OK situation resolved. I went to Lowes this morning and got the correct element, after having to track down an associate to get the correct ones out of the overhead bin. They had the 4500 watt elements in the 5500 watt bin and the 4500 watt bin. My old roommate used to work at this store and I probably know the store better than almost everyone that works there having spent countless dollars and hours in this store over the course of the last 5 years I've spent gutting and restoring a 90 year old home by myself.
I was just pissed because it never fails when I actually get a chance to work on my brew rig Murphy shows up. I called the store and had them check inventory before I went to get the elements and they said they had plenty on the shelf so the bins had been screwed up for at least a couple days. The thing that set me off was the fact that it was 9:55 when i finally got my 4 month old to stop screaming and go to sleep and get to wiring up the elements. By this time I was a couple minutes shy of being able to swap them last night.
I still maintain my love hate relationship with Lowes. They get plenty of my money so they can take a ribbing every once in a while knowing full well I'll be back to spend more money and get the occasional misplaced part back to my house. This store in particular is really bad about misplacing inventory. Anyway, fear not, I'm not flaming Lowes, just venting. In the words of my old roommate "Lowes Blows" (joking, mostly