Author Topic: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store  (Read 2771 times)

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oogyda

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A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« on: January 12, 2013, 09:34:08 AM »
and I was that stranger.

I have a lot of DIY home improvement experience.  I've owned (and lived in) 5 houses along the way, varying from brand new, contractor grade everything, to a house built in the 1920's that needed a lot of upgrades.  Our latest house was also brand new when we bought it, and I am now getting around to painting and making some cosmetic changes. 

So, I was in the lighting aisle, selecting a new fixture for above my kitchen sink.  Behind me was a family (I assume) of mother, father and 19-20 year old daughter.  They were looking at the type of fixtures that go over a bathroom sink.  This was obviously to be the daughter's choice, and she was saying she didn't like any of them because they were all hanging down (by this, she meant that the globes over the lightbulbs all had the openings at the bottom).  She didn't like the ones without globes because they were "just ugly". 

Upon hearing her, I turned around and said that "Almost all of those fixtures can be turned around so that the globes are facing up."  The young lady's eyes lit up and they thanked me for that information.  I went on to say, "Personal experience has taught me that you don't want the globes facing up, because all the dirt and dust just collects in them and you have to take them apart to clean them."  The father told me, "That's a good point.  I never thought of that."  The mother asked what I meant by taking them apart.  I said, "You have to take the bulb out, to get down to the bottom and take the globe out to give it a good cleaning." 

As I already had my purchase in hand, I left at that point. I know it was impolite of me to let them know I was listening and by interjecting my unsolicited opinion.  How far into E-hell have I descended?
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Giantkillersmom

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 09:58:23 AM »
I personally would lift you right up out of Ehell and thank you!  We"re installing new lights today and you just gave me some valuable information and saved my husband from me making in turn my globes back down!

TootsNYC

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 10:02:59 AM »
Yep, me too.

I think in those mostly public places like that, providing info (especially the way you did) is quite polite.

You have been "introduced" by being "under the roof." And since the conversation was ABOUT that particular roof, then you can simply speak up (as long as you do it politely, which you did). Now, if they'd been talking about the daughter's boyfriend, or something, that subject was NOT "covered by the roof," and you'd have been rude to interject yourself.

At least, that's how I see the "introduced by being under the same roof" concept that's well established in etiquette.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 10:25:54 AM »
I don't think you were off in talking to them.  You had some helpful advice, and they apparently appreciated hearing it!  However, I find it funny that you recommend having the globes point down.  When I had sconces put in my living room, the electrician told us that they always recommend having the globes point up (despite having to clean them more) because it lights up a room more.  Having the globes point down directs the light down so not as much of the room is lit. 

Thipu1

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 10:26:10 AM »
I would certainly be happy to get polite and useful advice while shopping. 

What you did sounds perfectly fine.   

TootsNYC

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 10:43:03 AM »
I don't think you were off in talking to them.  You had some helpful advice, and they apparently appreciated hearing it!  However, I find it funny that you recommend having the globes point down.  When I had sconces put in my living room, the electrician told us that they always recommend having the globes point up (despite having to clean them more) because it lights up a room more.  Having the globes point down directs the light down so not as much of the room is lit.

Sconces in a living room are different from over-the-sink lights in a bathroom. They're positioned lower, for one thing; sconces are often at head level or below, and bathroom lights are usually overhead.

For one thing, in a bathroom there is MUCH more dust, I find, because people are drying themselves, combing their hair, etc. (a substantial part of dust is dead human cells). Also, bcs the globes will get moist and then dusty, cleaning them is more of a pain. Add to it that they're overhead, and it's harder. In a living room, you can often simply take the feather duster to them, or take them off more easily. (I don't know, but it's possible that some sconce lights might have globes that come off more easily as well.)

And in the bathroom, I personally want the light to shine straight now, because I may need to perform surgery or other delicate tasks (bandages, eye makeup, etc.). The bathroom has always been the place to go for strong lighting in the homes I've lived in.

But in a living room, I'd want the lights to bounce off the ceiling a diffuse across the room.

gramma dishes

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 10:45:48 AM »
I would have thanked you.  You weren't interjecting yourself into a "private" conversation.  You were simply giving them the benefit of your own (considerable) experience with light fixtures.

oogyda

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2013, 11:07:28 AM »
I don't think you were off in talking to them.  You had some helpful advice, and they apparently appreciated hearing it!  However, I find it funny that you recommend having the globes point down.  When I had sconces put in my living room, the electrician told us that they always recommend having the globes point up (despite having to clean them more) because it lights up a room more.  Having the globes point down directs the light down so not as much of the room is lit.

Sconces in a living room are different from over-the-sink lights in a bathroom. They're positioned lower, for one thing; sconces are often at head level or below, and bathroom lights are usually overhead.

For one thing, in a bathroom there is MUCH more dust, I find, because people are drying themselves, combing their hair, etc. (a substantial part of dust is dead human cells). Also, bcs the globes will get moist and then dusty, cleaning them is more of a pain. Add to it that they're overhead, and it's harder. In a living room, you can often simply take the feather duster to them, or take them off more easily. (I don't know, but it's possible that some sconce lights might have globes that come off more easily as well.)

And in the bathroom, I personally want the light to shine straight now, because I may need to perform surgery or other delicate tasks (bandages, eye makeup, etc.). The bathroom has always been the place to go for strong lighting in the homes I've lived in.

But in a living room, I'd want the lights to bounce off the ceiling a diffuse across the room.

LOL!! I was coming back to answer Lady Snowdon, but TootsNYC already said what I was going to. 

I will add that the grime that settles in my bathroom is made up of dust, steam, body powder and hairspray.  Not a fun combination. 

The electrician is correct in his reasoning....it just depends on the application and/or desired effect. 
It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2013, 11:18:34 AM »
When I bought my first house, I was doing some minor repairs and renovations myself.  Mostly painting and carpet but I had some small drywall repairs to do.  I was in the aisle looking at the mud and tape and whatever else I thought I needed.  A contractor was there and took a few minutes to explain to me how to do a small hole repair with a little piece of drywall and some wood behind it.  And he told me to go ask at the counter for a broken piece of drywall that they'd sell off for a couple of dollars instead of having to by a quarter sheet for doing the repairs.

I was extremely grateful.  He saved me a lot of stress of trial and error and I was able to do the repairs myself.

I think the home improvement store is one of those places that advice can be dispensed freely without concern for being a buttinski.
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cicero

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2013, 11:50:35 AM »
i love "strangers" like you!

sometimes it's hard to get real, tried-n-true, hands-on advice. I find that sometimes in these stores, the clerks don't really know, and just either parrot what they've been told, or try to push specific brands. It's nice to get advice from someone who knows and doesn't have an angle.


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Yankeegal77

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2013, 12:49:10 PM »
This was totally, totally fine. Above fine, actually!

I think TootsNYC's wording about the "roof" was perfect. You contributed to a non-personal discussion about lighting with *helpful* advice. (The only time I would caution against offering advice or help under a public "roof" is a pharmacy or in a public, yet "personal" setting, if you know what I mean. This is neither.)

Home Improvement and hardware stores often have customers who are looking for ideas and trying to figure out how they are going to successfully complete a DIY job. Offering advice is fairly common and I would think, very well-received.

As long as it's not done in a condescending way, lending a voice of expertise or experience is incredibly helpful. This would have prompted me to offer to buy you a cup of coffee! :)


m2kbug

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2013, 01:01:05 PM »
I think you were very kind.  I've done that too.  You gave some useful advice.  I have asked fellow shoppers if they know something and I have had fellow shoppers ask me I know something.  We're all kindred spirits at the store.   ;D

Hmmmmm

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2013, 01:06:16 PM »
I agree with everyone else that a home improvement store is one of those places where people welcome unsolicited input. 

VorFemme

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2013, 01:27:23 PM »
I get a lot of advice at hardware stores.  I also give out a small bit of advice now or then, to people with less experience than I have (I am our house fix-it person as DH doesn't have the vision or patience to do most of the repairs).  Lasik didn't entirely fix his vision - although it did help - I took over to avoid the issues with the lack of patience. 

I pass along my own experience at fabric stores - one place where I had shopped for years, the staff would send people over to me if I was in the store with a comment about "we don't have any experience with THAT, but SHE might know something!"  Sometimes the person would get really lucky and I'd read how to do it on a sewing mailing list recently and could point out their options in that store (and the staff liked that a lot).

« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 02:52:39 PM by VorFemme »
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Amara

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Re: A stranger's advice at the home improvement store
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2013, 01:33:04 PM »
I'd love to find myself next to you in a home improvement store!