Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Small Box Stores

We shop regularly in a near suburb of Puerto Vallarta called Pitillal, where little one-room stores line all the streets.

Big box retailing has certainly arrived in these parts. We've got Costco, Home Depot and multiple Walmarts. But the little guys still predominate, and now and then I'm struck by the tiny market spaces they occupy.

This store is called "Ruedas y Rodajas." Ruedas are wheels, but I had a hard time finding out why the word "rodaja" was on the sign.

Normally it's a kitchen term that refers to a round slice of something like a carrot, banana or onion. But one dictionary included an alternate meaning: furniture castor. And sure enough, there they are in the foreground.

The store is packed with nothing but hard rubber wheels for your wheelbarrow, wagon, hand truck or dolly, and steel or plastic castors for your heavy furniture or planters. No need for frustrated trolling of Home Depot aisles or hunting for a ferreteria that might have the disk for you.

In ferreterias, hardware stores, you generally ask for what you need at the counter and wait to see if what the man brings turns out to be what you thought you were asking for. It generally isn't, so you ask if there's another store that might have it. Several stores later, you buy beer instead.

If I wanted a wheel, I would head straight for Ruedas y Rodajas.

Seeing this store reminded me of a time a couple of years ago when I was looking for a small stainless steel screw to replace one that was missing on our swimming pool drain cover. The pool supply store couldn't help, but they told me about a store called Casa de Tornillos, the House of Screws.

The name isn't nearly as amusing in Spanish as in English, and the store wasn't either. Two stout middle aged women in severely cut dresses stood behind the counter. They looked like school principals, but they offered any kind of screw you might want, including the one I was looking for.

If your mind was serving up suggestive wisecracks on the theme of screwing, save them for the business pictured below, the Condom House, no translation provided since its customers are all apparently frisky tourists and expats from north of the border.

I think the jaunty graphic conveys just the right message: carefree pleasure and fun await those who take the appropriate precautions first.

Words we might all take to heart.


  1. That House of Condoms seems always to be shuttered--as in your photo, Dave. Maybe it's because we're not often (or ever) strolling about at the hours it does business?

  2. I read your blog and i would say anybody can afford atomotive product at discount in online stores.

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