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My Home Depot Shopping Experience

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Blog entry by PocketHole69 posted 1338 days ago 4736 reads 1 time favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I promised in my letter below to share with everyone I know my home depot shopping experience, so here you go!

To whom it may concern,

I wanted to share with you my shopping experience at the Fayetteville, GA Home Depot store.

A couple weeks ago I purchased a Ridgid oscillating spindle sander from this same store. After a couple weeks of using the tool (and enjoying it very much) it came time to buy more sandpaper sleeves for the sander. After doing a quick check of the Home Depot website to make sure the local Fayetteville, GA store had them in stock, I went the next day on my lunch break to pick up a set.

When I arrived at the store around 1:15PM on Tuesday, December 21 I did a quick walk down the tool isles where the tool and other sandpaper products are stocked and was unable to find the set of sanding sleeves. Luckily, a Home Depot employee approached me (I didn’t think to note her name at the time) and asked me if they could help me find anything. I pointed out the Ridgid sander and told her I was looking for the replacement sleeves that matched the tool. She expressed some initial confusion about what I was looking for, but using the picture of the tool and sleeves on the box I was able to explain what I needed, no problems.

She immediately told me that “We ain’t got that.”

I then told her that the homedepot.com website listed it and said that it was available in this local store. She spent a few minutes questioning if I was actually on “THE Home Depot website” and if I was sure I put “Fayetteville, GA” in as the location. I assured her I did so. She then once again told me that “We ain’t got that” and started to walk away. I asked her to hold on, and I’d pull up the item on the website so we can get a part number. She immediately rolled her eyes at me and told me that she had to have an SKU to look anything up. I told her fine, the SKU is on the website listing.

After a few minutes of searching the homedepot.com website on my phone I was able to find the listing for sanding sleeves, complete with SKU:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xg1/R-100668727/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

By this time, the employee had walked off to do something else, so I found her again and gave her the SKU. She entered it in a Home Depot register to check the stock, which showed a quantity of (2) in stock, which I saw with my own eyes on the screen.

She turned to me again and said “Nah we ain’t got that here.”

I pointed out that it said 2 in stock and that the website clearly said “Not Sold Online” (meaning it could ONLY be bought in the store) and she repeated emphatically that “Nah, we don’t sell that here they might have it in another store or online.”

Recognizing that she wasn’t going to be much help, I thanked her for her time and went back to searching the isles where I suspected an item like this might be. She didn’t offer to help look for the item or anything else.

About 5 minutes later, she walked buy and evidently thought it was funny that I was still looking, laughing and asking “You find it yet?! Haha!” At no time did she offer to help me look for the item that your computer and website said was in stock and instead chose to make fun.

After around 10 minutes of looking I found the set of sanding spindle sleeves, nestled in beside some other Ridgid accessories on a wall rack. There were 2 in stock, just like the computer said.

By my estimation I’ve spent around $5000 at Home Depot in the last year. I’ve bought a table saw, numerous power tools like routers and drills, lumber, the oscillating spindle sander above, and more. As an individual consumer and not a contractor or business I think that’s a respectable amount. I also have a Home Depot credit card to take advantage of the “6 Months No Financing” offers and for emergency home repairs. I would think that in the grand scheme of Home Depot customers, I’m your ideal demographic as a home owner and avid woodworker with a reasonable disposable income at my disposal.

I’m writing to let you know that is over. I’ll be closing my Home Depot card this evening, and from now on I’ll shop at the Lowes home improvement store that is less than a mile down the road. I’ve always preferred Home Depot because I’ve found the prices are a little lower on lumber and you stock Ridgid tools, which are my favorite brand, but no more. I’ll happily pay a few cents more at Lowes and get my Ridgid tools from Amazon.com to avoid the type of “customer service” I’ve experienced in your store.

It really wasn’t so much that your employee had no clue what I was looking for or where to find it that prompted me to write this letter- I would have been completely happy with a little help looking for it on the shelf so that I would have time to get some food on my lunch break. It is more her refusal to help me locate an item that was clearly in stock and her disgusting treatment while she made jokes instead of actually helping me that completely turned me off from ever doing business with your company again. I’ll also be sharing my story with everyone I know and do business with to make them aware of how I was treated in your store.

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA



31 comments so far

View rance's profile

rance

4128 posts in 1785 days


#1 posted 1338 days ago

I’d be VERY interested as to any replies you get. Next time, include the employee’s name in your letter to them. Also, “Write a review for a chance to win a $1,000 Gift Card.”

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1662 days


#2 posted 1338 days ago

She was wearing a jacket over her orange apron, I don’t even remember seeing a nametag. That and I was so pissed off I wanted to punch someone, so I left.

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile

FirehouseWoodworking

622 posts in 1898 days


#3 posted 1338 days ago

Jason,

I’m sorry that you had to experience that type of service. I know, I’ve been there too.

But I’ve also worked for both Home Depot and Lowes and in both cases, there were lots of good people who really do give a damn.

The best thing to do is to get the offending employee’s name and make contact with THE store manager. Not the “on duty” manager, the guy or gal who is responsible for that store. I have seen these kind of employees walked right out the door once the manager knew about it.

And that manager will most likely try to make it right with you. They know that a happy customer won’t tell anyone, but a disgruntled customer will tell at least 7 other people. They don’t want that kind of trouble.

And if you don’t get satisfaction with the store manager, ask to speak to the regional manager. I can pretty much guarantee that when a regional manager takes on the issue, there will be resolution.

And THEN, if you are not locally satisfied, contact corporate.

Again, sorry that you had to have such an experience. (And no, I am no longer associated with either company, except as a customer.)

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1740 days


#4 posted 1338 days ago

I don´t think they know you had access to 22k + woodworkers
when they got your letter ….LOL
nice drop…

Dennis

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3719 posts in 2288 days


#5 posted 1338 days ago

Jason—I have had similar experiences at the Home Depot in Onalaska, WI.

On one ‘memorable’ occasion, I parked right next to the truck they rent for $19.95. I can’t haul 4×8 plywood sheets in my Jeep, so I needed a truck. I walked into the ‘service counter’, and told the flapjack standing there with the orange apron on that I needed to rent the truck for an hour. He said: “We don’t do that any more”.

Huh? It was sitting in the lot right in front of the door! After a somewhat heated argument, I told him to shove it, left the store, and went to Menards to buy my sheet goods (Menards was also able to rent me a truck).

About 2 weeks later, I was loading some 2×4’s in the Menards outdoor lumber yard, when the Home Depot truck pulled in right behind me! Some guy got out and started loading deck planks into it, so I asked him how he got HD’s. He said he rented it at Home Depot, intending to buy his planks there, but their stock was in such sorry shape, he bought a couple of bags of cement at HD, then used their truck to go to Menards to pick up his planking.

Maybe Home Depot is patterning their customer service after Sears!

Customer service at big box stores isn’t all bad … see: http://lumberjocks.com/TheDane/blog/20053 (I wrote this letter Sunday night)

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1662 days


#6 posted 1338 days ago

I’m sorry Dave, but the best thing to do for who?

The best thing for me to do was email them from the website and be done with it. Thats what I did.

While it might have been the best thing for the store for me to spend time tracking down the local store manager, escalating things to the regional manager, etc. instead of just using the feedback form on the website, I don’t really think its my responsibility as a consumer who received poor service to spend way more time than I already have to make sure my gripes go to the right person. I’m sure if Home Depot gives a crap the regional and store managers will hear about it, and they’ll find out who was assigned to tools at the date and time listed.

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA

View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1662 days


#7 posted 1338 days ago

And just so everyone doesn’t get the wrong idea, I am the type of guy who will ask to speak to a supervisor after receiving exemplary customer service on the phone or in a store just to let them know how much I appreciate good service. I’m not all sour grapes, but this woman pissed me off :P

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1635 days


#8 posted 1338 days ago

More and more consumers are savvy enough these days to do their own research, locate the items they are looking for, get professional instead of generic advice, etc. From a big box store’s point of view, what’s the point of hiring and training helpful or kind employees when all they really need to do is pay the minimum amount of money for a pair of hands and legs to stock things, scan things, operate checkstands (which are becoming automated), and lock some doors?

Basically, customer service at these large stores is verging on extinction. It sure can be frustrating – sorry you had to deal with that employee but still glad you got what you were looking for, no thanks to her.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1662 days


#9 posted 1338 days ago

I don’t know what you’ve read in my letter or in anything else I’ve done on this site that makes you think that I was in any way disrespectful to her- hell I even thanked her for her time when she was no help. But, I’m not going to feel sorry for a worker who obviously doesn’t give a flip about her job to the point of making fun of a customer trying to find something she won’t help find herself.

I won’t be walking in there next time, thats the point.

I’m sorry you may have been treated badly at your previous job, but that doesn’t give this woman any excuse to be a terrible employee or you any excuse to give me a hard time for expecting a little human decency from employees when I try to give my money to a store.

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA

View lilredweldingrod's profile

lilredweldingrod

2495 posts in 1732 days


#10 posted 1338 days ago

We have three stores in the Palmdale/Lancaster area. I shop all three. You never know what response you will receive when you enter the store. Being in a wheelchair, you would think it is obvious that I could use help when shopping the lumber section.
Having been in middle and upper management for 40 years, as well as a business owner for thirty years, I have found that the employees reflect the managements attitude toward customers. When middle managers and upper managers are very concerned about treatment of customers, the employees will follow suit.
This means that the manager has to spend time on the floor setting an example to his crew.
When I have a problem with a salesperson, I immediately hunt down the shift manager and even if I have to return later, I find the store manager. This is not only to voice my complaint, but to feel out what type manager I am dealing with.
When I find a give a s**t attitude in a manager, I voice my complaint to the corp headquarters. I have seen some improvement in our stores, always temporary, but I have found that the bigwigs in corp headquarters at HD suck.
I try to keep my purchases to a minimum and even though I have to drive 70 miles, I buy from small business owners in the San Fernando Valley when possible. Especially my wood. Every thing else I wait for the pony express for my online purchases. I prefer to wait for a week rather than being treated like a third class citizen at HD and Lowe’s. They are on my list just under Sears.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3719 posts in 2288 days


#11 posted 1338 days ago

lilredweldingrod—You are spot on! I think the reason that customer service is so good at the local Menards is directly attributable to the local store manager. He sets a great example.

A year or so back, the company that handles Menard’s credit card processing botched up my account. I went to the service counter and asked to see the store manager (Randy). He got on the phone with somebody in the home office and got the problem cleared up … Pronto! I see him out walking the floor quite often when I am in the store, and if you ask him for help finding something, he escorts you to the item you are looking for … even it is all the way across the store.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3719 posts in 2288 days


#12 posted 1338 days ago

No, Charlie … I got your point … maybe you missed mine.

Good management leads by example. I know some people that work at that particular store … there are a lot of very happy employees there because they respect their manager.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

532 posts in 1638 days


#13 posted 1338 days ago

Jason -

Remember when Home Depot’s tag line was ”You can do it. We can help”? That was only a year or two ago. Now their tag line is ”More Saving. More Doing.”. Since their founders left the scene, they are just another Wal-Mart type store trying to offer the lowest price.

As FirehouseWoodworking said, ”there were lots of good people who really do give a damn”. The operative word is WERE.

Also as lilredweldingrod said, management attitude is reflected in the employees that work at a store.

I use to be one of those older, helpful associates at Home Depot that knew what a tool could do or knew where in the store you could find something. I had a large following of customers at my store that would always look for me when they wanted to buy something or get some advice on how to solve a problem. Also when they wanted to get a recommendation on which tool to buy, they would always find me. By the way, that sander you got is what I would recommend. It is a great tool.

Since the economic down turn, HD found it necessary to find some excuse to get rid of those older, more helpful associates that were paid more than $9.00 an hour. Haven’t you notices that the faces in the hardware department are younger and for the most part less helpful? What they fail to see while they are drowning in greed is that those older more knowledgeable associates tend to sell more stuff than the less knowledgeable, less paid associates that don’t know what customer service is all about.

Unless you know what you’re looking for and are willing to look for it yourself, forget about getting any knowledgable help at the HD. When looking for stuff at HD, if the hook is empty, don’t forget to look in the overhead. Any wonder why their stock is down?

In my opinion the HD management is not very ethical in the treatment of their employees and sometimes their customers. Remember the story in the news of how they treated a customer that was recently kidnapped in the HD parking lot? They tried to head off any legal action by “giving” him a door for $500 less and having him sign some document assuring that. HD will give new employees a code of conduct booklet when they are hired but don’t expect them to follow that booklet. Employees of HD have to watch their backs.

There was a time when my store would help customers rekey locks if the brand of the locks were sold at HD. Then all of a sudden, management said that type of service would no longer be offered to customers because it took too much time (10-15 minutes per cylinder). That’s the type of “service” they are offering.

Since I’ve left HD, I’ve tried to take my business to Lowe’s whenever possible. Lowe’s may be a little better and I know they treat their employees a lot better and it shows.

I see a lot of my faithful HD customers at Rockler now.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3719 posts in 2288 days


#14 posted 1338 days ago

The nearest Lowes is 70 miles from where I live … thank heaven for Menards!

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1662 days


#15 posted 1338 days ago

I will say this- they responded fast. I’ve been contacted by the District Manager. I’ll update accordingly after I’ve had a chance to talk to him.

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA

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