A small rant about inefficiency

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Forum topic by Gene Howe posted 06-24-2011 04:52 PM 1302 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gene Howe

8101 posts in 2850 days

06-24-2011 04:52 PM

I started this rant here and thought maybe I should send it to the object of the rant also. So here is what I sent to ACE HARDWARE corp. offices.

I’ve always liked the ACE brand resin coated sanding disks and belts. Good quality, long lasting and fairly priced.
Yesterday, I stopped in to pick up some 5” stick on disks and a few different sized belts.
The belt sizes and grits I needed were not stocked, as were some of the 5” disk grits.
The manager said no problem, they’d order them in for me….and here is where the fun began.
Ace’s new and improved?? computer catalog system couldn’t find the disks or belts….any of them.
O.K., time to break out the hard copy catalog. There are three. Would you believe that he couldn’t find them in either of the catalogs? No fault of his. Neither he nor I are rocket surgeons but, neither of us just fell off the turnip truck, either. The logic?? of the categories escaped both of us. I went to the display and got a disk and a belt package. He had to enter the SKU in the computer to get close to what I needed, then go back to the catalogs to get the specific item numbers, then back to the computer to place the order with the warehouse. Believe it or not, he had to use ALL THREE catalogs to complete the order. I mean, THREE catalogs to find 5 SKUs???? And all in the same category (sanding supplies). Forty-five minutes of our lives we’ll never get back for a 35-40 dollar order.
Come on Ace! If you want to sell your branded products, you’d better make it a little easier for your retailers to satisfy their customers. Hey, Home Depot isn’t that far from you. WAKE UP!!!!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

12 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2596 days

#1 posted 06-24-2011 05:35 PM

I’ve actually had similar experiences at each of my local Ace stores—the sense that …. the employees were looking at their internal computer system for the first time.

Usually, I’ve left, after the frustrating experience, and bought whatever it was I was looking for, elsewhere.

Lots of folks dislike/resent the big box stores (the BORGs), but … to me … THIS is the best part of “free market capitalism.” When folks don’t have any competition, they don’t tend to have the same motivation to elevate their game.

And … Ace … which COULD have a “guaranteed niche,” by their specialization, ability to sell in small quantities, AND staff of knowledgeable people … never feels like they’re making the best of that, to me.

-- -- Neil

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8101 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 06-24-2011 06:25 PM

In the instance I cited, the manager said that this was a new system and they hadn’t gotten really familiar with it, yet. So, in essence they were looking at it for nearly the first time. Still, the complete illogicality of the entire catalog/computer system leaves me, and I fear, the retailers, baffled.
Ace appears to be doing well in this area. The box stores don’t carry many of the items that Ace does. And, they wouldn’t have spent the time with me for a small sale. HOWEVER, I know where all the box stores display(?) (pile) their sandpaper and they do stock what I need…..usually.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2115 days

#3 posted 06-24-2011 06:28 PM

I accept your rant with respect and understanding. 99% of my experiences with ACE have been similar. But those experiences were in proper cities. Now, in the hills of WV, I have a new experience to share. There’s a mom/pop place called “Piles Hardware” it’s an ACE outfit, but unlike any you’ve seen. I entered the unassuming storefront and was blown-over. They’ve got filters for my JD tractor, 10 gallon vintage copper pots, every yard tool you can imagine, Two Cherries chisel line-up, about 50 different scroll saw blades, Abranet, Renaissance wax, etc. The owner, who I’ve never met, is surely a woodworker.

Not in defense of ACE products, per se, but one example of a nice ACE store. I hope you find yours! :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8101 posts in 2850 days

#4 posted 06-24-2011 08:04 PM

No problem with the retail stores! I enjoy shopping for my, sometimes odd, needs. And, I usually find what I’m after.
My gripe is with corporate and their apparent ignorance of their retail franchisee’s needs to better serve their odd ball customer requests. Not that mine were all that odd. It’s just sand paper, for goodness sake.
There are 4 Ace stores in my general area. One of them carries an almost complete line of Carhart work clothes. Another carries nearly every part one might need to rebuild almost any brand of chainsaw. Still another carries a very extensive line of welding supplies and, the largest irrigation plumbing supply in the area. All employ very helpful and knowledgeable folks.
Corporate just needs to get their act together.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 2668 days

#5 posted 06-24-2011 08:35 PM

Gene, agreed about corporate. Most franchise chains seem to fail because corporate doesn’t have a clue. That’s really sad because these people are paying through the nose for services and support they’re not getting. The pay to buy into the franchise, then they keep paying. All for corporate to drop the ball- but they do take their money.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2496 days

#6 posted 06-24-2011 10:07 PM

Locally, we have an Acme Tool store where I have purchased everything from a bottle of glue to an 18” bandsaw. Regardless of the size of the purchase, the checkout process seems to take at least 5 minutes every time. I like the store and I like the sales people so I put up with it, but I constantly wonder why it takes so long to buy a simple little product for cash.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View cabmaker's profile


1473 posts in 2231 days

#7 posted 06-24-2011 10:25 PM

We are in an era where it seems easier to sell than to buy.

View cloakie1's profile


204 posts in 1977 days

#8 posted 06-24-2011 10:29 PM

i find it amazing how ‘technology’ is supposed to make our lives easier and faster.i reckon it’s slower these days for reasons already cited….very frustrating…in the good old days if a store didn’t have it they would just pick up the phone and sort it on the spot instead of pissing around with a computer that is only as good as the info that has been put in it in the first place.i was in a shop the other day to get an item, the item was on the shelf but the computer said it wasn’t in stock….other times the computer says it’s there but it is not on the shelf…..go figure

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8101 posts in 2850 days

#9 posted 06-24-2011 10:30 PM

It might take that long at the stores I frequent. But, at Ace I don’t mind. The clerks are friendly cute and bubbly.
At HD and Lowes….not so much.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View KBX500's profile


35 posts in 1984 days

#10 posted 06-25-2011 06:26 AM

Computers are just another “tool” that corporations use to cut costs to help maximize
their profits, whether some are realizing a reduction in costs is another story.
It has little or nothing to do with ease of use, or customer service…it’s all about costs.


View William's profile


9906 posts in 2264 days

#11 posted 06-25-2011 07:16 AM

You mean the employee helped you?
My wife has to listen to my ranting on a regular basis about the lack of customer service these days. Hell, for that matter, the lack of even giving a rat’s $$ about a customer.
It isn't Ace, or wood related, but I'll tell you my latest. it happened just last night.
I finally make it up to the counter of the gas station after the clerk finally decides to hang up the phone she had been talking to her boyfriend on and wait on customers.
me: I need a pack of flints. Zippo if you got them. If not, those Ronson right over there will do. (Apparantly she didn't get the part about "right over there" as I held out my arm and POINTED at them.
clerk: We don't carry those.
me: yes ma'am, you do. They're right there.
clerk: no mister. We must not carry them because I've never heard of them.
me: They're called flints. They're for Zippo style lighters. And they are RIGHT THERE.
clerk: (picks up my root beer and cherry coke and rings them up) Will that be all sir?
me: Hell no that aint all. I want a pack of flints. The ones RIGHT THERE! (Yes, I was indeed getting a little irate by this point)
clerk: (acting very aggrevated as she turned to look behind here, where the flints were) I don't see them sir. I've never heard of them.
me. Ma'am. they ae right there (pointing). Red cardboard card, with yellow plastic that holds five little red FLINTS. They're right there between the cigar rack and the rolling papers.
clerk: sir, you don't have to get rude.
me: well lady, if you'd get you head out of your
$$! You’d see that…....NEVERMIND (I walked over and leaned over the edge of the counter and picked them off the hook myself)
me: (flints $1.19. I threw two bucks on the counter and walked out and got in my truck)
wife: (seeing the anger in my eyes) What did you do THIS TIME?


View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2062 days

#12 posted 06-25-2011 01:51 PM

Hey, William… it is perfectly normal to dislike even the idea of suffering fools gladly. My wife knows when we are out in public that the folding of my arms usually means that a cutting verbal projectile is counting down from about 3…. and that when the arms come down its either over or I’m looking for the Eastwing.

We had a family group meal following a graduation at an IHOP in Memphis just after 9 pm. We were quickly seated and our order was taken. The waitress promptly brought our drink orders. Everybody around us that had arrived after we did got served as we were still waiting. The waitress apologizes and shows that she turned the order in minutes after taken. It’s the kitchen !!! 10 minutes go by. I go to the kitchen door/window area and ask what’s the problem… It’s not like I ordered the elephant’s ear on rye ! They say its coming. Five more minutes go by. Then they bring everybody’s meal except our mother’s ! A few minutes later I give her half of my loaded omelet and half of my hash browns… and 5 minutes later still nothing. I am wishing this is Cracker Barrel instead of IHOP so I can grab a boat paddle… or a kaiser blade… or even a string-less banjo as my weapon if so provoked. We had been there nearly an hour at this point. We call the manager over and rake him over a coal or two, but he takes it, apologizes and says no charge for the meal. Because of that, the waitress did not bring a check, but when we left we made a big deal about making sure she got her good tip of about 25% of what the entire meal would have been.

And then there was the time the bowling alley let league play start with Coke syrup not cleaned from previous patrons on the approach. I am wearing my personal bowling shoes. No problem. Stuff happens. But when the guy at the counter tries to charge me for borrowing their shoes while mine are drying… then insists that he CAN”T just let me borrow them. But we did quickly learn a few things: I can voice over 20 lanes of bowlers without an intercom, old school laminate over plywood does not break when I slam it with all my might, and he damn sure COULD give me loaner shoes. lol

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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