Remodeling is not necessarily a good thing.

A tavern owner (I … ahem … know several of them) once explained to me that you have to be very careful about renovating your bar.

If you move the front door even a few feet to the left or right, the "regulars" can't find it, and if you rearrange the tables, they stumble into them for months before they learn where to walk.

I bring this up now, because a while back my favorite home center underwent a radical remodeling.

I can't find anything.

Plumbing is spread across two sections; gloves and sweatshirts are hidden over in the corner by the returns desk, which itself was moved across the aisle for no reason I can fathom; and pool chemicals have been lumped in with automotives and gardening tools.

And I know about those changes only because I was looking for a toilet, gloves and chlorine tablets, and kindly (and likely much put-upon) clerks directed me to them.

I found vacuum cleaner filters quite by accident in the cabinetry department, although cabinet pulls, which is what I actually wanted, were stocked with hooks, hinges and other odd bits of hardware.

And there now seems to be a tiny grocery store, should I ever feel the need to grab some sandwich fixin's while I'm searching in vain for the stove bolts.

Why sell food in what's always been touted as a hardware/lumber store?

Is it for people who haven't been picking up their groceries at the gas station, a place where you used to be able to get a lube job and oil change but now can't even find an employee who will top your tank?

Have shoppers given up on grocery stores because those are spread over so many acres that the stores must stock little electric carts for the infirm and ancient? Or perhaps they're put off by the large sections given over to beer, wine and whiskey. When did the corner grocery become the corner liquor store?

Frankly, I think it's change for the sake of change, for the store manager to give his bosses the illusion that improvements are being made — even if the only result is to confuse heretofore loyal customers and irritate me personally.

I suppose this sort of thing goes on all the time at department stores: menswear trading places with home furnishings and housewares relocated to where linens used to be found.

But that doesn't affect me much because I'm so seldom in such stores that I'd have to ask for directions anyway.

Every spring, I stop by the discount store to pick up new jeans and a couple of T-shirts to replace the ones I turned into shop rags the autumn before.

That pretty much does it for my annual clothing needs.

Wranglers and T-shirts, by the way, are stocked exactly where they've been for the past 10 years.

Now that I think of it, perhaps groceries are being offered at the home center so I can sustain my strength for the rest of my hardware search.

At least I won't have to stop at the gas station for bread anymore.

Send your questions to houseworks@journalstar.com.

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