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I’m fussy over what I buy, although I prefer to say I’m being particular. Merchants probably prefer to say I’m a real pain.When I buy stock, I’ll often go through the whole rack to find the best pieces. I’ll do this whether I’m at a Big Box store (where I do the digging myself and always put back what I don’t want), or at my local hardwood monger, where what I want may be underneath another stack. Fortunately, my hardwood guy only sells wood as a sideline – it’s actually a large cabinet/millwork place – and he’s always welcome for the break and an opportunity to chat. Plus, he loves using a forklift.

The main reason I do this should be obvious: I want the best I can get for the money. Why should I pay X-dollars for a piece of hardwood with flaws I’ll have to work around when I can pay the same price for another piece from the same rack that lacks the flaws? I easily spent a half hour with the guy one day last week for just the right quantity, and quality, of walnut.

But I don’t do this just for lumber. This morning I bought some fabric for a shirt I want to sew (yes, I sew), and did some grocery shopping. I needed three yards of the fabric and insisted on rolling it out to check all 9 feet of it before the clerk cut it off the bolt for me. At the grocery, I took my time picking over the bananas, broccoli and tomatoes to get the best ones. There was a grocery clerk in the produce section and he kept watching me with undisguised disdain as I dug through the veggies (although, again, I left each batch of produce pretty much as I found it just as I do with a lumber rack).

My wife and I bought our spring plants and flowers this weekend, and I did the same thing. Sally can take forever shopping, but even she was eager for me to just pick a few tomato plants so we could go. Nor can I blame her; I really can take a long time.

I search for the best, get my money’s worth, and achieve the best results from what I buy. It doesn’t matter if it’s lumber or lemons, tires or a garden hose.

But at least I’m consistent.

Till next time,

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