An Unexpected Perk of Parenthood

One of my favorite parts of this particular stage of mothering is that I can do all sorts of crafts without any expectation of them having to look truly good.

Kids painting leaves and making leaf prints

We gathered leaves and made leaf prints today. The ones we made with our temperas and kiddy paintbrushes are nowhere near as pretty as the one on Pinterest, made with expensive paint markers and made by an actual adult. But the children learned a little about the process of printmaking, and this actual adult got to do leaf prints without stressing over how my product was, mmm, less-than-amazing.

And when I finished making my prints and thought the painted leaves looked pretty? I quick cut out a cardboard ring and glued the leaves onto it to make a funky fall wreath. As a single gal, I couldn’t have pulled off such a kitschy craft – but nobody bats an eye when they see such things in the home of a mother of preschoolers.

My leaf wreath

Just don’t tell anyone that the preschoolers didn’t make it – it was all me :-)

Save big money, Get great service

Two and a half years ago, not long after I started blogging regularly, I wrote of how I prefer the “Save Big Money” Menards over the more patronizing “You can do it–we can help” Home Depot.

I didn’t have any real reason for choosing one over the other–except that in my priority list saving money falls above getting help.

But just because Menards doesn’t advertise their customer service doesn’t mean they don’t have customer service–and don’t do a great job at it.

Take today, for example. As I was wandering about my local Menards, at least five associates asked if they could help me. When I started wandering in the lumberyard, someone immediately came over to help me. When I asked for pegboard–which just happened to be inside the building along a completely different wall–he graciously walked me right over to it, talking me through my options for size and thickness. Later, I’d found some of my other items but now I needed doweling. Again, I was in the wrong spot–but again, an employee walked me right to what I needed. At any other store, I’d expect to hear an aisle number when I ask for an item. At Menards, the employees always take me directly to what I’m looking for–and often dialogue with me about my options and what else they can do for me.

Menards listBut that wasn’t all. After I’d finished up my shopping and checked out, I approached the sliding doors with my cart. The four foot by two foot piece of pegboard started to sway in today’s brisk wind. Before I had a chance to steady it with my hand, an employee was there to help (incidentally, it was the same employee who’d helped me find the pegboard in the first place). He lifted the pegboard out of my cart and offered “How ’bout I just carry this to your car for you?”

I led the way to my car and thanked him as I unlocked my door, fully expecting him to place the pegboard back in the cart. But he didn’t. Instead he asked whether I wanted it in the backseat or the trunk. He arranged it into my trunk and put the rest of my cart’s contents in after it. He noticed a wallet (empty) that was lying in the trunk and pointed it out to me just in case I’d lost it and didn’t realize it was back there.

It was undoubtedly the best customer service I’ve received in my life. I’m bummed that I failed to take note of this particular fellow’s name, because he definitely deserves kudos.

So don’t be tricked into thinking that Menards is only about saving money–in truth, their service is fantastic too.

Truth in advertising should insist that Menards change their jingle to “Save big money, Get great service when you shop at Menards.”

For those who are curious, the pegboard and dowels are for a thread rack–a variation on this one from Sugar Bee. I also purchased a few drawer things to organize my ever expanding collection of sewing/craft stuff.