The perfect plectrum…

…may just be a shortened dowel from Menards. About 14 inches, sturdy but lightweight.

Store length is 3 feet, so I look around for a suitable cutting tool. First thing I see are some bolt cutters. Awesome. Perfect. I pick them up and get ready to cut. An employee rounds the corner. I drop the bolt cutters and mutter something like ‘too small’ and develop a deep interest in various types of pliers and escape to a new aisle as soon as I deem it’s safe.

Next step I ask the next available employee in the “Tools” section whether he couldn’t cut the dowel for me. He looks at first the dowel then at me with an admixture of incredulity and distaste.

-Cut it?
-Yeah. With um maybe your boxcutter or something…?

I look meaningfully to his side, where all hardware store employees carry a boxcutter in a leather or nylon holster. Nothing. He looks at me like I’m speaking a foreign language.

The dowel is obviously too small to warrant a power tool, but wouldn’t break cleanly if I tried to DIY it. I feel I’m justified in asking for help.

He looks around helplessly. We walk into the saw aisle, where he spends some time looking at various saws before selecting one and removing the cardboard packaging. I hold the two dowels over someone’s cart while he saws them. It’s particularly weird because a) the sawdust is getting all over the merchandise in the cart and b) he’s trying to saw both at the same time and they’re round, so yeah.

But it gets done. Another satisfied customer.

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