February 11, 2006

Why I Love Berkeley, Part 34

Berkeley Ace Hardware

Berkeley Hardware: a small cramped eccentric old downtown hardware store that could be at home in lower Manhattan, staffed by a motley crew of Berkeley stereotypes, with a working little electric model train set running around the walls just under the ceiling, and no usable parking. I've been shopping there on and off for nearly twenty years (long before it became part of the Ace Hardware empire). I once had an older woman shop assistant there patiently and very politely try to explain to me the different types of vacuum cleaner they had displayed in a cluttered heap against a back wall. She finally just looked at me in amused disdain, bit down on the imaginary cigarette in her mouth, and said "Listen kid, You don't clean floors much, do ya?! Whatthefuck do you want expensive crap like this for [gesturing at the deluxe models on display]? This one's for you..." and rummaged around for the cheapest looking thing she could find behind the others. A few seconds later she was back in decorous professional mode, looking blankly around her. I still have the vacuum cleaner in my studio fifteen years later; it still does the job just fine.

(Part of Berkeley).


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