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Never Do These Things in a Hardware Store

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Photo: Nomad_Soul (Shutterstock)

Newer DIY enthusiasts often approach hardware stores like a kid in a candy store: Everything is interesting and all the cool tools are on display. Isles upon isles of materials beckon as they load their cart with goodies…but while the tool aisle is exciting, there are some things you should never do in the hardware store.

Don’t use the store’s equipment without asking

If you’ve ever waited 20 minutes for someone to come help you cut rope, you may have been tempted to do it yourself. But using the equipment that the employees use is dangerous, and can open up the store to massive liability in case of an accident. While attempting to chop your own board or fork your own pallet down from a shelf might bring employees running to your aisle, the outcome will likely be that you’ll be asked to leave without the items you came for. Leave the heavy lifting to the pros unless you’re explicitly given permission to use their equipment.

Don’t leave hardware or parts in the wrong bin

While it might be hard to find the parts you’re looking for, you shouldn’t take hardware out of its cubby and then put it away in the wrong place. If you can’t remember where something came from, you should ask someone who works there for help. Nuts, bolts, washers, screws, and all the other small hardware is sorted by size and type. Putting it back in the wrong place will make it very tough on the person who comes after you, not to mention the workers at the store.

Don’t climb the shelves

If you’re having trouble reaching something, ask for assistance rather than climbing the shelves. While they seem sturdy, the shelves at a hardware store aren’t meant for climbing. It’s easy to knock something down onto yourself or someone else, or to pull apart the shelf itself while you’re climbing, causing a collapse. Also, since OSHA requires fall prevention or protection above six feet, that’s a good rule of thumb when you’re not working as well.

Don’t abandon your unwanted items

Navigating the isles of the hardware store is hard enough without the added hassle of abandoned items blocking the way. If you pick out something that you later decide you don’t want, return it at a register or find a worker to leave it with. Leaving big, heavy, or long objects in the aisle can be dangerous for other customers and will cause problems for staff trying to get through with carts and equipment.

Don’t try to carry things that are too big for you to manage

It’s unnecessary to struggle with carrying something through the store to get it to the register. If you find that your item is unwieldy, ask for help from an employee rather than throwing out your back trying to lug something that’s too big for you. It’s not only dangerous to carry it through the store, it can be dangerous for the people around you as well. Everyone’s seen some version of The Three Stooges throwing a board over their shoulders and whacking each other in the head with it. No one needs a replay of that in the lumber aisle.

Don’t wear sandals

There are lots of people pushing heavy carts around, so sandals is a bad idea. That goes double for places where you might find sharp objects on the ground. If you go to the hardware store, wear closed-toed shoes, not sandals or flip flops, to protect your feet from all the crushing and puncturing hazards you might encounter. You might visit the store many times without incident, but it only takes one time to have a five-gallon bucket fall on your bare toes.

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