New store may be good for taxes, but don't forget local businesses

Posted: Tuesday, January 06, 2004

It's been two weeks and I thought I'd give Home Depot a try. It was clean and organized, as Home Depots always are upon opening. The mess, clutter and empty bins come about six months later in my experience.

My shopping list was for a 5/16-inch 8-point socket, a pair of 4-inch insulation-compatible recessed lights, a tube of caulk and a Dewalt impact driver (a late Christmas present to myself).

I found four people in orange aprons who "didn't work in this department" and two who did.

Neither knew if the tools were available anywhere (they are) or if they stocked them (they didn't). The employee in lighting didn't seem to

understand my specifications, pointed out the lighting display and said, "Everything we have is here" and then left.

But what I wanted wasn't there.

So I was off to AIH, SBS and Brown's Electric where my requests were understood and, in two of three cases, filled from stock. Nobody required me to show photo ID and there were not 13 security cameras in place.

I did buy the tube of caulk for 52 cents less than SBS charges. I could have gotten 2x4's, houseplants, PVC pipe and many other items for a good price. And the sales tax revenue from Home Depot will undoubtedly help the city of Kenai replace the revenues lost from Kmart's closing. But what a familiar experience to Kmart go in with a list of four items, find only one and still have to keep shopping elsewhere.

I fear that our local stores that know and stock more specialized items may not last if they lose patronage. I'm willing to pay 52 cents more for that.

David Thomas


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