Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ace in the Hole

If you've never been to an Ace Hardware store and happen to live in Southeast Asia, I highly recommend visiting one. It is quite the spectacle. The name, however, is misleading. Captain Obvious would say that "a hardware store sells hardware" but in this case, it just isn't so. They do have a small selection of hardware and a decent selection of tools. If you're looking for something like drywall plugs and screws or a piece of wood or an extension cord, you are in the wrong place.

I went there wanting to buy a pack of drywall plugs with matching size screws. After 30 minutes of searching (it is pointless to ask an employee, it will take them twice as long as you to find it), I finally found them next to the plumbing accessories (there's no point in asking why they were where they were). They did have a couple of packs, one was 3 mm and the other was 15 mm. Those are extremely small and large sizes in case you were wondering. They also had a couple of packs of screws but no plugs or packs of screws that come with matching size plugs. This got me thinking; maybe they should change their name.

I propose that Ace change their name to Ace Lifestyle store. During my screw search, I saw an ultrasonic cleaner (high frequency liquid cleaners that are of no use for 97% of the world's population), a popcorn cart, velvet ropes with poles, buffet trays and aquariums but not much in the way of hardware.

After a brief conversation with myself, I decided that I couldn't justify spending $500 on a popcorn cart and left the store. I wondered if they sold drywall plugs at the popcorn store but figured they didn't. I stopped at the supermarket to buy food (captain obvious!) and while wandering down a random aisle, I stumbled upon packs of screws WITH matching size drywall plugs in the same box.

So if you are ever in Jakarta and are in a situation where you need some kind of hardware, do the prudent thing and go to the supermarket. If you happen to be looking for a DJ mixing board, a hamburger shaped flash disk or a full sized popcorn cart, do what Captain Obvious would do and go to the hardware store.

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