Home Depot's Inventory Control Problem

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I used to take great joy in visiting HD, but over the past year it has become a frustrating experience. (I live in MA.) Every time I need something these days, they are out os stock, and I'm not talking slow-moving stuff, I'm talking basics like 3/4" copper elbows! They tell me they can't order when they need something these days, but receive stuff only when the home office tells them they need it! The other day, they only had ONE model of hedge trimmer in stock in the Worcester store, so I went to Lowe's. No problem finding HedgeHogs there. Anybody else seeing this? One other observation: If an item can be found at both Wal*Mart and HD, Walmart usually steps all over HD on price. I'm starting to dread going to HD. Frank
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HD is based here in Atlanta, so the local media gives them a fair amount of coverage. Some of the things which have come out in the last few years is that the folks at the corporate office have more or less taken the power away from the stores. Once upon a time, the store managers had a lot of latitude on what to stock, how to price it, etc. Today, virtually all of that is controlled at the corporate level. In addition, it has become much easier to get a job in one of the stores because the company has moved away from hiring experts for the respective departments (i.e. someone with plumbing experience in the plumbing dept.). While HD hasn't devolved into *just another retail store*, it isn't nearly as service and customer oriented as it was a few years back.
The bottom line is that HD isn't what it used to be, although I still prefer it to Lowes and (uggh) Wal-mart.
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That is basically what I have heard. I wonder how many customers, though, have gotten as upset as I have over it. A couple of key questions: (1) Why do you prefer HD to Lowe's? (2) Why does *everybody* hate Wal*Mart?
On Thu, 17 Aug 2006 21:45:11 -0400, "Kyle Boatright"

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I hate Wal-Mart for two reasons:
1) Ever since Sam Walton died, all items are no longer made in USA. Not only is the store depressing prices and local economies, Wal-Mart is contributing to the trade deficit. Whereas before it was a local problem, it's now nationwide.
Sound "liberal"? Listen to #2.
2) I work for a major Fortune 500 company that has a huge packaging department. Our box suppliers (my vendors) are forced to do business with Wal-Mart because they dominate many portions of commercial logistics. If they don't deal with Wal-Mart, they can't compete. However, Wal-mart demands such low prices from these box companies, the margins leave nothing for re-investment. International Paper, for example, owes a portion of its crushing debt to Wal-Mart, and the company may not survive. My company is facing higher prices and worse service because these companies are finding it difficult to grow.
So the bleeding-heart aspects of hating Wal-Mart are beginning to be eclipsed by a growing, similar undercurrent in the business world.
These guys are assholes to deal with, too. Try navigating the Byzantine rules of selling anything in their store.
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I have read that Walmart's presence in the economy in essence raises disposable personal income by .9% due to its low prices relative to other retailers. Aside from the low wages they pay their employees, nobody ever seems to mention the way in which Walmart benefits low income consumers overall. Your comments, however, are most informative and accurate I am sure. Our differences are examples of why there is such heated debate on the relative merits of this company.
wrote:

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Go to any walmart where there is a certain population near the 1st of the month and see how crowded it is.
frank1492 wrote:

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I saw a documentary where Walmart gets 2-3 manufacture's reps in an room and forces them to bid against one another down to the penny. They almost destroyed Rubbermaid because the cost of raw materials went up and they wouldn't renegotiate; Wall mart almost destroyed them. They don't treat their employees much better either. There were allegations where they made the employees punch out and forced them to continue working. Nice bunch of folks. Ron

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Sister in law works at a WalMart. The "associates" were just told that all wages are frozen as the company is opening two new stores in the area. What's this, they can't tap their investors or profits for the money to do that; they have to get the money off the backs of their present employees. When she was off work because of cancer surgery, the store told her she had to come back before the doctor recommended or they were going to give her job to someone else. She begged the doctor for an early release. Then when she couldn't handle carrying tires and batteries from the back room for the mechanics to install, she asked her supervisor for a transfer to a position that didn't require the heavy lifting. He told her he had an opening unloading trucks....when she broke down in tears, he said "I was just kidding". Insensitive clod or maybe typical of management at WalMart. A fellow employee asked her once where her husband was at the moment and she said that he was at a union meeting (works somewhere else). Her supervisor overheard and called her into his office and told her that she couldn't use that word (union) in the store and that he was supposed to write her up for doing so but wasn't going to "this" time. What a place to work....I can't believe the job market is so bad that people feel they have to put up with that kind of crap.
Tom G.
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If you dont like it at walmart- LEAVE!!! Walmart has the best prices and good selection. They help paychecks go farther. Retail jobs are supposed to be done by teens who realize how bad they are, go to college and get a good paying job.
Tom G wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@backpacker.com wrote:

Even you gotta know that this is going to change once there are no alternatives. They can treat their employees the way they do because they employ people with few alternatives. What do you think is going to happen when the shoppers have no alternative?
Dave
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When walmart no longer offers consumers what they want , walmart will go the way of Bradlees, Steinbachs, Two Guys, Caldor, and every other retail corp that went bankrupt. Someone will take its place. Home Depot grew because they were far better than mom & pop hardware stores with low prices and great selection. The retail environment is not set in stone. Once a business no longer serves a purpose it changes or fails. Look at GM. They thought that Americans would buy American out of loyalty but years of turning out crap has killed them along with the lazy overpaid union workers they employ. Toyota, Subaru etc can pay an extra 50Cents for a switch or part because labor is lower cost w/o unions. Guess what the part lasts longer giving the brand a reputation for quality
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

As dynamic as the US economy is, I'm amazed that people think this is the scenario we face. Most items that are sold at Walmart can be found at Kmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Costco, Sams Club, local super market, etc. History has tought that it's more likely a new business model or competitor will be the undoing of giants like Walmart. Anyone remember what's happened to companies like IBM and GM?
As for their employees, they are free to find jobs elsewhere. With unemployment under 5%, jobs are available for those that want them.
I'm a frequent shopper at Walmart and find that they have good products at favorable prices. All they are doing is competing in today's world economy, that they don't control.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote in part:

5% unemployment means that 5% of those who are either working or looking for work are doing the latter. That 5% does not count those not looking for work.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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says...

And just why do you think that those *NOT* looking for work should be counted as "employed". Sheesh, you libs are nutz!
--
Keith

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wrote in part:

But it does include those that only want a very specific job and salary range and won't consider a career change of any sort. If you happen to be a shoemaker, steam locomotive builder or assembler of 5 1/4" floppy disks, chances are you have a long wait to find one that will put food on the table and offer 4 weeks vacation.
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On Sun, 20 Aug 2006 22:28:52 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

...and how many more who work, are paid off the books, but collect unemployment?
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On Sun, 20 Aug 2006 22:28:52 +0000 (UTC), with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) quickly quoth:

Atta Boy, Trader4. Your post echoes my sentiments and I, too, am a WalMart shopper. I find lots of US-made items at Wally World and they keep hundreds (if not thousands) of American companies in business. Those companies can choose NOT to sell to Wally if they want. (I don't want my products there at a 3% markup. ;)

Those who aren't employed and aren't looking for work _aren't_ unemployed, Don. If they can live with that, why worry? It's their choice.
-- The Smart Person learns from his mistakes. The Wise Person learns from the mistakes of others. And then there are all the rest of us... ----------------------------------------------------- www.diversify.com -- Wisearse Website Design
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If the shoppers ultimately have no alternative, that's the best of all possible worlds. That means that no one can offer better prices, better selection, better service, or any of the other reasons people choose to shop where they do.
Wal-Mart does not exist for the convenience of its employees. The employees may have few or no alternatives, but how is that Wal-Mart's fault? And why should Wal-Mart undertake to "solve" a "problem" it did not create?
Fact is, Wal-Mart provides a path of upward mobility that these employees never had before. Some significant percentage of store managers started as backroom or floor employees and advanced within the company.
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On 08/18/06 07:38 am snipped-for-privacy@backpacker.com wrote:

Silly me! Here was I thinking that retail stores were supposed to be staffed by qualified, well-motivated people who know what the store sells, where to find it, and whether that is what truly meets the customer's needs.
If retailers are going to employ unmotivated people who know nothing about the products (which is not the same as saying that they are idiots), then maybe retailers will simply disappear as more and more people buy from amazon.com or buy.com.
Perce
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On Fri, 18 Aug 2006 11:08:34 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"

It a thing of the past because Joe Beer Chucker has grown complacent and expects unqualified, non-motivated brain dead turnips to be working at these box outlets. Instead of demanding anything better, Joe Sixpact just sluffs it off and keeps on coming back for more.
It use to be "America gets what America Wants", now it's "America Gets what America lays down and Complacently Tolerates".
Regards,
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