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Inspirational Reads

Lowes: Still Useless

October 5, 2009

So, I've been having some issues with the toilet in the kids' bathroom. It's been wanting to run. A lot. Health kick or something.

The other day I went and bought a different kind of chain--one of those chains made out of bb's, as opposed to the links that were in there before--hoping that it wouldn't get tangled and keep the flapper open just enough for a slow leak of water. It seemed to do the trick. The other night, though, it was running, and I wasn't sure what the problem was. I took the back off the tank and looked in to find the water still running. It was filling, but slowly. I pondered calcium build-ups slowing the flow of water or something.

Then I looked at the bulb/float and how it was connected to the water inlet.

Hmmmm... I pondered, looking at the screw-based mechanism of operation that served as on/off switch. How does this work? I lifted up on the arm that connected the spigot with the bulb.


As I stood there with a bulb-and-arm mechanism in my hand, watching the water flow unchecked into the tank now, my eyes grew to the size of saucers as I silently panicked on the inside. However, ever the cool head, I quickly reached down and shut off the water into the tank. Catastrophe averted; face saved (ish).

The next day, after dinner, I loaded the kids up into the car and we headed to Lowes because, I thought, this will be an easy fix. Bulb, bulb arm, snap a few things together, and we back to flushy paradise.

Not so fast, my friend.

Of course Lowes doesn't do the simple and convenient thing, and supply you with a replacement arm and bulb. Of course you need to replace the entire fucking system. Convenience? That's for pussies. Ease? That's also for pussies. Someone manning the plumbing section of the store, ready to answer your questions with anything other than a blank look? As if.

So, I took the cheap replacement kit, guaranteed to fit my toilet. After wrestling the old mechanism off the toilet (not that it was difficult in and of itself; the problem was just getting the right angle and fitting my fat overly large hands into the small space between the wall, toilet bowl, and vanity cabinet) and successfully not blasting myself in the face with the last bits of tank water, I reinstalled the new mechanism. Everything was good, tight, and, seemingly, ready to go.

Time for the bulb installation and we'd be good to go!

Again, not so fast, my friend.

Seems as though the replacement kit, guaranteed to fit my toilet, features a long, brass rod to connect the bulb with the spigot. So long, in fact, that I can either screw the rod into the spigot mechanism or screw the rod into the bulb, but not both. I muttered a few curses under my breath, wished the people at Lowes to be afflicted by the public lice of a thousand camels, and went to bed, reminding the children to just go ahead and use my toilet for any needs.

The next day, back to Lowes, where I figured they'd have a replacement arm that was shorter. I mean, it is a plumbing supply store, right?

Not so fast--oh fuck it, you get the idea.

In fact, they offered a replacement arm that was the exact same size as the one in the replacement kit I bought. Variety is the spice of life, and these motherfuckers are living it to the blandest.

That meant another trip to Home Depot.

Off we went. Once I finally found the toilet supply aisle (one thing Lowes has over Home Depot is better marked aisles), I found a shorter arm for the set up. It was $1.75 or something like that.

But, here's the kicker: I went through the self-checkout (yet another thing that Home Depot does right and Lowes fails epically at). I paid for my merchandise. I gathered the children and prepared to head off to Target for some groceries. The lady manning the self-checkout lines (you know, the Overseer), called out to me to stop me. She asked if my kids could have some candy, and she produced a little cup filled with Jolly Ranchers and Redvines and such. Are you fucking kidding me? Free candy and exactly what I need for my home repair project! Sold.

But, not only that, but my daughter picked out a piece of candy that had one of the ends ripped off, and the lady stopped her! She was like "Oh, I can't let you have that one, sweetie, it's been opened!" And then...she smiled!

Free candy, the right part, and service with a smile? If Jesus were to go looking for supplies to man the old carpentry shoppe, I'm sure he'd go to Home Depot. And if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.


Elliott said...

You gotta be careful with the ballcock, those things are delicate.

I generally don't want assistance at the home improvement emporium, so I still like Lowes because 90% of the time, they have what I want for less than the Home Depot. But since you got out with only two trips, you're lucky no matter what. Plumbing is usually a three-trip job for me, even with pictures.

otherworldlyone said...

Thank gawd I don't do that sort of handy work.

JenJen said...

Waitonefuckingminute: you took your children to HD and/or Lowes?!

You are my hero.

BeckEye said...

Someone should tell Gene Hackman to stop doing those Lowe's voiceovers.

Frank said...

I smell sellout! I wanted to read an MJenks tale of shenanigans and tomfoolery, not a Home Depot commercial!

HD is wayyyy better than Lowes, though...

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Sorry, Frank. I've been trying to go for slightly shorter posts, since the last few weeks have been filled with posts of Tolstoy-evian novels as opposed to short, quirky, and (debatably) funny.

Wonderful said...

Oh man, I hate going to Lowe's for anything. I tried to find a cute flower pot there once and they were all like $20. I found one on clearance for $1.79 at Home Depot.

Mala said...

You had me at "The other day I went and bought a different kind of chain"

...Gawd I love your tales of manly home repairs!

Jill Pilgrim said...

Um, Jesus would have just magic'd up some supplies.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

I go to Home Depot because the men at Home Depot appear to be educated above a second grade level and have actually had their hands on the type type of caulk that I can use in the bathroom (and not the other kind often used in the bathroom). So when I ask them for help trying to find a 16 penny nail, they know what I am talking about and don't make exceedingly bad comments about "nailing" me or anything else.

Samsmama said...

A running toilet is quite possibly one of the most annoying things ever. Thank you for fixing yours, it was driving me nuts.

The toilet in our master bath will occasionally suffer from a "phantom flush" and it drives me insane!!!

Tennyson ee Hemingway said...

Jesus! Don't talk to me about Jesus! I'm still waiting for him to come fix our window. I only found out the other day that he's gadding off to Jerusalem on a donkey. Fucking tradesmen!

Scope said...

I saw Jesus in Home Depot. At least that was his name tag said. I was thinking of asking to see if he could stretch a toothpick into a 2X4, but that story's not canonical.

Nej said...

I think our HD people actually like seeing us come in now, we're like a challenge.

"So...we have this (insert problem with having an older house here). But, never fear, we have a plan. If we could find a (insert misc plumbing fixture here) that has a 45 degree bend...and then a (insert electrical conduit resource here) that is 5 inches long...I think we can put attach them with (insert obscure hardware here) and all should be well."

One of the cashiers was a student of Mot's when he was teaching. It's not uncommon to hear "Mr. Mot, WHAT are you making NOW???"

dg said...

Cap'n Recovery swears by Home Depot. He'll drive miles out of his way to visit the HD and flip the conveniently located Lowes the finger as he sails by it.