Tales From the Work Van

Ep. 2

“This is a giant ad for CMS”

There are some old homes in Regina, with old pluming inside of them. A couple of summers ago I was dispatched to a call for a leaking shower handle on the east end of town. The client was a super nice, super old, woman who had lived in the home since it had been built in the 1960’s. One of the bath tubs handles was leaking, easy fix I thought, just a simple cartridge replacement.


Time had taken it’s toll on this particular faucet and the cartridge did not want to budge. As I gave it one last torque of the wrench to try and free it I accidentally snapped it. Any plumber reading this will know my exact feelings at this moment. We’ve all had an old valve or screw or whatever break on us as we’ve been working on it. It doesn’t feel good, you have to fight the urge to just drop your tools and walk out rethinking maybe your mom was right and you should have been a school teacher. But after taking a breath you start looking for solutions.

The name escapes me now but like I said this was a pretty old faucet. I had never even heard of the brand before. I started calling suppliers looking for replacement parts. None of them had heard of the brand! It wasn’t looking good for replacement. It was starting to look like I was going to have to explain to this nice lady that her shower valve was completely FUBAR’d. I wasn’t giving up hope though too soon and explained I was stepping out to source the part. A couple more suppliers later it wasn’t looking good, nobody had anything even close I could use. Replacement of the entire setup wasn’t a better sounding outcome either. The entire shower surround was tile and the style of valve she had isn’t very common anymore. To avoid tile repair a matching valve was going to be expensive. Like get the “F” out of my house right now expensive. But thats where we were. As I started driving back to the client’s house to drop the bad news I had a brain flash, I hadn’t checked CMS!

CMS is located on Winnipeg street. The place is like a hardware liquidation store. I thought if I had any chance to find the part, that’s where it would be. I walked in and headed for the plumbing section. I found an old man employee working behind a counter.

Old man employee “Can I help you?”

Me “Yeah, I doubt your gonna have it. But I got this cartridge for this (insert brand name here) shower valve I can’t find anywhere in the city”

Old man employee squints eyes at cartridge in my hand. And walks over to bins of cartridges.

“Here you go.” Old man employee then proceeds to toss matching cartridge to me as nonchalantly as possible.

Me “Buddy, you don’t how pumped I am that you have this.”

Old man employee just walks away “Yes”

I wrapped up the call and everything couldn’t have gone better and it’s all thanks to the random stuff you can find at CMS. Thank you old man employee, wherever you are.

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