Spoiler Alert: This post will be a departure from adventures in historic foods. We plan to move soon, and want to update the kitchen prior to moving into the new place. I’m reading reviews, evaluating them, researching products, and deciphering for myself what will best work for us to include flooring, counter top, back splash, and a new range.

As I describe the sales people who have waited on us this week, I think a pattern will emerge.

Lowe’s: We had a courteous, knowledgeable, and genuinely helpful middle aged lady who confirmed what I’d come to believe from my research. She answered all my questions, and offered additional information that cemented my choices in counter top. I was so impressed with her that I intend to have her, and only her, work up the order for my new counter top and while I’m at it, order the material for the back splash, tile and grout for the floor, and lighting.

Home Depot: Being the obsessive compulsive person I am, I went to Home Depot to compare products and prices and had a “20-something” sales girl busy texting her friends and who made no effort to hide her annoyance with me when I asked a question. She was clueless about any of the products, never gave any more than an off-hand, “I don’t know”, while still holding her phone which maintained a steady stream of incoming text messages. She could not even tell me how long the sale would last.

Sears: We went in specifically to find out if there is any real difference in operating a gas stove on propane since natural gas is not available out in the boondocks where we’ll be living. We got another barely “20-something” who knew absolutely nothing about any of the appliances. He could not answer any questions, no matter how simple and again, could not tell us how long the ones we liked would be available at the sale price. My impatience was complicated by the fact that he needed to blow his nose in the worst kind of way and instead just kept constantly sniffing, driving me nuts. I wanted to hold a Kleenex to his nose and tell him to blow as I did my children when they were toddlers. Strike # two for the young folks.

Best Buy: We had a third 20-something wait on us, again clueless, but to his credit he did at least try to pull up the ranges on the Best Buy website for me. His efforts did nothing for me, however, because I’d already spent so many hours online reading reviews and features on stoves they offer that I knew more about the products than he did. At least I know the difference between a gas stove and an electric one which the young gentleman did not. When I found myself explaining the basics to him, I realized it was time to exit the building.

Best Buy Round Two: As we were leaving, young clerk long gone, his manager, a middle aged gentleman retired from the Air Force, asked us if the fellow had answered all our questions. I told him that he’d tried, but no. He then took us back to the department and spent time with us, answering my questions, helped find a range that meets my expectations, even pulling up the reviews on it online and helping scan through them and evaluate the pros and cons. You can just about bet the farm I will have him order that range for me – a nice duel fuel model with double ovens, the largest being convection, and with nice large burners on top. Reviews were 4.9 out of 5 positive, pretty darn good.

Local Merchant: FYI – A local company claims to meet or beat prices at the Big Box Stores, but when I compiled a list of ranges I wanted to choose from based on performance and reviews, every one of them was between $80. and $100. more expensive than at the other sources listed in this piece.

I leave you to form your own opinions whether dodging ”20-somethings” that have jobs selling products about which they have absolutely no clue is acceptable for you. I’ll be the one looking for the more stable older employee.