Recently, had a couple of hours to kill before a medical appointment.
Had a couple of choices.
Sit in the medical office and try to read stale magazines which was
not going to happen.
Take a trip down to the local Home Depot and see what was new
Got a powered cart and drove to one end of the store and started
(Yes, these days I can have a powered cart.)
2-1/2 hours later, I was back to the starting point.
I was impressed.
New items I didn't recognize at every turn.
It was quite an eye opener.
Just a guess, but 10-20,000 items in inventory would not surprise me.
During my high school years, worked in a retail hardware store, and
was pretty good at it.
Engineered a lot of solutions on Saturday morning when a prospect
would enter the store in a panic with handfuls of parts and a blank
stare on their face.
There is NO WAY I could provide that type of service in today's
To expect ONE person to be knowledgeable of the total store inventory
is just not practical or more likely even possible, IMHO.
Being able to identify what part of the store a similar item might be
is about the best you can expect.
I'd be willing to bet that even an experienced tradesman might have
difficulty recognizing how a part might be used if it is outside
sphere of expertise.
Back to the medical office with a new respect for some of the retail
tasks that exist today and only a 20 minute wait for my appointment.