Midsummer Afternoon Plumbing Supply Reverie

MIDSUMMER AFTERNOON PLUMBING SUPPLY REVERIE “. . . I swear to you — some plumber supply places got it going on. We needed a new water heater and some parts that go with that for the new tenant. So I headed out to find the proper supplies. There’s a couple different plumbing supply places that I’ve seen this set up at now: a long countertop with stools in front of it. People sit on the stools and chat with people on the other side of the counter about all sorts of stuff. It looks like a bar. The place I went to today had the coolest barstools too. They were old metal barstools with white vinyl seats that said ‘Rheem Water Heater’ on them. They’re all beat up and worn. The place is an old building in the warehouse district. It’s hot – there’s no A/C. A warehouse door pulled up lets an all too infrequent summer breeze blow in. The floor is old wood panel that had seen rough wear for years. The men behind the counter were older, smoking, and turn on polite charm for me, a woman, looking for some odd part. I want to hang out here, talk about the job, the work site. Things I can’t do because I have no idea about any of it. But it looks fun. I know I’m romanticizing it. But I imagine tall tales get told here: competitive stories about who found the grossest thing come out of a clogged pipe, or weird disaster jobs with insane and creative resolutions on the fly.” [Dog Food Sugar]

7 Comment

  • My wife loves those kind of places! Appliance parts places can be like that too. Usually that’s where the old service techs go to work when they “come in from the road.” They can be old-fashionedly charming to women and will often give you excellent repair advice if you buy something.

  • On the other hand, going to the right Lowes that actually has a really good plumbing sales specialist will handle the whole thing from start to finished installation. If you buy a water heater from anyone these days, it needs to be installed by a licensed plumber (crack included) to be covered under the mfgr’s warranty.

  • Right! it’s a racket with the big-box stores – like auto dealers’ service/warranty…

    There’s a Western Auto in Conroe I patronize because: 1)they know what they’re talking about, 2)don’t sell you what you don’t need, and 3)let you sit in the patio-set chairs which are perennially ‘for sale’ but seldom actually sold.

  • I love those kinds of places, too, marmer. Plumbing stores are fun but I’m seldom in there any longer than necessary to buy a toilet flapper. Appliance places and fireplace-supply places have tended to be condescending to females. I bought the appliances for my first house at Trade-Rite on Washington Avenue because they were the only ones who treated me with respect. Unfortunately they went out of business because they wouldn’t take credit cards, though they did finance.

  • My old master plumber buddy Ralph says that the only sure cure for “plumber’s crack” is overalls.

    I wish Ralph would run for Mayor again this year.

  • Unfortunately “Mayor’s Crack” equates to endless revenue schemes.

  • I can imagine that the knowledge located at this establishment must pretty vast.