Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How I know I'm a woman, or, Home Depot is stupid

Geary, D.C., 1998. Chapter 8: Sex differences in brain and cognition. In "Male, Female: the Evolution of Human Sex Differences". American Psychological Association Books. ISBN: 1-55798-527-8.

Rabinowicz T., Dean D.E., Petetot J.M., de Courten-Myers G.M., 1999. Gender differences in the human cerebral cortex: more neurons in males; more processes in females. Journal of Child Neurology, Feb;14(2):98-107.

Schlaepfer T.E., Harris G.J., Tien A.Y., Peng L., Lee S., Pearlson G.D., 1995. Structural differences in the cerebral cortex of healthy female and male subjects: a magnetic resonance imaging study. Psychiatry Research, Sep 29;61(3):129-35.

Party of 3, 2009. Home Depot was totally designed and laid out by men and things are put in places that are not logical at all. Idiots. Journal of Common Sense, People!, vol 1.

OK, so we already know that men and women think differently due to physical differences in their brains, blah, blah, blah, hardwired, blah, blah, neurons, yadda, yadda, cerebral cortex, blah, blah, blah, Ginger. I buy this, I really do. It's painfully obvious. And nowhere is it more apparent than in the giant social experiment in gender difference that is Home Depot. You see, Home Depot was obviously laid out by a man. Because nothing is in the places where it makes sense for them to be.

Case in point, I went to Home Depot to pick up 3 things: a new burner for my barbecue, a strap wrench to replace the one I borrowed from my neighbour and then misplaced (Connie, if you're reading this, please don't tell Cliff. I bought the exact same one to give back.), and a replacement 12-volt battery for my cordless doorbell. Simple, right? You'd think so, wouldn't you? But no.

The barbecue burner was easy. It was in the Barbecue Section. One down, two to go. The girls were enjoying themselves riding in the giant shopping cart.

Next, the strap wrench. A strap wrench is a tool, right? So I headed out to the Tool Section. Silly me. What was I thinking? I cruised the aisles in the tool section: hammers, clamps, screw drivers, bits, pliers, wrenches. Ah, here we go. Hmmmm, strap wrench, let me see, mmmmm, nope. No strap wrenches. Look up at sign at top of display: Pliers and Wrenches. Nope, still no strap wrench. WTF? OK, there's one of those guys in the orange apron.

"Excuse me, could you tell me where I'd find a strap wrench?"

"In Plumbing? But it's a tool. It's called a strap wrench, so why isn't it with the other wrenches in the part of the Tool Section that is clearly marked 'Wrenches'?! I mean, I figured that a person could find a strap wrench with all the other wrenches in a display which actually says 'wrenches' on it. It's just common sense."

"No, I will not lower my voice and stop saying 'wrenches."

"This place is stupid."

So, we slunk off and found the strap wrench. In the Plumbing Section. Idiots.

Next, the doorbell battery. Now where would a sane person (read: woman) put the battery-operated doorbells? Now I might be going out on a limb here, but I do think that perhaps it might just make the tiniest bit of sense to put the doorbells, oh, say, in or near the Door Section? You know, just for shits and giggles? So, undeterred by our wrench debacle, off we went down the wide concrete aisles in search of doors. And we found doors. Hundreds of them. Wooden doors, steel doors, screen doors. Oh, and door knobs -- fancy ones and plain ones, ones with deadbolts, ones with keypads, brass ones and nickel ones. And in the next aisle, the numbers that you put on the outside of your house, next to the door, so people know if they're at the right address.

Hot damn! The doorbells ought to be right around here. Because, you know, they're usually on the outside of a house, next to the door, about the same height as the handle, underneath the address numbers, and all of those items are in the same section.... But again, no. Nope, no doorbells and no doorbell batteries. I turned and looked for one of the 'associates'. I think I saw the tool guy off in the distance, but he ducked quickly behind a display of routers when I started in his direction. (Coincidentally, I'm sure.)

A new orange-apron guy informed me that doorbells and batteries for doorbells are in the Electrical Section. Right. Because battery-operated doorbells that don't even run on household electricity should really be found in the Electrical Section, instead of the Door Section, which, God forbid, would actually make sense. (Note: I do know that a battery is a device that converts chemical energy directly to electrical energy, I do know that AC/DC is more than just an Australian band with an old guy who still thinks it's flattering to strip out of his schoolboy uniform and show his scrawny ass to crowds of adoring fans, but come on. In the broad scheme of household items: things you plug into the wall = electrical, things that run on batteries = not really electrical-> battery-operated. Seriously.) But there they were, amongst all the light switches and outlet covers and other non-door-related objects.

Yeah, I know. Grumpy much?

I do think a fitting revenge for the guy who assigned items to the various sections in Home Depot would be to send him to Bed, Bath & Beyond with instructions to buy a set of cotton shams. Poor bastard would probably go crazy looking for the Automotive Care Section.


  1. I had a similar experience in Lowe's (another big box hardware store) yesterday. By the time I reached the registers, I was cursing furiously (mentally, not verbally).

  2. I don't know what a sham is. So does that make me not a woman?

  3. Anonymous2:29 PM

    You're so butch for even going into Home Depot!! Wooot!! I'm a real girl because I don't even know what a strap wrench is. Nor do I want to. (Please don't tell me) But if I had to get those things at Home Depot, I must confess, I would not have looked for doorbells in the door section. I would have looked in the "bell" section and if they didn't have one of those (ha ha), I would look in outdoor lighting since outdoor lights and doorbells are both things you put near your door and because sometimes doorbells light up.

  4. Jen - I was swearing too, verbally, but reeeeeally quietly because the girls were with me. What's up with the stupid hardware stores anyway?

    Strictly - No, it doesn't mean you're not a woman, but it might indicate that you're not a North American woman. A sham is a decorative pillow cover that goes over the pillow case and usually matches or cleverly contrasts with the bedspread. You're supposed to take them off when you go to bed so you don't drool on them in your sleep. I don't use them because I'm to lazy to bother with the on and off work.

    XUP - OK, against my inclinations, I won't expound on the cool uses for a strap wrench that aren't even plumbing related. And your logic seems pretty sound to me. Especially since the outdoor lighting wasn't too far away from the Door Section.

  5. Shams sound stupid. Do people have sham shelves to put their shams on once removed?

  6. I guess Home Depot wasn't around when I taught my daughters how to 'do stuff'.

    " When entering Home Depot one should find an orange apron - pin them in a corner so they can't escape and demand to know where each item on your list can be found. "

    p.s. I use shams as pillow cases

  7. I don't even bother looking for stuff on my own there, I just go directly to the orange-aproned people.

  8. I think Home Depot was designed to torture women. I hate that store! And have you ever tried to take a 3 year old to the bathroom there when she has to go RIGHT NOW. It's like a mile walk and ended up in wet shorts and much frustration on my part!

  9. Strictly - I think shams are stupid too. Just pull the bedspread over the pillows and you're done.

    Mum - That only works if the orange apron knows the whole store. It's my experience that they usually only know their own section, and if you're talking to one in Plumbing, but you also need something in Paint, then they send you off to find another orange apron in Paint and then help the person who's standing behind you who needs help with Plumbing.

    And re: shams as pillowcases, that works if your shams are of sheet material. I don't think I'd sleep on the heavy brocade shams that I've seen in the stores, too ouchy.

    JessicaDawn - Thanks for visiting! I get tired of waiting in line to talk to an orange apron and figure I can find it myself. In theory, I should be able to, even without a penis.

    SaraJ - I KNOW! They should have a monorail to the bathrooms, lol.

  10. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Too true! and not just for women! There has been more than once that I something was pointed to me that seemed - well out of place!

    (PS - we keep a second set of decorative pillows with the shams so that they a) don't need to be taken off, b) still match)

  11. Elliot - *smacks self in forehead* another set of pillows in the shams!!! Why didn't think of that?

    And maybe it's mean to say, but I'm glad I'm not the only one stumped by Home Depot logic.

  12. Still laughing at "blah blah blah Ginger." I *heart* you. :-)

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  14. What about socialization to gender differences? What would this suggest about home depot "organizers" (used loosely here, as I agree with your critique of logical item placement, or lack thereof)?

    Thanks for an entertaining read, Alison! :)

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  16. Okay...don't get mad, but if a strap wrench (and I really have no idea here) is mainly used in plumbing, I'm guessing it makes sense to put with the plumbing stuff. I'm guessing. Please don't hit me.

  17. Alyson,
    Great experiences to share.
    Thank you.

  18. When I moved into my own place and got bedding for the first time, my Mom told me not to use the shams because I would wash them more than the comforter and they would fade and not match. Which means I'd bought these things to what? Just sit in the closet? Only put on when people were coming over so they could what? Go look at my charmingly matched bedding?

    Way to rock the Home Depot ridiculousness.

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