Thanks to the young tattooed dude at Menards

I’d like to give a shout out to the young man with tattoos (and a young child, he said) who works at Menards in the flooring department. First, I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name, but second, THANK YOU. Thank you for helping me save big money with Menards.

After work last week (I think it was Wednesday; my days since are a blur), I went there to look at flooring, knowing two things: (1) I am sick of trying to maintain carpet “freshness” (let alone cleanliness) with four dogs, and (2) the flooring purchase and subsequent installation was to be a surprise to my husband, who was traveling. I’d rather apologize than ask for permission any day. It’s how I roll.

I came armed with a handyman’s quote for laying a wood floor in three upstairs bedrooms and the hallway (ouch), and I already – since my husband’s departure two days earlier – had pulled up all of the carpeting, tack boards, matting, and staples in two of three bedrooms, and moved all of the furniture into the third bedroom. My intention was to have one floor finished (I’d do the finish and moldings carpentry myself with my handy miter saw) before my husband returned on Friday night.

The aforementioned Menards gentleman found me (I didn’t have to hunt him down, which alone was the first miracle) and he asked if I needed help selecting flooring material. He then showed me the choices of laminate floors, discussed the merits of each, and told me exactly what work had to be done to prep the subfloor. He explained the essential padding and tools to buy. He offered to estimate the amount of material needed and to load it on a cart for me and take it to the car.

The most important thing he did for me, however, was to also estimate my own carpentry skills (based on answers to a few technical questions). He then suggested that I did not need technical help so much as I needed an assistant to lay the floor straight – which would save me, according to provided estimates for a total of five rooms of flooring, over $1,000. He assisted me further with a 15-minute impromptu lesson, using sample materials to give me insider tips on how to do it better and faster.

I canceled the handyman and instead called my son, asking if he’d like to make a little extra money helping Mom with a little surprise project for Dad. And Friday night, at exactly the stroke of midnight (Saturday morning?) as my husband walked into the house to the delight of four hysterically happy barking dogs, I drove the last nail into the final piece of molding on our bedroom floor and went downstairs to welcome him home and wish him a happy birthday.

You can’t quite imagine his shock with his “birthday surprise” of a beautiful hardwood floor, (nearly) perfectly installed. (And I would challenge you non-carpenter readers to do better than Philip and I!)

By the end of the weekend, my adult son and I had installed two more floors. Tonight we’ll do the hallway, and then (despite my swollen fingertips, cuts, scrapes, and bruised knees), we are going to tackle the downstairs flooring.

Thank heaven I met that one young man last Wednesday and learned, due to his patience and desire to help a customer, hints such as the existence of a wood-flooring cutter that did away with the need for hand-sawing boards. (Add to this my hint: You still need a jigsaw for the more complex templating.) Had we not met, I would have never attempted to do the job with my son. I’d have farmed it out for sure.

(And here’s another hint for all you DIYers: It is NOT easy to lay a laminate floating floor regardless of the manufacturer’s assurance to the contrary; that is not the message I’m sending! But it is doable with moderate handyman skills, a high pain threshold, and an expectation of learning the hard way.)

So that’s my “How I saved big money with Menards” story. Usually people tell a couple folks if they are happy with someone, and tattle to 10 people when dissatisfied with customer service. I wanted to reverse that trend – and I hope the young man gets a raise. He sold a lot of product that night, and more importantly, he’ll be the reason I go back this week and buy a lot more.

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