Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
The Hardware Hike
case you've missed me, I've been lost at a big box hardware store for
three days. Why do they make those stores so big? I know they need a
lot of room for their lumber, lawnmowers, and ceiling fans, but a body
could go in one of those stores and never find their way out.
I needed a package of screws. Screws, a two-dollar
item! To find screws I had to go through aisles and aisles of more
stuff than you will ever need in your lifetime. I didn't know what
some of it even was, much less what it might be used for.
This was not my usual hardware store. I go to another store because it
is closer to my home. But I was right next door to it anyhow doing
another errand. It seemed silly not to go in and get the screws while
I was there.
I decided to go in through the garden center entrance since it was
close and the front door was three miles in the hazy distance. After
wading through acres of petunias, begonias and assorted bedding
plants, I finally came to the real door, the one that goes inside the
store. I felt like I was on a jungle safari and was starting to
How on God's green earth are we expected to find anything in that
giant-size toolbox of nuts and bolts? I'm spoiled by the Internet
where you just type it into the search engine and go straight to where
you want to be. I needed a Global Positioning System to zoom in on the
After a quick surveillance of the area, I knew it was totally
hopeless. I would have to ask someone. The problem is that asking
someone meant finding someone to ask. The friendly orange vests
suddenly all disappear when you need them. I think they don't know where anything is either and would rather not be
After dodging a 20 foot stack of boxes on wheels being pushed down the
aisle by an invisible person, I finally cornered an orange vest long
enough to get directions. I didn't understand the directions, but I
got them. "Turn by the lawn mowers and cut though the paint, and
hardware will be right there."
I'm sure there must be people who turn by the lawnmowers, cut though
the paint and are never seen again. When you file my missing person
report, just say, "last seen in hardware store looking for
I finally, at last, found the right area, and then it was a matter of
finding the right item. There are hundreds of screws... millions of
screws... long screws, short screws, fat screws, skinny screws, wood
screws, metal screws, Phillips screws, slotted screws, concrete
screws, stud screws, and screws for which no name has yet been
invented and probably never will be.
I needed four screws. I finally found a package with a dozen, plus
some mysterious plastic holders. At this point, I didn't care. I
just wanted to buy screws and go home before I collapsed from fatigue.
Finding the front door took another two days and even then I had to
tackle an orange-vested employee and put him in a strangle hold until
he agreed to show me where it was.
I crawled up to the row of cash
registers and put my screws on the counter gasping. "Is that all," inquired the clerk as she waved them across
the scanner. Is that all? Is she kidding? It took me three days to
find those screws!
I could only think of one other thing that I could possibly need - a
search and rescue helicopter. You thought I was going to say a GPS,
didn't you? Okay, I'll take one of those too if you will find it for
Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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