I long for the days when hardware stores actually sold hardware.
It is now a place to get dressed up and take out a woman on a date. Or better yet, for a woman to take a man out on a date. Not only does Menards offer all sorts of food products along with its building materials, it is also offering top of the line musical talent at select locations.
A recent visit to a local Menards turned from a run for parts to yet another interesting experience.
I was working on a project to repair a rotted piece of deck board. I needed a plank, some deck stain, and a pole to tape a paintbrush, so off to the local Menards, I went.
Shopping is not my favorite thing. I tend to be one of those that has a list, sticks to it and gets out.
Business does not like people like me. The goal is to keep us in the store as long as possible thus creating the potential for more sales, so they create a large building with tons of stuff in it and no map.
After getting my cart, I scanned this large maze, felt lost, and my anxiety started to kick in.
I immediately saw the paint section off to my left. I quickly zipped over there, and within five minutes had my deck stain and a brush. I saw pole extenders at ridiculous prices and opted to look for a less expensive pole. I could not find them so asked a store employee and he responded by pointing up to the second floor and giving me an isle number of 3,204 or something like that. I thanked him and was off lickety-split.
I walked up to a moving sidewalk that went up to the second floor. I was amazed when my cart stuck to the floor. It was magnetized inside to grasp the cart. Very smart indeed, Menards. Though, what about people with metal plates in their head? Should they be worried about getting thrust to the floor and be stuck? I would hope not.
Lost in thought, I heard the sweet sound of a piano from up ahead. I looked up and saw a man playing a large piano in an area between moving sidewalks.
I got up to the end of the sidewalk and instead of just rushing off to get my pole, I opted to stop and listen for a bit, then to talk to him.
We chatted for awhile, and he said he worked there part time entertaining the customers. I asked what kind of music he played, and he said, “all sorts.” He then began to play some Dixie-land style music and then led into Piano Man by Billy Joel. He was quite good.
After he stopped playing and we chatted here is what I learned:
His name is Chris Kefer. He works a full-time job and has two grown sons. His music is his passion. He started young and played music with his dad. Chris played in a few groups as he was growing up and made a music video called, "Certain Vibrations" in 1985. Making a living playing music was not in the cards for him. At the present time, he does take on gigs working at weddings and other types of parties.
In the meantime between his full-time job and the extra work, he is playing song after song for people who don't even care he exists. Sadly, while he intently tickled the ivory or modern plastic keys, people continued to just pass him by. Not one person looked at him. He was as invisible as a homeless person on the street. They were mostly people of another culture. I would imagine most of them haven't even heard of Billy Joel.
Chris the next time you see me, do not be surprised to see a blanket and a picnic basket placed on the floor near the light bulb section isle number 7,850 or something like that. From that basket, I will produce a bottle of good wine, crystal goblets, cheese and crackers, and an antique candelabrum to entertain my date.
Let's just hope she has heard of Billy Joel.