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Home Depot vs. "Real store"

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on 12/30/2008 11:23 AM (ET) snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote the following:

Really? Do they get their living expenses and profit from welfare or something? No wonder they are going out of business.

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Mom and Pop own the Mom and Pop business, Einstein. They don't draw a salary or pay themselves hourly wages. Profit from the store pays their living expenses.
Because they don't draw a salary or pay themselves hourly wages, it doesn't cost them a bit more to "staff" the store until 7PM as it does to "staff" it only until 5PM.
The local Mom & Pop appliance store doesn't seem to have a problem being open until 8:30PM on weeknights or until 6PM on Saturdays... I needed a new clothes dryer because the 25-year-old one in my house blew up Sunday night. It was great walking in there at 8PM, picking out a dryer, and supporting a local business. The sales staff is a little "old school" and dry on personality, but they didn't look down their noses at me or give me crap for showing up so close to closing time or call me stupid for choosing the wrong dryer. It's a rare case of a local business doing the right things to stay competitive, and it's working for them.
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on 12/30/2008 12:41 PM (ET) snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote the following:

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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On Dec 30, 11:23 am, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Wow! Based on this post and your earlier one, you must have some pretty crappy "mom and pop" stores in your area. I wouldn't shop there either if they treated me like you make it sound.
Lucky for me, and many others in my area, we get treated with respect and we get help from knowledgeable staff. That must be why these stores are still in business, even with their limited hours. That must be why the same store names keep coming up when people ask "Where do you get your plumbing/electrical/whatever supplies?"
Here's a perfect example: I just ordered a part from a local appliance parts store for my washer. I'll keep going back to them every time because of the way I, a DIY homeowner, not an appliance repair business, get treated. A few weeks ago I troubleshot my dryer and stopped in to order the part I thought I needed. The woman behind the counter asked me (nicely) why I thought it was that part. When I described the symptoms, she suggested a different - and cheaper - part which was more likely the cause. Turns out she was right. I guess in your part of town I would have been laughed at, sneered at, and probably sold the wrong part so I would have to go back and buy more. Of course, I had to pick the part up before 5 on a weekday.
BTW – this is the same store that suggested I buy a sheet of Microwave waveguide cover material instead of the single piece cover sold by part number for my specific oven. That has saved me both time and money.
When I went to real window store to buy windows, the installation process was explained to me in detail, with no laughter or sneers. The guy even suggested that I install the first window during his work hours so I could call him if I had any questions. "Once you do one, you'll sail through the rest." Guess who I'm going back to when I replace my front door in the spring?
Consider this: Maybe what you want to do *is* stupid, or maybe you're just too sensitive. Why would anyone give you dirty looks and aggravated sneers when you are in their place of business to spend money? Where I live, they offer suggestions meant to help so that you'll come back and spend more money with them. I don’t live my life thinking that I know all the answers and I don’t mind asking for help when I need it.
Regardless of whether it's you or your location that causes you to get the laughs and sneers, if you're ever up in my neck of the woods I'll take you to some locally owned businesses where they treat their customers with respect and are willing to help you complete your projects - because they truly care if you come back, not like the borgs where volume is all that matters.
Gotta go now - I need to call the parts counter at a mom and pop lighting store to see if they carry a twin-breaker to fit my panel. I seriously doubt that they'll laugh at me.
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wrote:

Wow! Based on this post and your earlier one, you must have some pretty crappy "mom and pop" stores in your area. I wouldn't shop there either if they treated me like you make it sound.
Lucky for me, and many others in my area, we get treated with respect and we get help from knowledgeable staff. That must be why these stores are still in business, even with their limited hours. That must be why the same store names keep coming up when people ask "Where do you get your plumbing/electrical/whatever supplies?"
Here's a perfect example: I just ordered a part from a local appliance parts store for my washer. I'll keep going back to them every time because of the way I, a DIY homeowner, not an appliance repair business, get treated. A few weeks ago I troubleshot my dryer and stopped in to order the part I thought I needed. The woman behind the counter asked me (nicely) why I thought it was that part. When I described the symptoms, she suggested a different - and cheaper - part which was more likely the cause. Turns out she was right. I guess in your part of town I would have been laughed at, sneered at, and probably sold the wrong part so I would have to go back and buy more. Of course, I had to pick the part up before 5 on a weekday.
BTW – this is the same store that suggested I buy a sheet of Microwave waveguide cover material instead of the single piece cover sold by part number for my specific oven. That has saved me both time and money.
When I went to real window store to buy windows, the installation process was explained to me in detail, with no laughter or sneers. The guy even suggested that I install the first window during his work hours so I could call him if I had any questions. "Once you do one, you'll sail through the rest." Guess who I'm going back to when I replace my front door in the spring?
Consider this: Maybe what you want to do *is* stupid, or maybe you're just too sensitive. Why would anyone give you dirty looks and aggravated sneers when you are in their place of business to spend money? Where I live, they offer suggestions meant to help so that you'll come back and spend more money with them. I don’t live my life thinking that I know all the answers and I don’t mind asking for help when I need it.
Regardless of whether it's you or your location that causes you to get the laughs and sneers, if you're ever up in my neck of the woods I'll take you to some locally owned businesses where they treat their customers with respect and are willing to help you complete your projects - because they truly care if you come back, not like the borgs where volume is all that matters.
Gotta go now - I need to call the parts counter at a mom and pop lighting store to see if they carry a twin-breaker to fit my panel. I seriously doubt that they'll laugh at me.
Regardless of all the bullshit spread here if they ain't open they ain't gonna sell anything....It really is as simple as that....
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wrote:

I don't shop the mom and pop stores here. The items are covered with dust, their prices are the highest, and they close when I need them most (Fri night, Sat afternoon, and Sundays). There used to be a dumpy-looking woman working there years ago that seemed to know everything, but now she's been replaced with a young good-looking air-head valley girl. HD gets the customers, but there is a lot more worthless junk so shop carefully.
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Phisherman wrote:

to be open when their main customers, tradesmen, are starting THEIR day. DIY homeowners may come in half a dozen times a year. People that fix stuff for a living come in half a dozen times a week. Guess who brings more money in the door? Guess who needs less hand-holding?
-- aem sends...
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<snip>

I gotta give props where they're deserved...
Last night I drove 300 miles to my Dad's house in Chicopee MA to do some plumbing repairs at his and my sister's house. This morning my sister told me that she had heard that Larry's Heating Hardware & Plumbing Supply was pretty good. Open 7:30 to 5:30, Mon - Sat. Old place, wooden floors, dusty shelves and million parts. One of those "real stores" that some folks in this group have been bad mouthin'.
I needed a kitchen faucet, stems for a Kohler diverter, a tub spout and few other things. So my Dad and I head over to Larry's for our parts.
Jose greeted us with a smile and a hello as soon as we walked in. After showing him what we needed, here's the service we - just a couple of DIY homeowners who had never been in the store before - received:
Faucet: Jose opened 4 - 5 faucets so my dad could decide on one - no shrink-wrap like the borgs, you could actually touch the faucets and parts. Once we decided on the faucet and I described how the old one was in and what I wanted to change to make the installation easier, he went to all the right drawers and gave me all the fittings I needed, first try. "Need any solder or flux or anything like that?" "No thanks, all set."
Diverter Stems: Jose matched up the stems, opened the plastic bags, lubed up the O-rings and put them back in the bag. He reminded me to make sure I take the old washer and O-ring out of the bonnet nut before I install the new stems. "On those old Kohler nuts, you might not even notice the washer is in there."
Tub spout: Jose matched up the tub spout and asked me if I wanted him to remove the nipple from the one I had brought in. "Sure, Thanks!" He went into the back, removed the old nipple and wire-brushed the threads so they were shiny and new.
BTW...we weren't the only customers in the store. A few of the other workers were treating other customers - some of whom were obviously "professionals" - the same way we were being treated. It was apparent that you didn't need to be one of their regulars, or a cash-cow contractor, to get good service.
Yes, the borgs may be open to 10PM on weekdays, and even open on Sundays, but never have I been given service like I got at Larry's today. They've earned my business, and any other projects I do for my Dad will be planned around their hours of operation.
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re: "I don't shop the mom and pop stores here."
Keep in mind that this thread was mainly about HD vs. "real <whatever> stores". Many (myself included) have been interchanging (or including) "mom & pop stores" with "locally owned stores". Sometimes there's a difference, sometimes there's not.
In many cases, "locally owned" doesn't mean a grizzled old man and dumpy-looking woman behind the counter. It may be a franchise of a national company, such as the Norandex Reynolds where I bought my windows for considerably less than I would have paid at HD or Lowes. Sometimes it's a regional chain, like VP Supply in western NY where they have a plumbing parts counter in the back of The Bath Showroom, and sometimes it *is* a single store owned by an individual or a family.
I think the point was that in many, many cases you can get a better deal and better quality by going to a store that is dedicated to a specific "sector", such as a dedicated paint store, a lighting store with a electircal parts counter or a building supply house that doesn't sell everything from Ajax to snow blowers to electric fireplaces. Some of the real "mom and pop" stores may also have a specialty. We have a small hardware store whose claim to fame is plumbing supplies and another whose paint department rivals anything you'll find at the borgs.
Yes, the hours and locations of the borgs may make them a lot more convenient, but I don't mind the drive or the scheduling required to patronize the "dedicated stores" when shopping for my projects.
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"benick" wrote:

We have a local store, an ACE dealer, with a great selection of various items. The problem is that they are very insistent upon customer service, to the point where they compete to put their stickers (with their names on them) on any item you purchase.
Instead of peacefully fondling various items of interest, you are instead constantly getting your thoughts interrupted by 20-something kids insisting that you need "help".
To me, when I want help, I look for someone and ask for it. Otherwise, I like to be left alone.
I mostly shop at HD for this very reason, unless I am specifically getting something the other store carries, and then I leave promptly.
Jon
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

I notice a great price difference between two HD's 20 miles apart in different towns. The same goes for the availability of low priced items which are absent in the higher priced store.
A recent experience I had is I needed to replace the circulator on my wood boiler. Went to HD in local town, nothing under $100.00. Went to next town to Loews, nothing under $100.00 there either. But the HD in the same town as Loews had a model for $80.00 and another for $65.00. It they were quality pump makers.
I think the local managers can do pretty much what they want at HD.
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Van Chocstraw
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Many chain store tailor both the products and the prices to the local clientele. Last time I needed a circulator, it was $75 at HD and $45 at the local plumbing supply house.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

went down and he asked me about it. The circulator had failed. This guy is a total believer that big box is his buddy just like the marketing tells him so he immediately wants to drive 10 miles to hd. I asked him to check how much his friends at hd will sell it to him and he called and they wanted $70 for a Taco cartridge pump. We have a great mom & pop place that is 1/3 of the distance away. I called them and they wanted $49 for the same model.
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On 12/31/08 11:01 am George wrote:

It occurs to me that this *could* be because the mom and pop store has had this thing sitting on the shelf for a while, purchased when prices were lower. If HD sells more of them, the ones they have on the shelf could have been bought at a higher price.
So HD isn't *necessarily* out to screw you. It may just be how things happened at a particular time in a particular place.
I realize that there's a difference between groceries and hardware/electrical/plumbing, but I've read that mom and pop grocery stores often have to pay more for items than the local supermarket chain is selling them for -- and they can't just buy their stock from the supermarket instead of from the distributor because the supermarket often limits the quantities an individual customer can buy. (A long time ago, limiting quantities was illegal in South Australia, but I don't know whether it is anywhere else -- or even whether it still is in SA).
Perce
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The Homedepots around here will MATCH any local competitior...I've done it a couple of times...

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So why not just buy from the local guy in the first place and avoid the running around and price matching? Ask the HD manager why they don't have the lowest price from the start, just like the other guy.
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benick wrote:

better prices and often better quality at the local places.
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The reason you would do that is because, according to some posters, if you go to the local store you're going to get sneered at, laughed at, berated and trampled.
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The reason you would do that is because, according to some posters, if you go to the local store you're going to get sneered at, laughed at, berated and trampled.
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Thee may be a few of those stores still around, but most have come to their senses and appreciate anyone's business. OTOH, some customers still deserve that sneer. I know of an auto parts store where a well to do customer came in, asked for a part, paid, and then asked the clerk if he could do him a favor and install it. Happens more often than you think. Cheap SOB just did not want to pay a mechanic and did not want to get his hands dirty.
Others want the plumbing or electrical supply store to tell them what parts they need, how to do the job and how they can get a discount, all while the store is very busy with tradesmen trying to get supplies for a job they are working.
Go to the plumbing supply and know what you need and ask for it. If you buy 12 elbows, don't expect to get warm greetings when you return the two you did not use. And don't expect to get a course on how to solder.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Or I guess we could laugh at the folks required to do what my friend calls the "big box dance" running back and forth to match prices like they are on some reality show.
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