OPINION: Bunnings or Masters? The hardware decision
JOHNO'S SAY: When we immigrated from down south 20 years ago I was taken by the lovely little hardware stores that flourished in every shopping strip throughout Queensland.
Now, these were times when one went to a hardware store to buy a single item, for example a nail, rather than a truckload of stuff as is contemporary practice.
I often wonder when I see shoppers exit from today's big stores as to whether they will ever get to employ all that stuff they've bought.
Even though the shops in 1995 were small they still did seem to have everything one wanted.
Strange that because modern hardware stores cover several acres to display their wares and yet the small stores, even though they commanded about one, one-millionth of the floor space, seemed to have everything.
There was a great little hardware store in High St, Toowoomba, I used to frequent, it had everything I needed.
My recollection is that the High St shopping centre was being redeveloped and the owner, David Penfold, decided to set up shop in Withcott.
I thought that was very clever as the area was growing and who wanted to come up the hill to shop anyway.
Store ready to open, January 10, 2011 on the horizon, and you know what happened next, a flood like never seen before.
Jeez we're tough, knock us down and we get up again, I would have found that experience heartbreaking and no doubt David Penfold did too.
I would have headed for the Penfolds, the Lindemans, the Preston Peak, whatever, for comfort.
But David got up again and now he's got a super duper big store in Withcott - Home, Timber and Hardware - and I hope it's a huge success for him.
He tells me it's quicker for many range residents to go and see him than to get to Masters or Bunnings.
But back to the story.
The arrival of Bunnings was a revelation - so much stuff, so much space, so little time.
But the customer service was, and still is in my opinion, developing at best.
When you want someone in red to come to your aid there are none to be found. When you don't want someone in red to come to your aid they're everywhere.
Bunnings moved from Ruthven St to Anzac Av, that wasn't very convenient as I am proximate to Ruthven St. However, I continued to shop there despite the drive.
Which is your favourite hardware store?
This poll ended on 31 January 2015.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Masters came to town and I tried them once but it wasn't the same as I'd gotten used to where all the different items were placed at Bunnings.
But the service was fantastic, the men and ladies in blue were accessible, knowledgeable and super friendly.
I continued to patronise Bunnings but week by week the attraction of Masters' proximity and the superior customer service was too much for me to resist and so I converted to Masters, permanently.
And Bunnings is developing another store on the other side of town.
I feel for my children and for the children of men and women of my generation, cleaning out all those sheds of duplicated and triplicated. unused tools and other handy devices after we're long gone will see them cursing our memories for years.
Why are Bunnings and Masters so successful while small hardware stores have fallen by the wayside?
It's because you and I made a decision to shop with the big stores, simple as that. Don't blame the government, don't blame the council.
Anyway, I will continue to shop at Masters but will try and get to David's place in Withcott when I am passing.
Which is your favourite hardware store, Bunnings or Masters?