Thursday, April 7, 2011

shop till it drops

Yesterday, Tru's Facebook posts included a link to M. Crow and Company General Store in Lostine, Oregon. I took a virtual shopping trip via their on-line slideshow. (Sorry this link isn't functional at the moment, but I'm posting it here in hopes it'll come back up. Meanwhile you may be able to access a Facebook version.)

Imagine being able to buy a horse collar and a hula hoop, a washboard and an instant-read meat thermometer in the same store. I am enticed by the fine selection of enamel ware in a wide range of colors, and long to ask whether they carry Bliss Foot Soak. Bliss, a powder containing salicylic acid, was packed in a cylindrical cardboard container -- goldenrod yellow with black printing if I recall correctly. It has nothing to do with similarly-named products being marketed today in blue plastic tubes,

Crow's is a True Value Hardware store. Visiting their website, I learn that True Value is a coop owned by individual store owner/operators. A light dawns. This is why True Value stores are so different from each other -- ranging from the glitzy Koontz Hardware in West Hollywood (virtually next door to the Pacific Design Center) to Crow's in Lostine (pop. 283) .

According to another of Tru's postings, M. Crow and Company General Store is for sale. It's only 200 miles from our Idaho farm. Will I get there in time to see it before it goes the way of the Star Merch, Orville Jackson's, and so many other rural retailers that served our parents and grandparents?

I feel privileged to remember shopping in stores with softwood floors, where "brown paper packages tied up with string" was a way of doing business rather than a song lyric.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License