Friday, June 30, 2006

Home Depoop Beyotch Session

I hate Home Depot. Just saying it makes me feel better.

Yesterday, I wanted to return some items that I had purchased (for the floor refinishing)—which were not used, nor opened. Home Depot’s stated policy is that if you don’t have a receipt, they will give you store credit, I haven’t bothered bringing in receipts because, like many DIY’ers I’m in that stinkin’ store twice a day picking up items, and I’d use the credit anyway. But yesterday I learned that even their store policy is subject to interpretation. When I went to return my items, my name came up as "suspended" since I had previously returned items without a receipt.

A young "manager" came over a lectured me about not having a receipt—I reminded him about the store policy and said I’ve got no problem with store credit as I needed to do more shopping right away anyhow. I also reminded him that as a manager, he could override the "suspend" if he felt I was a valuable customer and let me go on to purchase other items. He started to go on again about how the "system" showed that I had a "habit" of returning items without a receipt and that I could be ripping off the store. It was then that I lost my cool a little.

"First of all," I said, "they don’t pay you enough to give me this grief."

"But sir, the ‘system’…."

"And second," I continued, "if your ‘system’ shows that I have returned items before without a receipt, it should also show that I have also spent tens of thousands of dollars in a store that provides no customer service, no floor help, and a whole lot of attitude. I’m attempting to follow your store policy and you are giving me crap about returning $100.00 worth of merchandise when I have purchased tens of thousands worth…."

After a protracted discussion, he returned the items and I said next time I’ll bring in my receipts (which I have a million stuffed in a brown paper bag—I’ll let them sort through them).

After going through the check out line with my most recent $600.00 purchase, I couldn’t help myself so I took the $600.00 receipt, tracked down the young manager, and said "If it makes you feel any better, I just spent $600.00 after returning $100.00." And walked out.

I’d like to take my business elsewhere, but for all intents and purposes, I am limited in my ability to shop the competition because the competition has been steam-rolled by this big box behemoth.

Home Depot have become the Walmarts of the home improvement industry—driving out the smaller mom and pop stores, and even becoming so large that they have successfully closed down other "big box" stores like Home Base and Yard Birds (which they purchased and promptly closed). For all intents and purposes, I don’t have many opportunities to "take my business elsewhere" any more because there just aren’t many alternatives. And with this monopolistic stranglehold comes poor service, customer anonymity, and big hassles.

Whenever possible, I shop the "Cheers" kind of home improvement stores—you know, where everybody knows your name…I don’t care if it costs more. I get better service, better ideas, and better instruction (which often saves me money in the long run). I like talking to Margaret at my local Ace store, or Eric at Kayney Paints (who has given me incredible help and suggestions when it comes to painting), or Andy at Dolan's Lumber (who worked with this novice and came out to my house to suggest ways of installing our windows). These people/businesses deserve our support.

For the sake of the "home improvement world" and our future "home improvement generation" I implore you to shop the smaller stores—whenever possible. It’s our only hope.

Good night. And good luck. And feel free to share your Home Depot horror stories here.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Ron said...

we also do "have" to go to the Despot sometimes. My wife will stay in the car and not even enter the store she hates it so much.

1:36 PM  
Blogger JLynnette said...

I feel for you. I recently had a similarly crappy shopping expedition at Lowe's.

Customer service is a thing of the past.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Saple said...

HA HA I love going in there as a woman and have the people that work there for minimum wage with no home improvement background question my questions and tell me that is not the way to do it.....

If I had an ounce of faith in you I would listen.. Now when the guys at Durst Lumber ask the questions and question my decision I know there is a reason and a logic behind it.....

10:54 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

I feel you... Home Depot is like Costco, and I don't like going to either. Going to a mom & pop store is a great idea, especially because half of the older guys who work at those stores can tell you exactly what to get at Home Depot when you just plain have to go there.

Incidentally, what kind of floor refinishing were you doing?

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Thanks for the support, everyone...

Fred, we took out the existing floor and saved it...we then did some structural work as well as electric, plumbing, hvac, etc. while we lived on floor joist...

Then...we layed down a sub floor and re-layed the old floor down, along with some newly milled, old growth wood (because we didn't have enough). Sanding and then 6 coats of Fabulon polyurethane....We have a final buffing with a polishing compound and then a waxing to do--but we'll do that right before we finally move downstairs. Looks good--wish my camera worked--then I'd have pictures....oh, well

8:14 PM  
Anonymous irishgirl said...

I guess I'm lucky as I live in an area where the 2 giants (HD & Lowes) are within a block of each other and the other side of town has 2 local lumber yards, Ace, True Value hardware etc. I try as much as possible to use the local guys, but sometimes you just gotta go to Lowes/HD. Options, that's what makes the customer service better. When you the customer have options the service level goes up. The worst thing is when other customers think you work there and are asking you questions and your directing them to asile 3, half way down on the left, bottom shelf.
Having worked in retail management for a time I know about the trend of the "return with out receipt" folks. I think that the manager could have handled your situation in a better way. I would suggest a nice letter to store manager, cc - corporate office.
You'd probably be surprised at the number of folks who steal and then return. Which only raises the prices for the rest of us.
Just speak with the homebilders/contractors in your area. They need to lock down tools, supplies, etc. even when they are on site working. I have a relative in the business and he tells stories of contractors stealing from other contractors.
If your HD was really good, given the amount of time and $$$ you spend in there, the employees esp. those at the return desk would know you by site.
Cause I know, when I'm in there every day for a week that I begin to feel that I live there. (God Forbid!)

7:17 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Wow, that sounds like a major project. So what kind of wood is your flooring? When you replace the wood flooring, how do you ensure it lies down correctly? I have done two flooring refinishings, but they were not that in-depth. I simply sanded, stained, and polyerethaned wood flooring. What kind of poly did you use? Mine didn't work at all, and the stain comes up practically if you blow on it. We wanted it to look vintage, but not this vintage.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Fred--

Look for a post in the near future about all the details that went into the floor...I'll try to cover your questions in that post...

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best thing I ever did was buy a house less than two miles from a real family owned hardware store. Thanks McLendon's! (in Seattle)

1:00 PM  

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