Sheets and Screws


My Labor Day project was not onerous, but made me re-think the shopping experience.  A cabinet door hanging askew revealed that of a three-screw hinge, one screw remained. It lay on the top shelf beside crystal dessert dishes inherited from my Great Aunt Ruby. It was an inconsequential bit of hardware, but I know more about screws then crystal. I found my Phillips screwdriver and reattached the hinge, noting that one of these years I should dust the crystal. But why? I have never subjected guests to the potential shattering of precious glass circa 1910. I will pass that fear on with the complete set of crystal to a granddaughter. If she breaks it, she will not be haunted by the formidable Aunt Ruby. She had no children; she did not understand that the dynamics of fragility shift farther to the “oh well” with every pregnancy.

The least I could do was buy two more screws and properly attach the hinge. Shopping. Ugh. But Kohls is close to Sears and I have been meaning to treat myself to a new set of sheets – and I had a 15 percent off coupon for my entire purchase. Humm, I needed a teapot, too, and some greeting cards.

Kohls card section did not offer a single “welcome to your new home” card. If it did, no clerk was within a  barn-size vicinity. A blank card? No. Kohl’s does not understand the value of white space. If they did, they would not send me an email every day. Actually, they send it to my spam folder along with emails from everyone else I do not care about.

On my way to teapots, I was blindsighted by an adorable dress, size six-months. Alivia has a lovely wardrobe. Even so, the dress is in the mail. My sighs of satisfaction carried me through the aggravation of finding exactly two styles of teapots, both with confusing pricing. I picked one, assured I could get the price at check out. The floor clerks were still wearing their invisibility cloaks. On to sheets. Only two white sheet sets in acceptable thread count. More confusing pricing. I opted for the “buy one, get one free” hoping I could get a 50% markdown at checkout for one set of sheets.

The checkout girl was multitasking: cell phone, land line, cash register, bagging.  Inserting my two price questions was akin to shoving my size 7 feet into my sister’s size 5 shoes. No one was pleased. I did not know if the prices were acceptable until she handed me my bill. Fortunately for her, her manager, the district manager, and the brand itself, the prices were acceptable.

 I thought of going to “customer service” to complain, but I needed to save my energy for Sears. Three little screws. How hard could it be? It is a small Sears, one I have found manageable before. Standing dumbfounded in aisles devoted to screws of every imaginable variety, I knew I could never watch another Bob the Builder cartoon without flashbacks of incompetence. But Sears has first responders. I’ll never think of them as “clerks” again. One was beside me before I could burst into tears and patiently narrowed down the world of screws until I had exactly what I needed. Three screws that would perfectly fit my hinge: 17 cents each. No charge for the counseling.

Now I know why men hangout at Home Depot and Sears hardware and are seldom seen at Kohls. Women are stronger emotionally and have more patience. Women who shop, that is. Being one of those few women who fail to thrive at malls, I should get a Sears charge card and burn my Kohls card.

I would, you know. I really would – except my local Sears does not carry little dresses, size six months.


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2 Responses to “Sheets and Screws”

  1. Lester Larkin Says:

    I enjoyed the article a lot. Does your Sears really sell individual screws? Next time I’m at our Sears in Vernon Hills, I will see what they have.

    Fourth paragraph: I would have used the word ‘blindsided’ instead of ‘blindsighted’. Blindsighted is the title of a book published in 2001. Blindsided is an unexpected intrusion. My spell checker likes blindsided better too.

    Happy publishing, Carol,
    Les Larkin, real person.

  2. stiggerink Says:

    Thanks, Les. I’ll leave the error to see if anyone else notices! It’s good to meet someone who knows and respects the English language. Did you have the formidable Miss Herod, too? (AH English teacher)

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