Home Depoop Beyotch Session
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.