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Jim Stastny
03-08-2007, 7:46 AM
Go here to read a great article re: HD

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215

Chris Barton
03-08-2007, 8:43 AM
Hi Jim,

I'm not sure I would agree with the take on HD provided in your link. I lived in Baton Rouge when HD opened their first store less than 2 miles from my house in the early 90's. At the time, it was the largest HD on earth (their promotional line) and we loved it as new home owners. To me, HD hasn't changed much since then. They keep a very limited stock of items that will fit the middle to lower price range for consumers and continue to try to be all things to all people (home improvement wise). For general home maintance they are still my store of choice. But, I think you have to consider the times as well. IN the early 90's the housing market wasn't so hot and most people were trying to increase their sweat equity by DIY and until HD came along there was really no provider in this arena. Lowes predates HD but, they didn't really get their act together until HD came to market.

Bill Huber
03-08-2007, 9:56 AM
In my area there are 3 HD and 2 Lowe's that I can get to very easy. The HD is the closest of the stores. If I really need something I will go to Lowe's even if it takes a little longer to get there. I know when I leave I will have what I need and will not have to stand in line for 20 min. to check out.
The closest HD to me does now have self checkout which does help with the line but they are always out of things. They don't have much in the way of tools, I would say about 2/3s that of Lowe's.
Then there is the problem of getting help when you need it, you almost have to tackle someone to get them to stop and help and then when they do you find out that you know a lot more about it then they do.
Then there is the thing that really gets me and that is to hear a sales person giving someone a line of crap about what they need or how to fix something. That to me is the worst, just tell them you don't know or get someone that does but don't feed them a line.

Brad Townsend
03-08-2007, 10:20 AM
I read an interesting article recently that could be nicely paired with the article presented. It concerned Ace Hardware and how they have not noly survived, but thrived in the era of the big box home center. Defying predictions that they couldn't compete, both their sales volume and stock price have gone up steadily in recent years. They have done it primarily with service. Link below.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Jan/17/bz/FP701170356.html

Dan Gill
03-08-2007, 10:35 AM
The article fits my experience with Home Depot. The folks there are friendly, but there are never enough of them, and most of them don't know much about their stock.

I enjoy going to my local Ace much more, although the prices are generally higher. It's also closer, so if I need something they both have, for example, paint or stain, I have to balance the proximity and the ease of Ace vs. the price savings at HD or Lowes. Ace often wins.

Tim Malyszko
03-08-2007, 10:42 AM
Around us, We definately see the short staffing issue at Home Depot, espeically at night. The only people working in the store are the front desk people, a few cashiers and a couple of people cleaning up. It is near impossible to ask any of them a question because they are all younger people that are there just to collect a paycheck; therefore, their knowledge about "home improvement" is very limited.

On another note, I stopped going to the Home Depot once the Lowe's down the street from it opened for three reasons:

Lowe's is much cleaner with wider aisles and less cluttered. It's easier for me to find what I am looking for.
There are always knowledgable department heads working, which makes it very easy to get questions answered.
I like their power tool department's layout much better instead of the 2 clutter aisles at the HD's.For home center type purchase, Lowe's gets my business, unless I need a Ridgid power tool; but when I need that, I drive out of my way to go to one of the Nicer Home Depots.

Ken Fitzgerald
03-08-2007, 10:44 AM
Living in the sticks....sometimes has it's advantages......sometimes not.....We've only had a Home Depot here for maybe 4 years. Prior to that, the local small business folks more or less "had the market" with no competition. If you really wanted a good deal you had to drive all the way to Spokane, WA about 110 miles one way. I know...went there a lot. There were several chains (some regional) there. You really didn't save any money but you got a lot better quality than you got locally for the same dollar.

Then about 4 years ago we got a Home Depot. The first year it was open, the service was excellent. They had a lot of old experienced white-haired folks like me working there and if you asked them a question, they had a good answer and there were plenty of employees around to help you. I actually developed some very friendly relationships with some of them.

At the same time a large number of local businesses that used to have the entire market went out of business due to competition.

Then it happened, one by one, the more experienced employees were let go and I noticed and asked some of the ones I knew. Then I saw on the news where HD was cutting back. Yup, the experienced ones were often professionals in a trade and that's why their information was so valuable. These were the higher paid individuals. Now....fewer people working the aisles......don't hesitate to block off an aisle to restock during store hours....when you ask these younger kids and most of them are kids...they can't answer your queston as they haven't been trained or have the experience......

I find myself frequenting a locally owned lumber yard now. Seldom go to HD except for finishing supplies to use up the gift cards I've received. My hardware needs are better supplied by a local Ace hardware store and a local industrial hardware center that supplies local wood and paper mills.

Locally......HD has changed.

Justin Dreier
03-08-2007, 10:44 AM
Go here to read a great article re: HD

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215

I share the writers experience. The biggest dissapointment is that in 1990 you could get about every odd thing you were looking for to build a project. I walk out of the store empty handed far too many times. I understand that the items that don't move often, take up costly floor space, but I shopped because I could get what I needed at a regular price.

The staff has IMO been dropped signifcantly since 1990. It is hard to find someone to help locate a special item.

It is what it is folks. I'll keep shopping there because it's close and for regular items, you can't beat Lowes, Mendards or HD. If I don't find it there, I go to true value, pay a little more in price, but it's what I need. Maybe it's not possible to build a BORG business model with true value benefits. Home Depot did have that at one time IMO.

Jim Myers
03-08-2007, 10:47 AM
I tend not to go to HD because of one experence even though Lowes and HD are only .5 miles apart.

I went in to order Kitchen cabnets (I know, I know I probably should have buitl them....) and had already planned out the Mills Pride ones for my space.

I had planned and wrote out all the part numbers needed and everything, all they had to do was enter the order. That being said 2 and half hours after I sat down with the guy to place the order I was finally done. This tends to put a bad taste in my mouth when I have to walk through the door of that place.

Anthony Anderson
03-08-2007, 10:51 AM
I agree with points of both Chris and Jim. As Chris said, Although many home centers predate Home Depot, HD forced many to get their act together, and those who did not went out of business (Home Quarters, Builders Square among others). However, in recent years, it has been my experience that HD's customer service has suffered. As Jim mentioned, HD used to have knowledgeable sales people, now it seems that they employ people to wear orange aprons and not much else. Employees do seem less eager to offer help, or give help when ask. This is clearly not the HD of say 10 years ago. Their CEO did take a lot from the company during some difficult times, and I feel that they are having a hard time recovering from that as well. HD does still stock about the same supplies/materials as they always have, but the CS is still sliding downhill. A home improvement center in our region, and I suspect will go nationwide at some point, is Menards, they are growing steadily, and have a great customer service, and they are still a privately held company. Only time will tell with all of these companies. But I do think the writing is on the wall for Home Depot, probably less than ten years, unless there is determined restructuring in employee hiring practices and customer service area. Just my thoughts. Bill

Paul Johnstone
03-08-2007, 10:58 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with that article.

It once took over an hour to get some pipe cut and threaded for pipe clamps.. The people they kept paging over didn't know how to use the machine. Finally, the manager got off his lazy rearend and did the job.

Another time I foolishly waited over a half hour to find the price on something. It wasn't in their system, and I kept being assured that someone could do it in just a few more minutes. In the end, the manger just took a wild guess, and guess what, his guess was way overpriced.

And then there's aggravations like how they fail to stock some sizes of dowels, etc.

Oh yeah, when they run out of something, sometimes it takes MONTHS for them to reorder. I was told by someone else that they often will wait until enough other items run out so they can make one big order to the vendor, instead of multiple small orders.. Ok, I could see this logic if it was just waiting a day or two, but MONTHS?

Lowes isn't much better, IMO.

Cliff Rohrabacher
03-08-2007, 11:30 AM
********Back in 1990, when my wife and I loved Home Depot, the stores were staffed with well-trained, knowledgeable and helpful people.***********

How often does it all come down to customer service.

The HD neer me was really great some decade or so back. I could find a real plumber working in the plumbing department who would share his trade knowledge with me. At the Contractor's desk there were real tradesmen who would share their info with you. Even the electrical department has a guy who was an expert.

Times have changes but there are still some really good guys working there. I think the plumber still is. He's getting on in years tho.

However the HD near my daugher's place in a more densely populated part of the state is - abysmal.

It's a crappy shoddy poorly managed disaster. Nothing is where it's supposed to be and bins are permantly in disarray. You want a store employee you have to wastle one down as they are all on permant break.
You want some information the best they can do is look on the package to see if there are instructions and they point to that. That's it.

From the customer's standpoint it's all about customer service.

glenn bradley
03-08-2007, 11:33 AM
HD experiences seem to be the result of local management attitude. The HD I used when living in the Sacramento area could not have been better. The one nearest me in SoCal where I live now could not be worse, the one a few more miles away is fine.

Lee DeRaud
03-08-2007, 11:46 AM
HD experiences seem to be the result of local management attitude. The HD I used when living in the Sacramento area could not have been better. The one nearest me in SoCal where I live now could not be worse, the one a few more miles away is fine.Second that: there's only one locally that I'll set foot in.

Luckily it's the one about a mile from my house. :cool:
(91 and Weir Canyon if you feel like driving that far, Glenn.)

Ted Miller
03-08-2007, 12:25 PM
I think in all the years I have been going to Home Desperate I may have asked once for some wire to be spooled, once to find something and one time to get something off the highest rack. At $9.50 an hour what do you expect from the employees.

The newest store right next to my house had a few things in the Electrical area that were odd in sizes but lacked the most used items for running conduit and the like. Spoke with a manager one early morning and within two days the 8 things I pointed out were on the shelf and the less used items I mentioned were high on the shelf.

I have to admit where I live the lumber yards are aweful for lumber, higher prices, everything is outside and moisture ladden so I aviod the lumber yard. I do have to pick through the lumber at HD a bit for construction grade and I do buy hardwood ply, melamine and BB from them as well. A lot cheaper than the lumber yard and the same quality. Of course hardwood stock I go to Austin for bf, great selection, ok prices.

Lowes does not even have 1/4 of the tools HD carries in my area. For paint I go to Lowes, but that is it.

Even if I have lumber I still go through self checkout and the person standing there to fix problems at self check will scan the long stuff.

If you have a return HD will take it no questions asked. I took something back to Lowes once and it took almost 30 minutes to locate a manager to clear the return. Have not been to a Lowes in more than 6 months...

Ken Garlock
03-08-2007, 12:57 PM
Perhaps some of you don't know Scott Burns' background. Scott has been a financial writer in the Dallas Morning News at least since I have been in the Dallas area (1979.) His education includes a degree from MIT, although I don't know what in. He is a financial conservative and his recommendations follow that line. He is not a stock picker, but looks at the bigger picture.

For more information, if you are interested, go to his website (http://assetbuilder.com/?page_id=2).

I am not a follower of Scott's recommendations, but rather just saying that he knows his business. :)

Paul Johnstone
03-08-2007, 12:57 PM
If you have a return HD will take it no questions asked. ...

But sadly, now if you return without a recept, they will knock 20-40% off the "Store credit" they give you. Not complaining, but it's not like the good old days. You really need to save every recepit. I do understand that they have to knock money off if you don't have a recepit to avoid unscruplous people from buying something on sale and then returning it when the sale is over for a full price refund.

Ted Miller
03-08-2007, 1:01 PM
Paul, Yes I agree, but I am one of those guys who nevers throws away receipts, not saying I am a "returner", but just in case...

Doug M Jones
03-08-2007, 1:21 PM
I have a Lowes very nearby that I use often and occasionally travel 30 miles to the nearest Menards but NEVER go into Home Depot. Used to go in occasionally but when we were shopping for kitchen cabinets (I wanted to build them, SWMBO wanted them now, not in 18 months) we made the rounds. The staff at Lowes (1st stop) was very helpful but the price was a little high. Made the drive to Ankeny where the Menards and HD sit side by side. I had made an appointment at HD but was kept waiting almost 45 minutes not happy but things happen. We sat down with the designer and she was intent on designing the kitchen she wanted and not what my wife was looking for. LOML asked for a specific layout for the fridge/stove/sink triangle and the designer refused to put them in that way. After 2 additional wasted hours we almost went home but decided to go to Menards even though they don't make appointments. We were helped by a great guy named Ken that not only listened to my wife but made several suggestions that she incorporated in the design. When he proposed something LOML was hesitant about, he said "let me show you what I mean" and put it in the design. In most cases he was right and the wife loves the new layout and cabinets. When she didn't like something it was "no problem" and a couple of clicks on the PC brought it back to what she liked. I walked out 1.5 hours later with a complete plan and $8000+ in cabinets ordered. The wife was extremely happy but his suggestions cost me about $1500 in additional foo foo stuff. But hey, momma's happy. They were on sale and I saved about $1000 from the Lowes price without the foo foo stuff. I have been in the store several times since then and Ken always waves or comes over to chat if he has the time. Super customer service.

Ted Miller
03-08-2007, 1:30 PM
I see HD just like a Walmart or grocery store, I go in get what I need for a good price and go home. Its just a material place for me but I will buy the quick drill bit or chalk line but most of my smaller tools come from online purchases and larger tools in my area from classifieds...

Keel McDonald
03-08-2007, 1:34 PM
I read an interesting article recently that could be nicely paired with the article presented. It concerned Ace Hardware and how they have not noly survived, but thrived in the era of the big box home center. Defying predictions that they couldn't compete, both their sales volume and stock price have gone up steadily in recent years. They have done it primarily with service. Link below.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Jan/17/bz/FP701170356.html

Brad,

Glad to hear they provide good service where you are. In my experience, Ace is the worst. I pass by 4 Ace stores to get to Lowe's. In our local Ace, the only person you can ever get to help you is the owner's daughter, who really has no experience in hardware or home improvement. The "experts" who work there are too busy discussing their own projects, or the weather, or whatever. I've never had any problems like that at Lowe's. I'll get off my soap box now. No offense intended towards anyone, that's just been my experience.

Mike Seals
03-08-2007, 1:42 PM
A while back I posted on another board that HD is the new Wally World. They opened one in our little small town a little over two years ago. It almost seemed as if they would not make it, the parking lot was usually empty. Then Hurricane Rita hit, HD because of the distribution was able to get supplies in quickly, they even brought other folks in from around the country to help in staffing. You couldn't turn a corner without bumping into a sales person. They kept that pace up for several months and it served the area well.

But all that is now past and I find it hard to get any service there. I will leave if I can't get help and I won't return for the same sale, some one else will get my money.

The parking lot is normally full now, folks found a decent place after the hurricane, but I've heard the same grumbling from a lot of others about the lack of staff. They could fall if they don't watch it.

Brian Clevenger
03-08-2007, 2:55 PM
I can't recall ever having a good experience in HD. I basically hate the place. I will hardly even walk through their doors. The only things I will buy from them is an occasional Ridgid tool (I only have one that still works.... the OSS/belt sander), and Echo tools. I won't give them a penny for anything that I can get somewhere else locally.

Lowe's is another story, I love that place. Can't hardly stay out of there. I probably spend less than $8k a year in there, but they treat me like a stockholder. I know a lot of the local staff by name, and they usually alert me when there are "non-stock" items on sale.

scott kinninger
03-08-2007, 3:00 PM
If you want bad service go the the Farm and Fleet in my town! Not once have I ever been greeted or asked if I needed help with anything. Despite the fact that 4 employees are standing around the paint desk talking about whatever (the tool dept guy being one of them), no one will come to assist you unless you ask. I was standing in front of them by the locked cabinet that contains the router bits for at least 5 minutes but they just keep talking away. I USED to love that store.

My Home Depot is full of people that greet you in the aisle, but my number one choice is Menards for just about anything other than real tools.

James Carmichael
03-08-2007, 3:06 PM
I think its pretty much on the money, no pun intended.

I've commented for years if I were CEO of HD, I would either A). Get rid of the stationary power tools, except for maybe the cheap benchtop stuff. They've got to be expensive to keep in inventory and nobody in-store knows anything about them or B.) Start pushing them at select stores by putting on WW clinics, even hire a Nahum or Bob Vila type to go around and plug em, especially now sing HD has its own brand.

It used to be inexperienced DIYers could get some good help there, but now it's hard to find someone who even knows what they have. Lowes isn't much better. We're remodeling our bedrom and LOML decided she wanted to retexture the walls. Some yahoo at Lowes sold her two gallons of a super-goopy texture paint for a 250 sf room with 10' ceilings at $30 per (they told her that would be enough). I nearly had a heart attack. For what she was wanting to do, it would have taken at least 8-gallons of that designer goop, when all we needed were a couple 40-lb bags of texture mix, $8.50 each at the BORG.

Hmm, come to think, the money I saved us on the texture should justify the fence I need for my TS fence;)

"Michael Hinkel"
03-08-2007, 3:40 PM
With everyone about these experiences, all of them seem to happen at different stores at different times, it seems like a cycle. Right now for me its

Local new Ace, if money isn't an issue but time is. They are competitve on a lot of stuff. but not always,Ace, plumb. access panel=18$ Lowes=9$

Lowes comes next for the opposite reason also new store.

Local dealer for floor model machinery.

Web for most tools.

Local Wood dealer for most lumber.

For good help I ask on these forums. Can't beat the price and very little wait time

Ever since I asked 2 older/my age? sales people, that were standing talking with each other, for an air filter for my compressor and one said no gots and the other said there over here, I haven,t been back to HD

Ted Miller
03-08-2007, 4:09 PM
Its funny, I am close to 300 lbs and have been into bodybuilding for over 28 years and I am no strongman but I can push some weights around. When I am at HD and loading up a cart with sheetrock, boards or plywood one of the employees always asks if I need help. Then other times I will see some woman struggling to handle something large and I will help her. Just like when I am at the grocery store and the bagging girl asks if I need help to my car, I tell her smiling, "I will carry my groceries, cart and you to my car, but thank you I can handle it"...

Bob Spare
03-08-2007, 4:41 PM
Go here to read a great article re: HD

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215

Dont have Ace hardware.

HD & Lowes 2 miles side by side from me. Both Suck.

Menards is short of personal same as every body else,
but they seem to have the better pricing. Have to drive 5 miles. If I need small item go the close ones, or build a list to make one trip to Menards.

Many times I like to be left alone, and work on my own solutions, as opposed to "Can I help you" knowing full will they dont know the answer either.

Brad Townsend
03-08-2007, 5:52 PM
Brad,

Glad to hear they provide good service where you are. In my experience, Ace is the worst. I pass by 4 Ace stores to get to Lowe's. In our local Ace, the only person you can ever get to help you is the owner's daughter, who really has no experience in hardware or home improvement. The "experts" who work there are too busy discussing their own projects, or the weather, or whatever. I've never had any problems like that at Lowe's. I'll get off my soap box now. No offense intended towards anyone, that's just been my experience. Actually Keel, I rarely go to Ace myself. Just thought the article was interesting. When I really need service, I go a locally owned hardware in my area (Nicholson Hardware in Rockford, IL) that does a huge business with the trades, primarily because the service is so good.

Scott Vigder
03-08-2007, 9:03 PM
I went to buy a power push lawn mower. HD had a nice selection and a knowledgable sales person.

Lowes had a display of mowers on the highest rack where you couldn't even touch them. I asked the sales person how they expected me to plunk $600 on a mower I couldn't even feel before deciding I liked it, and he just shrugged.

My local LawnBoy dealer made me an offer I couldn't refuse, so I went the all-American small business route instead.

I do the same for all my lumber purchases, plywood, and supplies.

Laurie Brown
03-08-2007, 9:23 PM
It's not just home improvement stores, either. This corporate attitude of cutting staff, cutting knowledge, and putting the burden on the customer seems to be running rampant everywhere.

Just last week I was in Krogers (A grocery store chain for those who don't have them) doing my monthly grocery shopping. It was 9am on a Monday. I had over $100 worth of groceries in my cart, probably over 300 pounds worth of stuff, and I get to the checkouts to pay for my items. There is ONE register open, staffed with two people (a cashier and a bagger), and it's the '20 items or less' express lane. I stodd there and pointedly looked around to see if there were any other registers open, not wanting to plug up the express lane with my larger order, but there was no one.

So I wheel up to the express lane with my cart (at the time I was the only customer at the checkouts). The cashier says to me, "You can't come through this lane, you have to use the U-Scan." Excuse me? I'm supposed to do the cashier's job and scan and bag 300 pounds worth of groceries (for no pay of course) myself so that he can stand there and do nothing because he's running the express register?

I put my items on the register and said, "I will be happy to go to another register if someone is going to open one, but if not, you're it." In my view, it's easier for someone with a few items to use the U-Scan than someone with a whole cart load. If they were only going to have ONE friggin register open, why not make it a REGULAR one, so people with more than 20 items can get checked out?? ARGH, I hate Kroger!

Don Bullock
03-08-2007, 11:45 PM
I fully agree with the article. Customer service has really taken a dive at Home Depot and Lowe's as well. I hate the "self-check out." Maybe I'm too ald fashioned (or perhaps just too old), but I like working with "real people." I find myself avoiding Home Depot and Lowes' in favor of a smaller chain we have called Do-It Center. Lately they have been getting a lot of my money.

Karl Knoernschild
03-09-2007, 12:22 AM
Lowes just opened a store five minutes from here, and it's great. Their business hasn't really picked up yet, so the employees get REALLY bored. They practically chase me down the aisles trying to help. If you just roll your cart past the registers, there's two or three asking hopefully if you're ready to check out yet.

I have always preferred Lowes to HD since they started opening stores locally. I've had a couple of really bad experiences at Home Depot, so I avoid them whenever possible.

Pete Brown
03-09-2007, 12:59 AM
I put my items on the register and said, "I will be happy to go to another register if someone is going to open one, but if not, you're it." In my view, it's easier for someone with a few items to use the U-Scan than someone with a whole cart load. If they were only going to have ONE friggin register open, why not make it a REGULAR one, so people with more than 20 items can get checked out?? ARGH, I hate Kroger!

I totally agree, Laurie

My first job was bagging groceries for $3.15 an hour. Somone else can bag mine now, and I'm definitely not ringing my own crap up. :)

The home depot near me has those stupid automated checkouts as well. Unfortunately, the weight scanner in that always seems to be wrong. The front desk person there was off chatting with someone in front of paint when it gave me a hard time (no other registers open). I finally had to yell "a little help please!" and they had the nerve to look at me as though I was a problem. :eek:

I rarely ask employees at HD and Lowes for anything. About the only time I ever need anything is in checkout. As far as tool selection, they both stink. I drive an hour up to Cayce (Rockler affiliate store) for any real tool purchases, or order online.

That all being said, I own a house, and I must visit these stores about once a week to get some odd thing :)

Pete

Tim Wagner
03-09-2007, 2:37 AM
staffing issues is all about maximizing profits soly for big corprate CEO's and it's share holders. nothing else, never gonna change.

CEO says- my stock that i get at set price isn't enough for me. go out and sell High profit items. If you can't consistantly upsell each ticket by more than 20% you WIll be replaced.

Edit: I should add that I wasn't exactly refferring Too HD or Lowes, but the general practice is the same with all big Corparates.

Rob Will
03-09-2007, 2:38 AM
I'm a regular Lowe's customer but have recently been buying hardware items at an old established Ace Hardware store. I think they are enjoying kicking the new Borg's butt.

I was looking for 1/4' x 1" countersunk machine screws. Our Lowes sells them only in individual plastic packages. Believe it or not, Lowes gets 90 cents each:eek: ........our local Ace Hardware has a whole bin-full of the little critters for 12 cents apiece.

Rob

Dan Owen
03-09-2007, 4:06 AM
Costco is just as bad. I refuse to pay a store $50 just to walk through their doors and even worse, I refuse to be treated like shoplifter when leaving. ( They ask for your receipt and inventory your cart)

Randy Acton
03-09-2007, 5:38 AM
I have been to every Lowes and Home Depot within a 50 mile radius of my home. Over the past few years things have changed between the 2 of them.

Initially home depot had the best customer service but that has changed. I used to be able to walk into home depot and was annoyed at how many employees asked if they could help. Now it is hard to find anyone. Lowe's on the other hand always seems to have someone ther when I need them.

That being said, the biggest difference I see between them is that HD seems to be more geared to the contractor and Lowe's more geared to DIY crowd. Which may be why you see more help in the Lowe's stores.

Not sure if you have them in your area but Menard's in Michigan rocks, they blow away the other two.

Karl Laustrup
03-09-2007, 9:04 AM
I've resisted commenting in this thread long enough.

I must agree with all that have chimed in about service at just about any of the big box stores. Service has been compromised at these places for the purpose of the bottom line over a period of several years now. All for the sake of the stock holders but I think, mostly for the upper echelon of corporate officers.

In the beginning, as service was compromised and selection was reduced, the powers that be [PTB] saw that there was a marked increase in profits. More money for the stock holders, but even more money for the PTB's. So they kept cutting. It's not the person working in the store's fault and yet we take it out on them to an extent. Who do we complain to? Really, no one, because the PTB's have insulated themselves from the everyday worker, to include the store managers and in many cases the regional managers.

Now, with business down and more importantly profits down, they sit and place blame on everything and everyone but, themselves. And they can't understand what went wrong. I'd like to suggest they go into one of their stores, not as the PTB, but as the average person and see if they like the service, selection and quality of what they have brought on to themselves.

Oh wait, they don't have to worry about shopping at a store such as they run, because they are paid such outrageous salaries and bonuses that they wouldn't be caught dead shopping in a place where the peons shop. Personally, I don't think there is any person that's worth the outrageous saleries and bonuses they are paid.

Who's to blame? Well, we are really. Or, we have been. We have accepted the shoddy service, in some cases inferior product and limited selection offered by the big box stores. We are also to blame if we own stock in these companies and expect record dividends every year or don't demand of the Board of Directors to bring compensation of the officers of a company back to reality. And get rid of the "Golden Parachute". Do any of us get a bonus for doing a bad job? If I did, I'd be sitting pretty now without any financial worries.

I've wanted to write to these PTB's on many occasions however, the odds of something critical of the way they run the business they've been entrusted with, making it to the right person's desk is astronomical. And if it did it would be dismissed as just one disgruntled customer, not to worry we've got millions of customers to feed our greed.

Do I shop at the big boxes. Yes! Because I have little choice. It's either HD or Menards [I'll take Menards any day, and it's privately owned and while not perfect, at least customer service is something they understand] or very small hardware stores.

Well, I've wasted enough of your time reading this, but I do feel better getting it off my chest.

That's my $1.398 worth of opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

Karl

John W. Willis
03-09-2007, 9:54 AM
Go to planetfeedback.com and search for HD complaints, it's an eye opener.

Pete Brown
03-09-2007, 10:49 AM
Costco is just as bad. I refuse to pay a store $50 just to walk through their doors and even worse, I refuse to be treated like shoplifter when leaving. ( They ask for your receipt and inventory your cart)

The inspection on the way out was one of the main things that made us stop shopping at WalMart several years ago. I agree with you 100%

Pete

Laurie Brown
03-09-2007, 10:51 AM
Costco is just as bad. I refuse to pay a store $50 just to walk through their doors and even worse, I refuse to be treated like shoplifter when leaving. ( They ask for your receipt and inventory your cart)

Sam's Club does that here. It's $35 to join I think. I get my membership free through my hubby's workplace, or I probably wouldn't pay for one. I only go there to get the items I need in bulk that are cheaper than Krogers. Things like toilet paper, paper towels, cat litter, etc. They apparently don't trust their employees at the register either. If they ring up every item in my cart, there shouldn't be any reason to inventory me at the door.

Rod Upfold
03-09-2007, 10:55 AM
HD Forum...


Direct link to another forum deleted - TOS Violation

Rod Upfold
03-09-2007, 10:58 AM
Had a URL about HD...

Laurie Brown
03-09-2007, 10:59 AM
We really don't have much choice around here, either. The Ace Hardwares we had went out of business when HD and Lowes moved in, and now we have 3 Lowes and I think 2 HDs in the area. We have one Woodcraft store, a couple of Southern States some drive away, and as far as I know, that's it.

As far as HD and Lowes go, in my experience nobody knows anything in either store when I have questions. Sometimes they try to LOOK like they know something, and guess at the answer. So I basically look online with my questions BEFORE I hit the stores to buy things. There are usually more employees in Lowes than HD, and I know for a fact they are paid slightly more at Lowes. I will usually go to Lowes first to find what I want, and if they don't have it I go to HD just down the street. But HD usually has it at a slightly higher price IF they have it at all, and there's usually nobody around to help you there. The HD parking lot is usually pretty empty, while the Lowes lot is usually pretty full, so it wouldn't surprise me if the HD closes up eventually.

Laurie Brown
03-09-2007, 11:13 AM
HD Forum...



Have you looked at that Forum? It may be INTEDNDED for use as a HD discussion area, but there's everything but in there. That place is a prime example of why Guest-level members should not get posting priviledges.

Ted Miller
03-09-2007, 11:27 AM
HD Forum...


Wow, some real genuises on that forum, what a waste of bandwidth...

Joe Jensen
03-09-2007, 11:44 AM
Go here to read a great article re: HD

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215

I'd have to strongly agree with the article. Maybe there is regional variabiliy. The stores in the East valley in the Phoenix area are pathetic. 20 years ago, the Home Depot was awesome. They had at least one experienced tradesperson on staff in each department at all times. Go to the plumbing section, ask a question, and a guy or gal with 20 years of experience as a plumber would answer your question. And, there were always a couple of people on duty in each department at all times. I'd estimate that "on duty" staffing at our local store back then was may 30 people. Today it's 6 (I asked). When you have a question, it takes 5-10 minutes to find someone "from that department" as a worker from any other department is likely to tell you. The thing that chaps me the most is how their "high runner" products are continually out of stock. A couple of months ago I needed some irrigation pipe. Nothing special, standard 3/4" schedule 40 plastic pipe. They were out. I've walked by at least 10 times in that couple of months, and most of the time they are out of stock. I've gone there to buy some standard thing and found none on the shelf. I hunt down an elusive worker to see if any are on the "top rack". Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I've had the more helpful check inventory at other stores. More than once I drive to the store with inventory only to find them out of stock as well. They are now putting red tags for the high volume products on the shelf, and when you walk around the store a large percentage of the spaces with red tags are empty. Here's a free suggestion, "you already know which products are high runners, you've marked them. Get a clue and inventory more". The second biggest waste of time is looking for help, the biggest is wasting the time to go there and come home empty handed...joe

Joe Jensen
03-09-2007, 11:47 AM
It's not just home improvement stores, either. This corporate attitude of cutting staff, cutting knowledge, and putting the burden on the customer seems to be running rampant everywhere.

Just last week I was in Krogers (A grocery store chain for those who don't have them) doing my monthly grocery shopping. It was 9am on a Monday. I had over $100 worth of groceries in my cart, probably over 300 pounds worth of stuff, and I get to the checkouts to pay for my items. There is ONE register open, staffed with two people (a cashier and a bagger), and it's the '20 items or less' express lane. I stodd there and pointedly looked around to see if there were any other registers open, not wanting to plug up the express lane with my larger order, but there was no one.

So I wheel up to the express lane with my cart (at the time I was the only customer at the checkouts). The cashier says to me, "You can't come through this lane, you have to use the U-Scan." Excuse me? I'm supposed to do the cashier's job and scan and bag 300 pounds worth of groceries (for no pay of course) myself so that he can stand there and do nothing because he's running the express register?

I put my items on the register and said, "I will be happy to go to another register if someone is going to open one, but if not, you're it." In my view, it's easier for someone with a few items to use the U-Scan than someone with a whole cart load. If they were only going to have ONE friggin register open, why not make it a REGULAR one, so people with more than 20 items can get checked out?? ARGH, I hate Kroger!

I think we are all guilty. I try to buy where I get the best prices. Almost all consumers chase the best prices, but with low prices come scarce and useless workers. I've started making an exception, and I buy from the local woodcraft store when possible because they are staffed with knowledgable, friendly woodworkers as staff.

I say, stop shopping where the stores have lost touch with consumer support...joe

Tim Wagner
03-09-2007, 11:51 AM
Have you looked at that Forum? It may be INTEDNDED for use as a HD discussion area, but there's everything but in there. That place is a prime example of why Guest-level members should not get posting priviledges.

your correct. that is the worst forum i have ever seen. extreamly unprofessional.

Laurie Brown
03-09-2007, 3:05 PM
I think we are all guilty. I try to buy where I get the best prices. Almost all consumers chase the best prices, but with low prices come scarce and useless workers. I've started making an exception, and I buy from the local woodcraft store when possible because they are staffed with knowledgable, friendly woodworkers as staff.

I say, stop shopping where the stores have lost touch with consumer support...joe

That's a great idea... when we have a choice. Around here, for groceries you have Kroger, Food Lion, and Wal Mart to choose from. For home improvement, it's Lowes and Home Depot. Our Woodcraft store is fairly small. They stock some tools, a small assortment of wood, etc. If I need tools or bits I will go there. But most of the time I go to Lowes because that's the only place I can find what I need for a project.

And their websites, both HD and Lowes, are virtually worthless. About 90% of the time I search for ANYTHING on either site, it comes up with no results. Do a search for 'veneer' and what do you get? Vernier caliper! That's close, right? Uhhh.....

James Carmichael
03-09-2007, 4:21 PM
I can't come close to reading all of the replies on this post, but I do have to defend the big boxes to some degree:

You are essentially trading service for price. If you know what you want, you can typically get it at a better price. I pretty well outfitted my "shop" from HD and Lowes clearances that have included some incredible bargains (Ridigd BS, Jointer, & Planer for a total of about $550, all new except one demo unit.)

I have found myself springing to their defense on another WW forum where I get my sale tips when members would P&M about the service when they were trying to buy a closeout item. They have more important and profitable things to do than cater to a bunch of hobbyists who only patronize them when they're practically giving tools away. If you want service and expertise, go to a specialty store.

I have mixed feelings about the Walmartizing of retail. Like everything else, it comes with a benefit and a cost.

Ted Miller
03-09-2007, 5:49 PM
James, I agree with you 100%. I go to HD maybe 2 times per week, I know what I need and have no problem. Prices blow all other vendors away but like I said I do not buy power tools there unless they are on sale. WC and Rockler stores are only a few miles from me, but they have the highest prices on tools and everything else. Amazon is the way to go unless I find that tool on eBay with decent shipping cost...

Michael Childs
03-10-2007, 11:54 AM
I'll buy paint, sand paper, sanding disks, small stuff at Home Depot because the savings are huge compared to a local hardware (Ace) store. Stnding in line forever with a load of plywood and lumber that I have to throw into the truck myself - no. And Heaven help you if the barcode is missing. Figure another 20 minutes in line and the guilt of seeing the line behind you grow longer and longer while someone figures out what to charge me. There are two large lumber/hardware stores that cater to contractors and home owners who will lug everything out and into the vehicles. They get most of my business.

Ron Kellison
03-10-2007, 12:53 PM
I retired in 2003 from the Canadian telecom industry after 30 years. I had paid into a defined benefit indexed pension plan for all that time, and a 65% pension meant that I didn't have to work unless I wanted to. I have been an avid woodworker for most of my life, and took advantage of all my newfound free time to work part time for Lee Valley Tools. Great company, great products, great service! However, I grew tired of getting up at 6 AM and driving 20 minutes to work! There is an HD that is 10 minutes by bike and 3 minutes by car from my house. The manager in the hardware dept. told me that they were looking for someone who knew what they were doing, and I agreed to work part-time for no more than 20 hours per week. Any guess as to what they were willing to pay for someone who knew their way around tools and hardware...$8.50 per hour. I worked there for 18 months, and won Sales Associate of the Month 5 times. I was making $9.25 per hour when I left, and when offered a job helping a startup software company I left. I was close to leaving anyway for the following reasons: I was being asked to work 40 hours a week whether I wanted to or not, and I was entitled to 1 (one!) weekend day off per month. The store managers were not allowed to hire more staff, and no one was allowed to work overtime. There was never enough staff on hand, and quite often I would be the only one working in hardware. If a customer asked for help in another area, I was required to leave my department and go with them back to carpets, appliances, plumbing or electrical and stay with them until someone from that department was available to help them. You guessed it...sometimes the associate from that department would be taking someone to hardware to answer questions about wall fasteners and had to stay there until I returned! I can tell you that most of the store managers are as frustrated as any of the customers. They hate the directives to push useless warranties, HD credit cards and the latest bulk buys of junk made by Great Neck, Ryobi and other captive HD manufacturers. They also know that if they ever want to be promoted, it will be because they meet whatever financial targets are given them e.g., how many times per month they meet a $60 average sales receipt target rather than because they improved customer service. When I started my new position, I found the things I enjoyed most were being able to sit down while I had a cup of coffee, and having my weekends off! FWIW, I still go into the store frequently and, more often than not, I end up helping other customers. I've even had hardware associates and cashiers come up to me and ask if I knew where something was located! Regards, Ron

Gary Breckenridge
03-10-2007, 2:19 PM
:mad: Let me see...the CEO gets fired and walks away with a $1/4 billion :eek: severance package. Where did that money come from? It came from pinched pennies at every store, bare bones staff, lack of training marginal cleaning and self check outs. I like a sense of mutual loyalty where I shop and HD is the exception. I even dumped my Home Depot stock.:(

Dennis Reardon
03-10-2007, 2:44 PM
Locally......HD has changed.[/quote]


Of course EAGLE HARDWARE predates both HD and LOWES here. When Eagle first opened it was incredible. Lots of folks with lots of experience, of course you had to wait your turn, but that wait was usually short. Eventually LOWES took over the Eagle store. What killed me was the same day I read the legal announcement in the newspaper about Lowes taking over; one of the local T.V. stations ran a piece on all the fired Eagle employees. Essentially service dissappeared overnght. Then when HD moved in across the street, the service and selection became even worse! So bad in fact that locally the joke is that the name Lowes is really an acronym for "Little Of What Eagle Sold".

My current toy store of preference is Spokane Power Tool. Locally owned full of well trained long time employees that know exactly what you are asking about sell you the correct tools needed along with pleasant conversation and smiles. For lumber I go to the local yard just down the road. Same story as with Spokane Power Tool, excellent service and staff.

The moral of the story is probably true anywhere in the U.S. SUPPORT YOU LOCAL OWNED BUISNESSES

Whew that was quite a rant eh!

Gerry Musson
03-10-2007, 5:53 PM
Couldn't agree more with the article and most times my trips to the BORG are a test of my time and patience. I must relate, however, that today was an exception.

Needed some flooring and as per usual what I wanted was not on the shelf. Had to serach done an "associate" who "not being from the department" could not help me. He did get someone in a reasonable time. That person explained the item was probably special order. I insured him it was not there was just none on the shelf.

This is where the story changes from what normally happens to me. He checked inventory and found there was some but wasn't quite sure where it was. Said if I could wait a few minutes he would look for it. This is where they normally disappear for 15-20 minutes then comeback to say there isn't any after all...but not today. Not only was he back with the product in less than 5 minutes , he loaded it on the cart and apologized for the wait.

I thanked him for the service and told him it was the best experience I had in along time.

Afterwords I joked with my buddy who was with me that he probably hadn't been subjected to the training program yet or we would never had seen him return.:D:D