Harvey the Hardware Salesman

I stopped on a sidewalk in front of an old school, neighborhood, hardware store. A few feet away, an elderly employee wearing a company vest was on a smoke break. I looked up at the store’s ancient reader board, you know, the kind where someone has to use a long pole to change the letters. The sign read: Congrats Harvey. Thank you for 30 great years!!

I asked the man near me about Harvey. Friday had been his last day. He was in his 60s.

Harvey had worked in hardware for 30 years at the same independent family-owned store. He probably earned a living wage. He probably received health insurance, perhaps even a little pension plan. He has a great first name, long out of popular fashion. More Harveys! More Elmers! More Larrys!

Harvey knew how to fix or remodel anything. He knew every inch of the store. He could figure out any measuring computation in his head. The man knew paint and plumbing. He had the tools and he had the talent.

I wonder what he’ll do in retirement. I wonder what’s like to have the same job for 30 years, one you started in your mid 30s. A lot has changed since Harvey started that job. How did he change with the changes? Did he go from CBS Evening News with Dan Rather to FOX News and Tucker Carlson. God I hope not!

I walked away from the hardware store thinking about Harvey. He must have been a good employee and a good guy to have earned his name on the reader board. And was so good he earned two exclamation points!!