Grass Valley, CA — Rick Guzman has been working in hardware for almost 9 years and has become an expert at avoiding customer eye contact.
“That’s the trick, you see. You have to be out on the floor, but if you watch customer movement out of the corner of your eye, and wait for them to approach you, you can just look down or at the products,” said Mr. Guzman.
Local area hardware stores do a brisk business and are one of the few local businesses able to compete and succeed at beating the “Big Box” stores in Auburn and Roseville. Local hardware stores are still able to offer a large selection of products, mostly at competitive prices with a more neighborly shopping experience.
“I love to shop local, but I gotta tell you, some of these employees are hard to talk to,” said Charlie Greenly of Grass Valley. “But that’s part of the weird experience of shopping local.”
Not all employees are avoiding eye contact. Many are indeed helpful and outgoing. But there are some who are just plain introverted.
“I like hardware. I wish I understood women like I do paint, ” chuckled Mr. Guzman at the paint counter. “I love mixing paint. A little of this. A little of that. And I can turn my back to the counter for a legitimate reason.”
Gish Gallop attempted to reach out to other store employees, but they successfully avoided engaging with us.