LAST MINUTE MUSINGS: Buy local: It might just save you from yourself

Monday, August 9, 2021

“Buy local,” they say.

The reasons are many … support the local economy … keep your neighbors employed … take better care of the planet.

The list goes on, and I’m sure Putnam County Chamber Executive Director Brian Cox would be thrilled to enumerate the reasons for you.

But perhaps the most compelling reason of all is customer service.

When you’re dealing personally with your fellow residents and not a big, faceless corporation, they tend to help take care of you.

Like when your refrigerator dies and you make an emergency trip to Shuee and Sons. Then Zach Shuee makes sure you have a new unit in your kitchen before lunch.

Or when you’re sitting across from Eric Davis at Furniture Aware House and he makes sure to knock a little extra off the cost.

Or you start calling around for prices on a new set of tires and Greg Hendershot makes you an amazing deal, earning himself a new customer.

My list of good customer service experiences in this town could continue, including Black Lumber, Dave’s Heating and Cooling, Myers’ Market and on and on and on.

But most recently it was Headley Hardware.

Late Thursday night, I heard sounds a homeowner never wants to hear — an unfamiliar gurgling from the pipes.

Rushing into the bathroom, I found a sight you don’t want to see — water draining from the toilet as bubbles rose, sediment-filled water backing up into the bathtub (I don’t want to think about what sediment) and, finally, water coming seeping out the bottom of the toilet and spreading across the bathroom floor.

At that same moment, the washing machine was finishing draining out its drum as the spin cycle commenced.

Obviously there was a backup somewhere down the line.

Fast forward to Friday morning, and I couldn’t find a plumber who was available. Everybody was busy into this week (too long to wait) or simply didn’t do that kind of work.

After some advice from BG General Manager Daryl Taylor, I moved onto the DIY part of this journey, going to Headley’s to rent a pipe snake.

The good folks at the hardware told me they had a 50-foot and 100-foot model of the pipe snake.

Fifty should be more than enough, I reasoned. My house isn’t that far from the road.

I returned home Saturday morning with the smaller model in tow. I found the cleanout pipe and uncapped it and stared at the murky water inside.

A little worried that the pipe snake might turn the wrong way, back toward the house, at the bottom, I began feeding it in … and feeding it and feeding it.

The work was easy … a little too easy. I wasn’t finding any sort of clog.

When I finally reached the end of 50 feet of line, the cable was still turning and the “muddy” water was still standing.


I had obviously rented too short of a snake.

In a move I should’ve made the night before, I measured the distance from the cleanout to the road — 53 feet. When you add in the distance down to bottom of the cleanout, I was coming up several feet from the road.

(another sigh)

After some bellyaching, hand-wringing and a good talk with my wife, it was back to Headley for the bigger model and, I assumed, a much higher price tag.

“So, it didn’t work?” the clerk asked.

Well, no, I explained, but not because of any mechanical problem.

“I’m just an idiot and rented the shorter one without measuring.”

After some consultation, they gave me a pleasant surprise.

“Give it to him for the difference in the price,” one clerk told the other.

That’s right, another four hours with the larger model for only the difference in price of the two, not the cost of a brand-new rental.

And a good investment that extra $25 was for me, as the larger roto tool soon had the sewer pipe again flowing freely — after I’d run out approximately 70 feet of line. I guess now I know that the sewer line runs on the other side of Avenue D.

Live and learn, I guess.

Next time (though I hope there is no next time) I’ll know and get the 100-foot unit.

As for this time, the folks at Headley did me a big-time solid and saved me about $60 that I tried to flush down the drain with my ignorance.

Buy Local: It’s like getting a reward for being an idiot.

Don’t think that’ll work? Try this:

Buy Local: Keep things flowing.

No? I guess I’ll settle on this one:

Buy Local: It just might save you from yourself.

I doubt Brian will be putting those on any upcoming Chamber promotions.

But, hey, I like them.

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  • It’s wonderful to live in this community. I have had roughly parallel experiences with many local merchants, including many of those you mentioned. Thanks for this article.

    -- Posted by Koios on Mon, Aug 9, 2021, at 9:52 PM
  • Great article. My dad always said that if you don’t shop in your small town you won’t have a small town to shop in.

    -- Posted by Nit on Tue, Aug 10, 2021, at 7:52 AM
  • I had the same thing happen about two months ago. All the drains clogged and they had to come out twice with the roto-rooter, what a mess! They said there were roots growing into the old drain pipes.

    Something interesting I noticed, regarding the ad for Headley Hardware running in the Banner Graphic- I saw a while back it says, “as featured in the November 2016 Popular Mechanics under America's Best Hardware Stores.” I was wondering what made it the “best”, compared to other local hardware stores? So, I went to Popular Mechanics website and read the article. Basically, the editors of the magazine, about 5 or 6 of them, picked a local hardware store and wrote a short piece about why they liked it. I looked up the guy who wrote the piece about Headley Hardware, and turns out he was a professor at Depauw at the time! I recall his article standing out to me as the most “waxing poetic” of all the stories, like a creative writing assignment, compared to the others that were more... journalistic? It's been a few years since I read it so I'm just stating what I remember of it. Anyways, so that's it. No contest or awards or anything special, it's really more of an article about local hardware stores vs. Lowe's or Home Depot. At the time, I guess the only true “hardware” stores near Depauw to choose from were Ace Hardware or Headleys. But I think the two hardware stores in Cloverdale, or in Roachdale are better examples of the sort of old-fashioned mom and pop hardware store they were trying to write about. Headleys is actually a Do It Best franchise store. The one in Danville is basically the same store in a different building. There's a bunch of them (with different owners, not Headleys). I also think that using this to advertise is a little bit misleading, considering it was just one man's opinion who had to pick a hardware store to write something about. Imagine if the title of this article was “Headley Hardware, the best hardware store in Greencastle” and then the next five years they advertised about it! Oh, well. LOL

    -- Posted by Raker on Tue, Aug 10, 2021, at 8:15 AM
  • What does shop local mean?

    -- Posted by beg on Tue, Aug 10, 2021, at 11:24 PM
  • I will shop local ( or at least look ) for things I need. Some things are simply not available in Greencastle. I have almost always found Headley Hardware to have what I need. I buy from Humphreys or Keeners for lawn equipment needs. Shuee's I highly recommend. Furniture Warehouse has the same furniture as the high dollar stores, yet at lower prices. We have good local plumbers, electricians, and local contractors. Summing this up , at least give the locals a chance, you can look without buying.

    -- Posted by goingon80 on Wed, Aug 11, 2021, at 8:57 AM
  • Support your local musicians.

    -- Posted by Tiger82 on Wed, Aug 11, 2021, at 5:51 PM
  • What does shop local mean?

    -- Posted by beg on Wed, Aug 11, 2021, at 11:02 PM
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