I love my local hardware store -- the employees are super friendly and despite the small size of the store, it always seems to have what I need. I went looking for a washing machine overflow pan, and they had one; I went looking for bicycle hooks, and I found them; I went looking for a new hookup for my dryer, and I found it; I went looking for something I didn't even know I needed, and I found it (more than once!).
Today I was looking specifically for canning jars bigger than jam jars (half-pint), and they are amazingly difficult to find in stores. I often see rings and lids, but jars are either hidden away or not carried in the stores I visit (in fact, even Wal-Mart is discontinuing pint & quart jars in their stores -- at least some of their stores, which I found out when I called). But when I called my local hardware store, they cheerfully told me that they carried pint, quart, and half-gallon sized canning jars -- wonderful! I drove over and picked up just a case of pint jars (less than $10), complete with lids, and a canning jar lifter. Now I just need to get out and pick more apples!
Stadler Hardware, 3 Stadler Street, Belchertown; 413.323.4521.