DON’T SUBSTITUTE QUALITY FOR $.15 CRUMMY CENTS

Lowe’s 8x8x16 Concrete blocks

Pros: This is a Lowe’s block – crisp – clean – well-defined

Cons: None whatever

I like to decorate with concrete blocks, enjoying the variety of things I can do with them – making borders, displaying small objects in the cut-outs, stacking them, painting them, and I don’t have to worry about the wind blowing them away, rain drowning them, or snow freezing them.

We’ve finally had some nice days recently after a very long, cold winter. It was time to think about what I wanted to do to pretty up the deck. I like niche’s, so I had some thoughts percolating. I needed about ten blocks to make a niche for (either) a Mexican chimney ( you know, one of those pot-bellied fire pits) or a small (electric) faux wood-burning stove I have in the shop.

I Googled Lowe’s, checking the price – $1.32.  Great, I’d stop the next time I went by ( which is usually two to four times a week.) A couple of days ago I had to stop at Wal-Mart, and noticed their Garden Center had opened, and they had several racks of blocks right there. I did my shopping and checked out in the Garden Center so it would be easier to load the blocks into the back of my SUV. I liked Lowe’s price, but ‘assumed’ Wal-Mart might even be a few cents cheaper. Not. $1.47 – fifteen cents more per block. Well, what the heck –  I was there, let’s just get it done.

Yesterday I was fiddling around with the blocks and noticed they weren’t near as nice as the ones I had previously purchased at Lowe’s.  The corners are rough, not sharp and distinct, and a few of them even look and (sort of) felt crumbly. I’m not happy, but frankly, I don’t want to load ten blocks back in my truck and return them. I’ve decided to use them on anothernot quite so noticeable  project.  Several lessons learned :

  • The big box stores are not always the cheapest
  • You don’t always get what you pay for – even at a higher price
  • Even simple things, like concrete blocks, have quality grades

When it comes to decoration – it has to be pretty and perfect. Isn’t that the whole point.

I won’t make this mistake again. No matter where I get blocks in the future, I’ll check them before I haul them home.

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