A lesson on attitude

May 9th, 2007 by k8gu Leave a reply »

Sarah (my wife) has been itching to do something with the “jungle” of a back yard we have at our duplex (rental). We decided to install some landscape timbers and put mulch in the middle so we can use our picnic table or chairs there. The periphery will be filled with various plants from the “distressed” sections of garden stores.

We went to the local “big-box” hardware store to get the timbers and related hardware. We had a terrible time finding the spikes (giant nails) that hold the timbers together. The associate who helped me was probably in his mid-60’s. He said, “Putting in landscape timbers, huh?” I replied to the affirmative. Then he said, “That’s a lot of work. Do you have a sledgehammer?” in a rather condescending tone. “Yes, I do.” I replied. What did he think? Do I look like I was born yesterday? I neglected to tell him that I also was purchasing a Speedbor bit for my drill (to make inserting the spikes easier) and that I planned on cutting the timbers with my circular saw. Furthermore, we laid-out the space using my level and surveyor’s tape.

Maybe he was having a crummy day…it was a sunny Saturday that he was stuck inside working. But, this was a lesson to me not to assume anything about the competence of anyone. Just because I didn’t know where the spikes were doesn’t mean I’m a complete idiot.  My dad gets the same treatment from the “computer experts” at the big-box electronics stores, even though he built a computer (at the board-level, a Heath H8) before most of them were born.