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Lumberyard Etiquette

by dakremer
posted 12-20-2009 07:22 AM

46 replies so far

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3376 days

#1 posted 12-20-2009 07:58 AM

I would have gotten the store manager, that’s ridiculous. I shop a lot at Menard’s and I pick through the 2x’s and sheet goods too, but I stack the 2x’s on the same stack as I’m going through them. And for sheet goods, I take them off, find the ones I want, then put them back. Excuse my French, what a dickhead.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3131 days

#2 posted 12-20-2009 08:07 AM

Every place gets asshat customers, I loved my last boss when I used to work at Kmart, his policy was that you bend over backwards for customers, and god help any employee that didn’t go out of their way to make people happy, but you come into his store with one of those holier than thou attitudes, he would kick you out…AFTER humiliating you in the middle of the sales floor. Man had a rare talent.

Good times, good times.

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3797 days

#3 posted 12-20-2009 12:29 PM

I used to work in a Lowe’s store part time in their tool department. People would do the same thing all the time. Open up power tool cases, open sealed package, throw leather goods all over and leave stuff in the tool department from all different parts of the store. It was frustrating but I guess it was part of the job to pick up after them. I guess in your case I would have called the manager let him deal with the fool if he elected to. Now as far as showing you disrespect that is another thing. When I had a A-hole customer I usually just walked away. I figured if they ever complained I would tell the manager that I do not have to put up with that bull-s. Hang in there buddy!

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View GuyK's profile


356 posts in 4102 days

#4 posted 12-20-2009 01:25 PM

Dakremer I feel your pain. I think if you look at most stores as you shop, you will see the havoc caused by the general public. Ignorance and lack of concern for those around us it fast becoming the norm.

I think you handled this, much better then I would have.

-- Guy Kroll

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4184 days

#5 posted 12-20-2009 01:37 PM

oh so frustrating – but a good story to remind people to put their wood back.
Everyone, everywhere, deserves respect. There is no job that is lesser or better than any other.
Not to take away from your story, but hopefully add to it, while at Emergency the other day with my Mom I told the cleaning lady that I appreciated all the work she did to keep the area disinfected as much as possible. Her response was: her shoulders dropped, a big smile lit up her face and she said, “I try my best”. (And I’m sure that she tried even harder after that little bit of appreciation.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View cbMerlin's profile


100 posts in 3444 days

#6 posted 12-20-2009 01:42 PM

Dakremer – that guy was an idiot, at the least. I’m sure you have far more customers unlike him than like him. Good luck with your education, very impressive! Your situation is temporary, his is not, he’s probably always going to be an idiot. Keep the faith, maybe someday he’ll show up at your office…....well hell, at least your can dream!!!!!

One more thing, and I’m assuming that’s your picture in your gallery, that young lady in the picture with you, well she’s just beautiful! Can you even imagine what the lady in his picture looks like?

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3736 days

#7 posted 12-20-2009 05:30 PM

Rude, obnoxious, people are that way all the time. Its the crude showing through. If you have seen some of the strips that keep showing of people shopping at Walmart it demonstrates how inconsiderate people can be of others who might want to shop.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3581 days

#8 posted 12-20-2009 05:41 PM

I would never do that. I stack, find what I want, and restack. The obvious way to be kind to others. I have seen what you are talking about and as a customer to another customer, I have told some “Hey man. stack that stuff back the way you found it’” It has pi—ed a few off but they did restack the pile.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3115 days

#9 posted 12-20-2009 05:41 PM

Unfortunately this happens quite a bit! Usually it doesn’t get to me – it’s just part of the job. But when its 10 degrees out, with a wind, and I’ve been outside all day – it gets to you :) People at Menards always complain that they don’t get awesome service, and there needs to be more help, yada yada yada – but if I didnt have to spend so much time picking up after everyone….I could help more people!! Thanks for the comments!! Hopefully will be posting my first real woodworking project soon (a humidor for my brother for christmas)!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3197 days

#10 posted 12-20-2009 06:42 PM

The customer is always right … except when they’re wrong. This guy was wrong … and I’m being extremely polite in my phrasing.

-- -- Neil

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3222 days

#11 posted 12-20-2009 07:05 PM

Yeah, I agree with you, people can be real jerks, especially around the holidays. Especially during the Menard BIG sales going on. I line in MN and have seen it at our local store. There is no excuse for a lack human dignity, and manners. A freind used to tell me this all the time ” Don’t let the Bastards grind you down”. Hang in there, most people are good and have respect for others. Good luck to you in school.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View eddy's profile


939 posts in 3388 days

#12 posted 12-20-2009 07:08 PM

as a service advisor for 10 years i had customers like this all the time. i feal your pain
there will always be people like this and after they make he mess they will complain about the service

-- self proclaimed copycat

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3711 days

#13 posted 12-20-2009 07:17 PM

Been there , done that…twenty+ years of lumber yard work and every once in a while you have to deal with total morons that have NO respect for the yard help. I’d help anyone that needed to find their “perfect” pieces of wood and most would restack the rest with me after making their selections. If I knew my customer was in a rush to get to the job site , I would restack things by myself , knowing that I had actually helped them and that they would be back again…”job security” I guess .
People have gotten so bad in some areas , the lumber yards don’t allow them into their yards .The customers place their orders and the stock is taken from the tops of the piles (as is, meeting code ) and that is what the customers get….no more selection…..People like your moron make you appreciate your good customers even more…....I have to quote one of my former co-workers here. No matter what happened in the lumberyard , he would always say that ”it’s only a movie” , we would laugh and go on with our days : )
Best wishes on your future job…I couldn’t live without my Chiropractor !!

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3314 days

#14 posted 12-20-2009 07:29 PM

Heh – does delivering pizza count?

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Gary's profile


1291 posts in 4347 days

#15 posted 12-20-2009 07:32 PM

I’ve never gone to the big box and taken the junk from their stacks of `premium’ grade 2X4s (and the like) and thrown the bad ones on the floor looking for something that’s decent enough to use BUT I guarantee you: I’ve wanted to.
I’ve never been to Menards but at Lowe’s and Home Depot, I’m always amazed at the Crap they call premium.
So, while I understand your post, I gotta ask:
Are the “bad” ones really good or are they crap which shouldn’t be in the stacks to begin with?
If the answer is YES, then even though the customer was out of line, y’‘all are wrong too.
If the answer is NO, y’all should ban that customer from your lumber yard.

-- Gary, Florida

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133 posts in 3143 days

#16 posted 12-20-2009 07:39 PM

i am a firm believer i karma and that guy will get what is owed to him two fold…

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3494 days

#17 posted 12-20-2009 08:02 PM

wow that’s terrible! I guess those hobbiest type people are like that though. I don’t think I ever saw a professional contractor act like that. I notice this type of behavior alot at the big box stores since it’s a serve yourself place and caters to DIYers.

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 3458 days

#18 posted 12-20-2009 09:20 PM

All of our Menards here are that way, there are a small handful of employees tending to probably a million square feet of inventory. I wonder if somebody would do that in the store if they knew somebody was watching.

If you can’t afford to leave a tip, you can’t afford to go out to eat. If you don’t have the time to put things back where you got them, you probably don’t have time to go shopping. I get this at work a lot, my general response is “do I get between you and your fry station and make your life hell?” (apologies to the fast food employees out there, since I’ve done it I’m allowed to joke about it :) )

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3392 days

#19 posted 12-20-2009 09:31 PM

I would have to had to tell a little lie. I would have told him I didn’t work there, I owned the store and he is welcome to get his ass out of it. Follow him out and empty a garbage can into his truck.

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3494 days

#20 posted 12-20-2009 09:35 PM

Jason, that’s ok. This is snarky stereotype generalization sunday! You gotta match the hatch!

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


708 posts in 3296 days

#21 posted 12-21-2009 06:52 AM


As was already mentioned, this fellow’s karma will eventually catch up tto him.

One day, in the not too distant future, he’ll be sorting through the stacks and leaving piles of what he considers unusable lumber in the aisles for some poor schmuck to clean up because it’s well beneath his own stature to do so. He’ll pull out a piece of crap 2×6 and turn so that he can drop it in the aisle.

He hears the pop, feels the stabbing pain, and falls to the ground wreathing in pain. As the ambulance takes him away, the store manager can hear him screaming that he’ll sue! Of course, Menards will try to settle the issue without fanfare and agrees to pay for his visit to the emergency room as well as his further follow ups and therapy in the hopes of keeping a customer.

The tentpeg will pull out a copy of the yellow pages (he’s incapable of using a computer and “ain’t got no internet”) and finds himself a chiropracter.

Yup, that’s right. He’s spotted a new chiropracter in town and figures (or in his case, “figgers”) that this new guy won’t charge much cause he’s looking for new patients. One “Dr Dakremer”.

Yeah, karma. Ain’t it grand?!

In the meanwhile, don’t let the bastards wear you down!

Merry Christmas!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View dbhost's profile


5723 posts in 3255 days

#22 posted 12-21-2009 11:34 AM

I just hate dealing with people like that. I worked a similar job for a lumberyard here in TX while I was in college… I hated dealing with customers like that, and their aftermath….

I have noticed the overly self confident fools out there tend to not know what they are doing, and end up hurting themselves in the long run. I have a sneaky feeling poetic justice is getting ready to bite that fool in the backside.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View richdoyle's profile


2 posts in 3421 days

#23 posted 12-21-2009 10:08 PM

Dakremer: I well understand your feelings in dealing with that customer – I live outside of Philadelphia, PA and whenever I go out shopping with my wife (rare) my usual comment on viewing other shoppers behavior is ‘we live among pigs’. No disrespect meant to any farm animal here, however common civility is hard to find these days. Worse yet is the man’s attitude about your choice of a job. I don’t care if you are a brain surgeon or a ‘sanitary engineer’ – you work, you contribute, you deserve respect.

Watch Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs and hope that bozo does not darken your aisle again!

-- RD

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3745 days

#24 posted 12-21-2009 10:21 PM

Some people just need an “adjustment” and I’m not talking about spinal.

Maybe the guy just needed to kick someone or something around because he’s having a bad life, thus rotten the attitude. In that note one could politely comment: “Gee, I’m really sorry you’re not pleased with the merchandise and that you’re not having a good time in this life, but you don’t have to show it.”

Smile, then leave . . . quickly.

And I LOVE my chriropractic care givers!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4241 days

#25 posted 12-21-2009 10:34 PM

I worked in a lumberyard, so all I can say is I feel your pain, brother.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 3144 days

#26 posted 12-21-2009 11:46 PM

There’s absolutely no legitimate reason for behavior like that. But in digging through the lumber at the local Borg there is usually so much garbage that shouldn’t even be in the stack that it’s hard to find anything of decent quality. When this happens I usually track down a lumber rep, he’ll bring a palet or fork lift and we’ll go through the stack throwing the moldy, twisted, warped or other defective material there thus allowing him to just get it off the floor. That being said, it is sipremely aggravating that this crap made it onto the floor at all!

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3167 days

#27 posted 12-22-2009 12:41 AM

No excuse for his behavior, but I do understand his frustration.

On the bright side, I do hold that Menard’s maintains better suppliers for their lumber than BORG and Blue BORG and unlike them they actually dump the prices on unwanted stock.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4011 days

#28 posted 12-22-2009 01:06 AM

A-holes are everywhere. If given a choice I’ll ignore them.

It’s usually easy to spot them as they get out of their car. It’s usually been keyed a number of times.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View SteveMI's profile


1101 posts in 3317 days

#29 posted 12-22-2009 01:08 AM

I have a blue and orange store within 3 miles of me, but drive to Menards 35 miles away on regular basis. They do have better common grade lumber and mine (Toledo) is adequately staffed. People actually know something about their department and will go out of their way to help you solve a problem.

If someone “needs” premium lumber, then they need to accept it that they have to go to a real lumber yard and pay the price. I also have a lumber mill that builders use in my town, but they are about 25% more than blue and orange. This mill has a rail siding and get regular railroad car loads. They are always busy with builders and have a huge stock.

I’ve never worked retail, even in school, but have seen enough that it should qualify for one of the dirtiest jobs episodes just from the all too frequent idiots.

Try the “It’s only a movie” thought and hang in there. Some of the customers are relying on you.


View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3980 days

#30 posted 12-22-2009 01:26 AM

I feel your pain dude. The cabinet shop I worked at used to sell hardwoods retail to walk in customers. What a pain that was. I didn’t mind the guys who knew what they wanted and would look through the stacks and put things back relatively close to the way it was. But then there was always guys that would take the whole pile of 5/4 hard maple apart looking for perfect boards and leave it all over the floor or piled in with other wood. When I go to my hardwood dealer..I try never to walk in 5 minutes b4 closing, and if I do I know exactly what I want! I always put the lumber stacks back the way I found’s just common courtesy!


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59 posts in 3704 days

#31 posted 12-22-2009 01:39 AM

Remember this: When God made all of us, he set quotas to be filled; doctors, truck drivers, plumbers, and yes, assholes. This jerk is doing the rest of us a favor. He is helping fill the asshole quota, leaving the rest of us to (hopefully) be nice people.

-- "non illegitimis carborundum"

View garren20's profile


6 posts in 3498 days

#32 posted 12-22-2009 02:02 AM

I work for a hardware store myself and deal with this type of attitude on a daily basis.
I feel your pain… I really do.

I tell my associates that if they see a customer doing things like this call me and i will take care of it.

But also as a manager and can tell people to get out of my store if i see fit…. so if i had been there i would have escorted the guy to the front door and said….. never again in my store…... don’t come back.

I don’t mind taking the heat from my corporate office if there is just cause.

the line i like to use is “Other peoples kids” as i shrug my shoulders

hang in there and keep your stick on the ice were all pulling for ya’

View steveosshop's profile


230 posts in 3649 days

#33 posted 12-22-2009 02:18 AM

I have worked in a lumberyard in the past as well and feel your pain 100%. I admit I sort threw lumber to find the pieces I think are the best, but it is a good rule of thumb to leave things as nice or better as when you arrived. I find this true for everything from shopping at lumberstores to grocery stores to hanging out with friends.

-- Steve-o

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 3542 days

#34 posted 12-22-2009 02:31 AM

That guy would be in hospital now if this happened in Australia….

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View dmoney's profile


191 posts in 3102 days

#35 posted 01-10-2010 10:44 PM

next time get the store manager and have this guy explain to him/her why it’s ok to make a disaster area out of an aisle. Don’t hesitate to correct another customer that’s doing the same thing. Most of the time people are smart enough to realize what they are doing and correct it if you just bring it to their attention.

-- Derek, Iowa

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3791 days

#36 posted 01-10-2010 11:00 PM

thats just sad. whenever i go into the lumberyard my attitude is leave the stack nice than it was when i found it. even if that means cleaning up after the person before me even though im a customer. Thats how it should be. I understand what you mean too. I work at shaws and of course i have to double or tripple count the money because mistakes will get you fired. You don’t even know how many times (well you probably do) i get called dumb and stupid because I’m taking the extra second to get things right. And here i go to the 19th best and oldest school in the country (really we should be in the top 5 the rating are rigged). Also for anyone whose ever worked in a food store. Don’t even get me started on Wic and some of the dumbasses who try to buy whatever they want even though it specifically lists out exactly what you can get.

View Garyb6's profile


306 posts in 3654 days

#37 posted 01-10-2010 11:21 PM

It’s too bad but it seem more and more people are losing respect for others and bad behavior is becoming the norm.

-- Garyb6, “True simplicity does not reveal the tremendous effort it requires.” - Somerset Maugham

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4338 days

#38 posted 01-21-2010 08:29 AM

My solution to all the worlds problems are to take all the people who do not return their shopping cart and prevent them from reproducing. I bet withing two generations the jails will be empty, wall street will be empty, and whats left of congress will actually work.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#39 posted 01-21-2010 08:40 AM

I feel The customer was rude and inconsiderate. But as a contractor in my 60s I have a rule when I’m ready to sort through lumber I ask for help and if they stand at a distance and watch me try and sort through lumber by my self , I don’t feel bad scattering the the whole pile to get what I want. If they help me I help them re stack the material as neat as a pin. I don’t look down on people who work in lumber yards there just people trying to do a job but so am I.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3369 days

#40 posted 01-21-2010 03:01 PM

That poor guy has to wake up every morning knowing what a jerk he is. Poor guy.

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3494 days

#41 posted 01-21-2010 04:29 PM

In the local HD the store manager has the employees stack the warped, damaged plywood back on top of the pile of decent plywood so you have to move 10 sheets to get one out of the pile. If I feel generous I help them move it. They do the same thing with dimensional lumber sometimes. If I have something dilivered it gets inspected on the truck so they don’t have to reload it. Jerk is warranted at times.

View cathyb's profile


793 posts in 3267 days

#42 posted 01-22-2010 04:17 AM

When I was probably six or seven, my Sunday school teacher drilled the “Golden Rule” so deep into my brain that it is still stuck there. When I am looking for lumber, I go through entire pile. When I’m finished I put it back in better shape. As a service to my fellow wood enthusiasts, I sort boards according to grain as I go through the pile. When I put the pile back together, all the matching boards are together again. I couldn’t do that every day. It’s hard on my back. As a woman, it would be unconscionable to expect someone to clean up my mess. I’ve spent the better part of my life picking up after someone else, especially my husband. There are times that I wanted to say, “ARE YOUR ARMS BROKEN OR SOMETHING!” I feel your pain…......

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View KellyS's profile


78 posts in 3255 days

#43 posted 01-22-2010 04:33 AM

People always forget the golden rule…The toes you step on today might be connected to the backside you have to kiss tomorrow!!! I always do my best to be polite in hopes that people will mirror back what they get. Sorry for your troubles.

-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3733 days

#44 posted 01-22-2010 06:47 AM

I worked in a hardware store for a few years. I too feel your pain. Just remember my motto

“All who pass through our hallowed portals bring happiness: Some by coming. Others by leaving. . . “

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View pete57's profile


134 posts in 3434 days

#45 posted 01-22-2010 07:55 AM

I am a born to the blood Ironworker. In my 20’s I was rough and in my 50’s I can still be rough, but have the respect of fellow Construction workers, I am a site superintendent now, I choose not to get to upset. I go my way and let live you know, but once in a while someone will get in my face and that is it. I have never had to get physical because I know they know I will if provoked.
that is exactly why I can not work in public places like that. The customer is always right my a%&!! I would of had that guy banned from the store and took some pictures and called the police. that kind of syuff is just rude and uncalled for and should not be tolerated by anyone. I have a colege degree and even before I would never let people be-little me.
thanks for hitting that nerve.

-- Humble Wood Servant

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 3291 days

#46 posted 01-22-2010 08:20 AM

One way or another, we are all in this together.

To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi…

There is no more important man than he who cleans the latrine.

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