Grass Valley, CA — Rick Guzman has been working in hardware for almost nine years and has become an expert at avoiding customer eye contact.

“That’s the trick, you see. Of course, you have to be out on the floor, but if you watch customer movement out of your eye and wait for them to approach you, you can look down or at the products,” said Mr. Guzman.

Local area hardware stores do a brisk business and are one of the few local businesses able to compete and succeed at beating the “Big Box” stores in Auburn and Roseville. Local hardware stores can still offer a large selection of products, mainly at competitive prices, with a more pleasant shopping experience.

“I love to shop local, but I gotta tell you, some of these employees are hard to talk to,” said Charlie Greenly of Grass Valley. “But that’s part of the weird experience of shopping local.”

Not all employees avoid eye contact. Many are indeed helpful and outgoing. But some are just plain introverted.

“I like hardware. I wish I understood women like I do paint, ” chuckled Mr. Guzman at the paint counter. “I love mixing paint. A little of this. A little of that. And I can turn my back to the counter for a legitimate reason.”

Gish Gallop attempted to reach out to other store employees, but they successfully avoided engaging with us.

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