Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My in-house handyman rocks & so does Faribault Ace Hardware January 11, 2013

OH, MY DARLING, knock three times on the ceiling if you want me, twice on the pipes if the answer is no…

If you were a teen of the 70s, like me, you may remember that popular song by Tony Orlando and Dawn. I always connect “Knock Three Times” to a slumber party in the basement of my friend Marla’s house. Don’t ask because I really don’t remember details. I assume we were pounding the ceiling and/or pipes as that tune rocked out on the radio.

The other night it was my husband knocking thrice on the ceiling or pipes as he signaled for me to head to the basement with my camera. He had just finished vacuuming around the non-operating water heater and was ready for me to photograph him in handyman action. His idea, not mine.

So my Canon and I rocked our way down the basement stairs while I belted out the only line I remember from “Knock Three Times.”

Tools and light are in place to replace the thermo couple control on the water heater.

Tools and light are in place to replace the thermocouple on the water heater.

Once inside the cramped utility room, I wondered how the heck I was going to photograph anything except Randy’s behind as he crouched low to the floor to replace the thermocouple on our just shy of six years old water heater. As you can see, I didn’t manage to snap much in the deep dark depths.

But what I gained was hot water again and the reassurance that my spouse is capable of repairing nearly anything in our house.

I hate this brown sink. But, hey, at least I have hot water again flowing from my leaky faucet.

I hate this brown sink. But, hey, at least I have hot water again flowing from my leaky faucet.

Say, about that hole in the dining room wall and the leaky kitchen faucet and the…

Oops, I nearly forgot to tell you this, and it’s an important part of the story. We bought our water heater in March 2007 at our local Faribault Ace Hardware. When Randy stopped by after work  to inquire about the warranty replacement part, the helpful Ace guy found the right piece and then told Randy to bring in the defective part and he’d get his money back. He didn’t even ask for a proof of purchase from six years ago. How’s that for great customer service?

We agreed that we likely would not have experienced the same ease in acquiring a replacement part under warranty had we purchased our water heater at an out-of-town Big Box retailer. Excellent customer service is the main reason we shop local as much as possible.

HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED similar outstanding customer service at a family-owned business? Let’s hear.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling