Last weekend, my dad and I took apart my shower faucet to try to repair a persistent leak. We were able to remove the entire assembly from the wall and take it over to Home Depot with the intent to replace the whole thing. I figured with the piece in hand, it would be easy to find a match and buy a replacement.
When we got to plumbing section of Home Depot we saw LOTS of parts, none of which looked anything like what I'd pulled out of the wall. Our plan turned to try to just find replacement washers and rubber "seats" to replace the worn out pieces.... Unfortunately, we were overwhelmed with options, yet none of them seemed to be exactly what we needed. After about 30 minutes, I was able to track down a Home Depot employee for assistance who informed us that their stock was low, and it was unlikely we'd be able to find the pieces we needed. However, he did provide one bit of useful information -- the location of the Inglewood Pipe & Hardware Supply Co.
Inglewood Pipe & Hardware Supply Co was easy to get to right off of Hawthorne Blvd -- we didn't have compete with weekend warrior traffic you usually run into at the mega-retail shopping complexes. (However, Inglewood Pipe & Hardware does share the parking lot with "Jet Strip", a local gentleman's club. I can only imagine the intense games of Roshambo taking at place at nearby construction sites as guys fight for the tasks to go pick up supplies at the hardware store).
When we walked in, we showed the elderly asian man at the counter the piece we had from the shower and told him it was leaking. He took the piece and then shuffled off to the back of the shop. As he was working, we looked around and took in our surroundings. Most of the prices for items were hand marked and the signs for the departments had a very classic "general store" feel. All the while, the man shuffled back and forth working on our piece... even firing up a few machines to help with the process.
About 10 minutes later, the man returned with the piece for our shower. I was more than happy to pay for an entire new piece, but he essentially rung us up for the cost of a couple washers... $3.50.
After re-installing the piece back in the shower, the leak was fixed and it was good as new (at least what I would guess it was like back in the 1940's when it was new). I've definitely found a new hardware store for me. The extra help and attention to detail makes it worth any incremental cost in supplies.
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