Is Home Depot shafting shoppers? "Home Depot is a consistent abuser of its customers' time."

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You can't really expect to have choices in a small town.
Don't know about hardware stores, but my home town of 50,000 had 3 lunch counters, only one nice place for dinner, and a Dairy Queen.
It had one high school.
If you had too many stores, it woudn't be a small town. :)
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Sorry to hear about your experience with Menards. I have probably purchased over $100K from them in the past 10 years. They continually surprise me with their knowledge and their "depth of stock", especially in engineered lumber products. They never surprise me with their prices, which are nearly always way better than Lowe's or Home Desperate. Better still, here they honor "pocket peelers" - A 10% off coupon booklet for Home Depot.
Hopefully things will improve for you. Be careful what you wish for, though. Lowes or Home Depot won't be the answer...
JK
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I work for Home Depot, and the article is correct. The dickhead who just left the company ( Nardelli) made his quarterly numbers by cutting costs anywhwere he could....and "store Hours" was a major point of cutting. Every store is given a budget of "man hours" they can spend in any given week (based on prior sales, time of year, time of day etc)...and particularly on week days that means entire departments without coverage by at least one employee. Often you have one guy covering two departments...like appliances and plumbing. Right now - weekdays in the winter - HD is at its lowest hourly store budget. And that means customer service is at its worst. The founders built the chain on that knowledgeable service. Bob Nardelli trashed it in just a few short years. The interesting thing though is how many customers come in complaining about Lowe's (and their corporate flagship store is right across the street). Lowe's pay less, hires young kids who don't know their ass from their elbow, and who actually turn and walk the other way when they see a customer coming. I hear that story 10 times a week. Bottom line is that you can't tar either chain with a single brush. Reagrdless of corporate policies, every store is different and each one a reflection of what that store manager feels is most important. Some stress customer service and some stress paint cans perfectly aligned. Some place HD wins and some Lowes. But the customer always has the final word. My 2 cents worth.
Stephen Blackpool wrote:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1 15
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Any idea what HD pays their managers?

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On Sat, 10 Mar 2007 12:01:45 -0500, curmudgeon
I really like that. I'm trying to learn how to do my soup cans at home.
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wrote:

How about one of those laser things for installing things nice & level? You could buy one at Home Despot.
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I didn't know paint cans had stress...who's going to pay for the therapy? Oh man....just another thing....
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wrote:

[snip]
There are two market forces at work. One is that many a homeowner prefers the convenience of going to one store to find what they need for their household projects as opposed to going to three, four, five different places. Two is a large-scale retailer is often positioned to undercut the prices of smaller, locally-owned stores - e.g., Wal-Mart killing the small businesses across America.
This trend towards fewer employees as a way of saving the company money is nothing new: Macy's was doing in back in the early 1990s when I was a manager there. The belief is the customer doesn't want employee help and the staff is the easiest place to cut overhead costs. I know a salesperson who, when Macy's converted their employees from commission to hourly pay went from making an equivalet of $13/ hour commission to an hourly rate of $8.25/hour. He left pretty quickly, as did most other competent salespeople.
What HD, Macy's and myriad other large retailers fail to understand is many customers will not even notice slightly higher-than-average prices if they get exceptional customer service from well-trained, knowledgable staff. It's what keeps places like Nordstrom and the Men's Warehouse and other clothing retailers in business. And it's what will set apart local hardware stores from the big box places.
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Put my vote for the store doing it right.
Their only reason for existence in this world is to turn a profit.
There is little profit in a box store hiring employees to answer dumb consumer questions. Let the consumer hire a professional to train them.
I'm on home depots side in this battle.
On 9 Mar 2007 11:08:37 -0800, "Stephen Blackpool"

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Deke wrote:

But what about the extensive spin they do that all of their employees are experts waiting for us to pull into the parking lot?
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wrote:

Heh. Well some people do expect a free consultation with half a dozen different professionals -- architect, plumber, electrician, tiler etc.
I don't expect that from HD or Lowes but I do get mightily pissed when I can't find anyone in the store who can tell me where they've hidden the XYZ widgets. And if I have to wait 15 mins in line at the checkout.
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Dumb questions? How about a young person who needs to know how to hang a painting on a masonry wall, and nobody at HD has a clue? These are basic things their employees should know. What's the customer supposed to do? Hire a mason to answer his/her question about the appropriate hardware?
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On Sun, 11 Mar 2007 21:49:28 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

Absolutely NOT.
Hire a minimum wage high school drop out and then take the money saved and increase the shareholder dividends.
The young person with the question needs to go the local hardware store and pay for the answers to his questions.
There ain't no free lunch and we are a capitalist country so don't begrudge our stores a profit.
.
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Buy the time-life book over toward the checkout?
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Bob Nardelli's inaugural initiative five years ago was to do just that. Within few months we lost our top tier floor associates..... these were well paid folks with the best product knowledge.... we were awash in part-timers/short-timers just as the biggest housing boom in U.S. history was hitting the fan, and our stock performed appropriately by tanking. That was a massive mistake.
Home Depot DID NOT take care of it's shareholders any better than it took care of it's loyal customers or loyal associates.
Six months from now I hope you all see big changes. We got a new boss and he ain't like the old boss.
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On 12 Mar 2007 18:27:40 -0700, "Stephen Blackpool"

I'm sure that there is some happy medium that would maximize profit and long term growth. In other words, keep a few- but not too many.
Good luck with your new boss.
Hint: For all big box stores, Kiosk? with location info need to be installed for the idiot customers who are too lazy to look around for their gadgets.
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.....where the handful of screws will be so close in price to HD's that the young person won't even notice. And the project will be done in 1/2 hour, the right way, the first time.
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I used to like the Home Depot stores also, but after I started going down to the stores looking for sale items from the weekly flyer and finding that they would have to raincheck or special order almost everything that I was looking for I just started going down to Lowe's with the home depot flyer for a price match because they actually had the items in stock. I expect with the housing slowdown Home Depot will start to feel the pinch and eventually go the route of the old HQ Wearhouse chain. Some people will say no way but when you see them starting to scale back on employees then it won't be long before they start shutting down less productive stores but they won't call it that they will call it consolidation of market area. I'm quite happy with the service I get at my Lowe's store people are always asking me if I need help and assisting me with my purchase. Lowe's seems to have their act togeather by actually providing what you want when you need it. Home Depot just puts out commercials.
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The man's got class.
http://moneycentral.msn.com/community/message/thread.asp?board=YourMoney&ThreadId "3248&BoardName=Hide&header=SearchOnly&Footer=Show&LinkTarget=_parent&pagestyle=money1&ForumId&BoardsParam=Page%3D322
I'm Frank Blake, the new CEO for The Home Depot. I've read a number of the postings on the MSN message board (unfortunately, there were a lot of them), and we've dispatched a dedicated task force - working directly with me - that is ready and willing to address each and every issue raised on this board. Please give us the chance.
There's no way I can express how sorry I am for all of the stories you shared. I recognize that many of you were loyal and dedicated shoppers of The Home Depot ... and we let you down. That's unacceptable. Customers are our company's lifeblood - and the sole reason we have been able to build such a successful company is because of your support. The only way we're going to continue to be successful is by regaining your trust and confidence ... and we will do that.
We've already taken steps to cure many of the ills discussed on this message board:
* We will be and already are increasing our staffing in the stores.
* We're also in the early stages of launching a nationwide program to recruit and hire skilled master tradespeople to staff our stores so that our customers receive the kind of service and expertise that made The Home Depot great.
* We're investing significantly in the appearance of our stores to make them an easier and more fun place to shop.
* And we're making it clear to all our associates that nothing is more important than you, the customer. Every associate knows that his or her number one job is to make you smile and to help you solve your home improvement problem ... no matter how big or how small.
But the real judge of all of these changes we're making is you. All I ask is that you please give us the opportunity to win you back. When you enter our stores, you should receive a personal greeting. After that, you should encounter a helpful associate who will walk you to find the tools, material or service you need. If you don't, please let us know ... just like Scott Burns did.
I'd like to thank Scott - his column about our company was insightful and revealing. You can easily tell that it struck a nerve with me. Scott, we'll do all in our power to again make The Home Depot the store you and your wife, Carolyn, once referred to as "our store." I'd also like to give my thanks to the many people who posted comments on this board. We want them. We need them ... to enable us to keep getting better. We're committed to being the company that helped set the standard for customer service excellence in home improvement. Please continue to hold us accountable.
Finally, message boards of this type do not allow us to respond directly to each poster, so please give us the chance to fix the many issues discussed on this board by writing to snipped-for-privacy@homedepot.com. You have my personal assurance that every effort will be made to address your concerns.
The Home Depot was built on great customer service, and we will rebuild on that tradition - just give us the chance!
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Huh? Saying, "I'm sorry you got screwed, but things are different now! From now on, we will use condoms and KY Jelly!"
They blew it big time, and I hope they go down the tube.
I need stuff, and tomorrow, I'm going to Lowe's. Now I don't even consider Home Depot. Hell, Ace is better than Home Depot, and Ace is getting bad, too.
Steve
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