in front of it and sat in the van for a moment. This place most definitely looked off-limits for women.  No pretty window displays, no nice sign, nothing at all inviting here. I gathered up my courage and went in.  A jangly bell on the door announced my entry, but unlike most shops, no one came scurrying out to greet me. This was a warehouse, with merchandise displayed on metal utility shelving or in boxes on the floor. Beyond the counter, aisles of shelving stretched back as far as I could see. Who knew there were so many kinds of fasteners? A warehouse full of different ones. Wow.
Finally a nice little man – yes, he was short – appeared from behind one of the shelving units at the back and bustled up to the counter. I had a horrible fear he would refuse to sell me what I needed, because this looked like the kind of place where you order screws by the billion for your construction company, but he listened to my request, asked what I needed them for, and scuttled off down an aisle. He had to climb a ladder to find the box he needed, but he did find it! He came back up to the counter with my four screws and matching washers and we had a friendly chat about pools and solar blankets while he popped them in a little plastic bag which he stapled shut. I had my money out, ready to pay him, when he handed me the bag and said, "There you go, we’re good." I was confused, and said questioningly, "I’m sorry?" He told me it would cost him more to write up the bill than what the screws were worth, so he was giving them to me as a free sample, and his only request was that if we need anything for a bigger project, we should come back to him.  I was utterly delighted, and assured him we would do so!
A small thing, yes. I got free screws that would only have cost me a couple dollars, but it’s the principle of the matter – he GAVE them to me.
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