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Hardware Store Anon

By Hawkeye
Created: 7th March 2021 05:04:52 PM

  1. 6:45 AM
  2.  
  3. >Another day breaks bright and early.
  4. >But this isn't just any day.
  5. >Today is Saturday.
  6. >Specifically, the first Saturday after Winter Wrap-up.
  7. >Doors open in fifteen, and your staff is lined up by the registers.
  8. "Okay, ponies. We all know it's no coincidence that I have the entire staff here today."
  9. >Their faces are a mix of emotions.
  10. >The newest faces, who haven't heard the stories, are confused.
  11. >The batch hired last Summer have had nine months of listening to the stories, and nervousness and fear show on their faces.
  12. >The grizzled veterans show only stone-faced resolve.
  13. "It's the first weekend of Spring. And it won't be easy." you grunt. "For that reason, I've assigned your locations on the wall based on experience. You rookies will be working under the old-timers. They'll have your backs if the going gets rough, and they each know their section inside and out. You more seasoned heads will be running the registers. I'll be moving throughout, flag me down if you need me. I suggest you all find your posts and savor the last seconds of silence."
  14. >The crowd murmurs to themselves and then disperses.
  15. >Let the day begin.
  16.  
  17. 7:00 AM
  18.  
  19. >The first customers trickle in, heading back into the garden center.
  20. >Double shift working back there.
  21. >A burly looking stallion finds his way into the paint section, his marefriend chatting up a storm.
  22. >Traffic starts to pick up, and you find yourself flagged down by two regulars.
  23. >"Anon!"
  24. "Lyra. Bonbon." you nod slowly.
  25. >The chaos that rolls off of Lyra is almost tangible, kept in check only by the willpower of her counterpart and lover.
  26. "What happened this time?"
  27. >"What? Nothing!" Lyra protests.
  28. >"We just need a powerwasher to clean the deck."
  29. >Breathing a sigh of relief, you lead the two ponies down a few aisles.
  30. >Stopping in front of three options, Lyra immediately starts to bounce towards the riding lawnmowers.
  31. >Bonbon slams her hoof down on Lyra's tail, anchoring her in place.
  32. >For the next thirty minutes or so you discuss the merits of the different power washers with Bonbon, Lyra struggling to escape the entire time.
  33. >Before heading to the registers, you steer them towards the safety equipment and make sure they acquire safety glasses.
  34. >Well, at least a new pair for Lyra, Bonbon hasn't lost the ones from the Pudding Incident.
  35. >Ringing the pair up, you send them on their way.
  36. >So far so good.
  37.  
  38. 8:00 AM
  39.  
  40. >You find yourself wheeling a cart of pottery shards through the store.
  41. >The mare beside you won't stop apologizing.
  42. >"It's just that their father is already frustrated trying to dig the old stump out of the yard so I thought I'd bring them with so they didn't annoy him and-BOOMER IF YOU TOUCH ONE MORE THING I SWEAR TO CELESTIA I'LL MAIL YOUR TOYS TO THE NEAREST ORPHANAGE- normally they're much better behaved than this, I'm just so so sorry."
  43. >Letting your hearing recover, you simply nod.
  44. >The mare stops you at an aisle and proceeds to grab two dozen tubes of superglue.
  45. >As you ring her up, she starts scolding her sons as she counts the bits out.
  46. >"Now you two are going to put these pots back together with superglue, or I'm going to superglue these cold, pointy shards to your blankets. Understood?"
  47. >The colts nod.
  48. >The family leaves.
  49. >Jesus Christ.
  50.  
  51. 9:00 AM
  52.  
  53. >As much as you want to assist the Garden Center, you find yourself stuck at a register to alleviate the lines.
  54. >An elderly stallion hobbles up and pushes a receipt across the counter.
  55. >Pulling out a bag of bits, he starts counting.
  56. >The receipt details a patios worth of bricks, mortar, sand and a few hand tools.
  57. >His bill is several hundred bits.
  58. >"...seventy four...seventy five..."
  59.  
  60. 10:00 AM
  61.  
  62. >You miss the ease of watching octogenarians count money.
  63. >Bluegrass drops the last bag of mulch onto the wagon, and you secure the tailgate.
  64. >The stallion nods in appreciation, climbing into the harness while his marefriend takes a seat on top of the mulch.
  65. >As they start to pull away, the mare squeals and hops down.
  66. >Rushing over to a decorative display demonstrating various brick ending styles and showcasing the mulch varieties, she waves her coltfriend over.
  67. >"Ohmygosh aren't these patterned bricks gorgeous? We should totally edge the gardens with these!"
  68. >You can see the stallion looking for a way out.
  69. >You can see Bluegrass dreading the pallets worth of bricks she's about to order.
  70. >You can see the numbers flashing across your eyes as you run some mental math.
  71. "Miss, may I make a suggestion? These bricks are sharp and light in color, they really pop. Which is good for clean-cut borders on a prairie style home. But for something more organic, like the cottages common in your neighborhood, you'll be better off just keeping the edges trimmed. Now do you have a string trimmer?"
  72. >"Nope." the stallion replies.
  73. "Great, then I have just thing. It comes with a removable head so you can string trim with it, rototill with it, and edge with it."
  74. >"I don't know, can't we just do it by hoof?" the mare asks as they follow you back into the store.
  75. "Of course you can. Just get a little shovel and once a month go around the edge shaving just a smidge off. How many feet of border did you say you have?"
  76. >The mare considers your point and hefts the lightweight garden multitool.
  77. >"How much will this cost?" the stallion whispers.
  78. "Slightly less than a pallet of bricks." you answer.
  79. >You make brief eye contact.
  80. >Bluegrass takes the tool and rings them up.
  81.  
  82. 11:00 AM
  83.  
  84. >"So she's screamin' at th' damn kids and they're crying and I still haven't got this damn stump out of the ground and I look up and ask here 'where's the new tree?' and she stops, realizes she forgot it, and starts yelling /at ME/ for not having the stump out yet."
  85. "I remember them."
  86. >"Heh, I'll bet. Little hellions are somethin' else today. And Sherry ain't exactly in a good mood either."
  87. "So what kind of tree were you looking for?"
  88. >"Something that bears fruit. Maybe an apple tree?"
  89. "Well sir, here we are." you say, gesturing to several rows of saplings. "We stock apple, cherry and pear trees. If you really want, I can get peach or pecan trees as well, just be aware that they're a bit sensitive to the cold."
  90. >"Well now, I hadn't considered pears or cherries."
  91. "I've found that the apple trees are a little hardier, but there's less cleanup with cherry trees."
  92. >"Cleanup?"
  93. "Yes, well, birds will eat dropped cherries and ones left on the tree too long. Apples are too large for birds though, so overripe fruit starts to fall. You can spend the time every day or two picking up any unused fruit, or you can fight off the wasps and such the mess will attract."
  94. >Pausing, you can already hear the screams of his children ringing in his ears.
  95. "Cherry tree?" you ask.
  96. >"Cherry tree."
  97. "Oh, and before you go, let me show you our rental equipment, I have a stump grinder I think you might be interested in."
  98.  
  99. 12:00 PM
  100.  
  101. >Taking fifteen to wolf down a sandwich, you soon find yourself back on the floor.
  102. >"I'm looking for an attic fan." the stallion explains.
  103. >Furrowing your brow, you look the stallion over.
  104. "Okay, is there one up there already?"
  105. >"No, we want to add one." his wife answers. "And Celery insists he can do it himself."
  106. "Alrighty then." you smile as the stallion scowls. "Well, to start, is there a light up there?"
  107. >"Uh, yes. I'm pretty sure there is."
  108. "Okay, so you have power. Is there a vent of some sort?"
  109. >"I know for sure there's one of those."
  110. "Okay. If you'll follow me please..."
  111. >Leading them down a few rows, you explain what they'll need.
  112. "Okay, so you're going to need two, things and maybe some extra odds and ends."
  113. >"Extra?"
  114. "I'll get there. These are our ventilation fans, you'll need one of these ones down here, they should use the same voltage as the lights. Then you'll need a simple thermostat like one of these. You're going to wire it in-series with the fan. Make sure you turn it off at the breaker before you start working with electricity..."
  115. >You can see the stallion looking a little lost, and the mare looking a bit nervous.
  116. >So far so good.
  117. "Okay, so have you ever done any home wiring before?"
  118. >He shakes his head.
  119. "Then you're going to want a couple of tools, plus a bit of wire, some connectors..."
  120. >As planned, a whispered argument breaks out.
  121. "...a bit of electrical tape, or, of course, Stator over at that desk can set you up with one of our in-house service techs and spare you the hassle."
  122. >...
  123. >Ten minutes later, they're headed to look at window boxes in the garden center.
  124. >Another electrocution successfully avoided!
  125.  
  126. 1:00 PM
  127.  
  128. >All data lost.
  129. >Please see System Administrator.
  130.  
  131. 2:00 PM
  132.  
  133. "How?"
  134. >It's all you can say right now.
  135. >Bonbon and Lyra are back.
  136. >And Lyra has several pieces of board stuck to her back.
  137. >"Weeeeeell, Bonnie here stained the deck while I was fixing one of the gutters." Lyra starts. "And when she finished, she went to take a bath. While she was in the tub, I fell off the roof and hit my head pretty hard-"
  138. >"I found her passed out on the deck. So I got that circular saw you sold us last year, and cut out the boards."
  139. >You want to tell them that proper communication could have avoided this.
  140. >Or that a safety harness would have kept Lyra from falling.
  141. >The fact that Bonbon cut their deck up instead of coming and buying a solvent baffles you.
  142. "Sooooo..."
  143. >"We need something to separate Lyra from the deck, as well as some boards and another can on polyurethane."
  144. "Right. Let's get to it then."
  145.  
  146. 3:00 PM
  147.  
  148. >The mare in line gathers her things and leaves.
  149. >A gangly stallion with shaggy hair piles a mess of PVC fittings, a few five gallon buckets, some PVC pipe... and fluorescent grow-lights?
  150. >You sigh.
  151. "First hydroponic setup?"
  152. >"Whoa man, how'd you know?"
  153. "I own a hardware store." you reply flatly. "Do yourself a favor, take your cart and go to the garden center. Ask for Treehugger, tell her Anon sent you. She'll set you up."
  154. >"Thanks, man!"
  155. "Anytime." you say, waving the next pony in line forward.
  156. >A tall, dark stallion steps forward, his overly affectionate marefriend rubbing against him as she walks past.
  157. >Rope, some eye-bolts, a few dowels of various thicknesses...
  158. >Looking slowly up at the mare, she winks at you.
  159. "Keep it safe, sane and consensual, you two." you say quietly as you hand them their bags.
  160. >The mare just giggles as they walk away.
  161. >Two colts step forward and put four cans of spray paint on the counter.
  162. "No. Just no." you say, swiping the cans and stashing them under your register. "Next!"
  163.  
  164. 4:00 PM
  165.  
  166. "Applejack? Can't say I expected to see you in here today."
  167. >"Can't say it was expected. Applebloom and her friends knocked one of th' walls clean off their clubhouse."
  168. "I want to say I'm surprised."
  169. >"Ah know, they're a wild bunch." she nods.
  170. "So lumber, screws, and paint?"
  171. >"Eeyup."
  172. "Right this way."
  173.  
  174. 5:00 PM
  175.  
  176. >"And so I opened the window to clear the smoke out, and *poof* there went the window unit!"
  177. "Right this way, Miss Flitter." you say guiding her to a selection of small air conditioners. "Now, I know I've asked before and you said you couldn't just retrofit a normal air conditioner, but let me show you this one."
  178. >Sliding a box forward, Flitter circles it, reading the box.
  179. "It's a small room a/c like a window unit, but instead of putting the unit in the window, you run these flexible duct lines to a board in the window."
  180. >"Well, I can see why you're showing me this. I get that only the board would fall out and I wouldn't have to buy a fifth air conditioner, but how will I see out the window?"
  181. "Good question." you pause. "But we sell plexiglass back by the windows, we can cut a sheet to fit your window and add holes for the ductwork."
  182. >"I'll take it!"
  183. "We'll need the measurements for the window first. Here, let's go find Thunderlane. He'll help you."
  184.  
  185. 6:00
  186.  
  187. "I'm sorry sir, but that isn't covered under the warranty."
  188. >"This is ridiculous! I just bought it this morning!"
  189. "Sir, I understand your copy of the manual was destroyed, along with the warranty information. I can print off another copy if you would like."
  190. >"I don't want another manual! I want another grill!"
  191. "Here on page 25, it clearly states that damage to the grill from improper use of grill or-"
  192. >"All I did was leave it cooking some summer squash!"
  193. "Sir, the fire department stopped by to get a copy of the manual for your grill earlier. I know that you didn't connect the propane correctly, and frankly I'm surprised you're here about the grill and not lumber to repair the missing living room wall. Now, it says here that user error voids the warranty. If you wish to call the manufacturer and discuss it, feel free to have them ship the replacement to this store and we'll deliver it for free, okay?"
  194. >"I suppose so." he huffs, before walking out.
  195.  
  196. 7:00
  197.  
  198. >The store is finally quieting down.
  199. >Ponies push brooms across aisles scattered with debris.
  200. >Others reshelve knocked over merchandise, moving an item to the discount shelf if the packaging is too damaged.
  201. >All but one register is counting out.
  202. >You man the last one, watching the clock slowly progress towards closing.
  203.  
  204. 8:00
  205.  
  206. >Your beleaguered employees punch out as you count your register.
  207. >Making their way out, you wave goodnight to them, then drop your money in the safe.
  208. >Walking the aisles one last time, you make sure everything is in place, and then lock all the doors.
  209. >Stepping out into the cool Spring night, you sigh in relief.
  210. >Today is Saturday.
  211. >But...
  212. >Tomorrow is Sunday.
  213. >And as always, on Sunday you are closed.
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