Home centers are designed for the do-it-yourselfer who's willing to
pay higher prices for the convenience of being able to shop for lumber,
hardware, and toasters all in one location. Notice I say "shop for," as
opposed to "obtain." This is the major drawback of home centers: they are
always out of everything except artificial Christmas trees. The home center
employees have no time to reorder merchandise because they are too busy
applying little price stickers to every object -- every board, washer, nail
and screw -- in the entire store ...
Let's say a piece in your toilet tank breaks, so you remove the
broken part, take it to the home center, and ask an employee if he has a
replacement. The employee, who has never is his life even seen the inside
of a toilet tank, will peer at the broken part in very much the same way
that a member of a primitive Amazon jungle tribe would look at an electronic
calculator, and then say, "We're expecting a shipment of these sometime
around the middle of next week."
-- Dave Barry, "The Taming of the Screw"