Lowes vs. Home Depot

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ng_reader wrote:

I prefer Lowes because no one at HD seems to know what exterior plywood is. I needed a couple of sheets of exterior, sanded BC ply, best they could come up with was "sheathing"...CDX. Guys at Lowes knew what exterior ply was, even knew it was marked with a different color on the ends. They also knew what "BC" meant.
Screw HD.
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Lowes has a better selection of items, is more likely to have them in stock, and carries better quality merchandise. For example, I only use stainelss steel hardware. Most Home Depot's have very little, if any, and charge $1 for a bag of 4 screws. Lowes whas a wide selection of stainless steel hardware, and I often go there to get their bags of metric stainless steel hardware to use on my car. You don't find the metric stainless steel at very many places. The wood is a higher grade at Lowes also.
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Funny this should come up since I am in the middle of a kitchen remodel and I have been doing pricing between the two stores emphatically.
And my conclusion - depends on the item, and sometimes it is significant. As a store I prefer Lowes, it is cleaner, brighter, easier to find items and easier to find assocaites (cut wire, bring down top stock items).
However here are a few of my recent pricing comparisons (I live in central Mass.)
Vinyl 34 x 41 double hung window: HD: $125 LW: $102
Copper ball valves w/waste: HD: $8.47 LW: $6.79
R-13 Roll Insulation HD: $10.78 / Owens Corning LW: $18.80 / Johns Manville This was CRAZY, same R value....more or less getting a role almost free by going with OC rolls.
2in Sofet Vents (bag of 6) HD: $8.50 (Plastic vents) LW: $6.40 (Metal Vents)
On and on the list goes. Some are not all that impressive (10ft lengths of copper being .40 cheaper a run at HD) but if you are in a big project and the distances are the same between stores it literally pays to know the prices.
That being said do not underestimate your local stores!
3Mil contractor bags I found for $5 cheaper a box from the local guy and this was my other mind blow, 250ft of 12-3 wire (no not stranded the real solid copper 4 line run) was $112. Where it was $80 from HD for 100ft. More then 50% less per ft!
-Mike-
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I only *wish* there was a Lowe's nearby. Only rencently Home Depot opened a store about 5 minutes away from my current home. I bought a house (only 9 yrs old but thoroughly trashed by previous owners) a couple of months ago and began interior remodeling.
Right away after I bought the house, I went to HD and ordered Mills Pride Cabinets (about $5k worth) and a Corian countertop (about $3k.) In the last 2 weeks alone I have spent over $15k at HD. Here's what I have got for my money:
I have had to repaint the house interior THREE TIMES because the Behr paint they sell is CRAP. (I will say that even Behr recognized the problem and is refunding the cost of the paint - but that doesn't address all my labor) Their "flat" paint is NOT flat, by the way; it's an eggshell, and their "Flat enamel" is a satin. Don't let the labels fool you.
My cabinet order was delayed (they are SUPPOSED to come in today - we'll see!) two weeks because HD is now discontinuing Mill's Pride and switching to a different cabinet company to replace them. Now the countertop contractor tells me they can't [won't] even "template" (a fancy word for measuring) my job for 3 weeks, and they tell me that they need ANOTHER 2-3weeks to fabricate. According to my HD contract (for the cabinets and countertop) this should all be DONE by September 20. I CLEARLY stated and made it a condition of sale, that all this would be done by the end of Sept. because I need to MOVE IN. Now I don't have kitchen countertops - HD called at this late date and said that they cannot supply them in time. Why couldn't they have told me this when I ordered everything??
Now what? My wife is in tears. I wish there was a Lowes nearby.
Jeff
Mike Plate wrote:

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On 09/07/06 11:01 am jeffreydesign wrote:

I find this report very strange, because HD was the only place that sold Mill's Pride, and if you go to the Mill's Pride Web site it still shows HD as the only place to buy their stuff.
Perce
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I can only go by what they told me at HD. I think they said the company that's replacing Mills Pride is RSA. They also said that Mills Pride should be available as "special order only" from here on out.
I did get my cabinets today, by the way. They must've weighed about 2 tons since my cargo trailer was riding on the axles.
-Jeff
Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

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jeffreydesign posted for all of us...

Where does it usually ride? The railroad?
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Tekkie "There\'s no such thing as a tool I don\'t need."

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On 09/07/06 03:16 pm Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

We now have a brand-new HD in our area, and indeed there is no sign of Mill's Pride.
Nevertheless, the MP Web site still links to HD.
I wonder whether it's a purely local thing. Perhaps HDs in poorer areas still have MP, while stores in more affluent areas do not.
Perce
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On Mon, 20 Nov 2006 14:01:32 -0500, "Percival P. Cassidy"

If it's only a week old, it ma y be that some of the products haven't come in yet. Well, the one that opened near me seemed to be fully stocked, but a very nice clerk said that not evwerything was in, and they spread out what they had to fill the shelves. I'm really not sure. I was looking for a particular glue, and it's been momnths now and their glue section looks like it did the first week.

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wrote:

I work at Home Depot, our store has switched from Mills Pride to Closemaid for storage...having said that you can still find certain Mills Pride cabinats in the "Millwork" aisle of Home Depot.
This does vary from store to store, or website to store. If you have a upc number for that product, any store can do a local search to find out if any close by Home Depots still carry that product.
Mark

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Home Depot stores are a mess in my area, and they're always out of stock of basic items. Hell, I went to buy a quart of satin f***ing polyurethane, and they were out. How can you be out of that?
My wife was going to buy me a tool belt for my birthday so I'd be more sexy. Home Depot's selection was dirty, dusty, mixed in the wrong bin, you couldn't tell what was what.
I've given up on Home Depot.
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ng_reader wrote:

Good thread. In my book, Loews wins on all counts. And I used to be a devout HD shopper.
I'm in the Portland/ Tigard Oregon area.
I suspect that a goodly art of folks reactions to either HD or Loews is a result of individual store managers and regional zone district management, and that there is no universal rule that fits all Loews and HDs everywhere.
That said, I have some observations that I think are in line with most comments here.
First, my eyes aren't the best in the world. I have some vision issues but hell, I'm 65 so thats to be expected. Bu my nearest Home Depot (Tigard, OR) is dingy. The lighting is bad. Its not comfortable on the eyes to shop there. Other HDs in Beaverton, and Sherwood, OR are almost as bad, but the Tigard HD is just dingy. By comparison, Tigard Loews is brighter. I can see well in the Loews.
Clutter is a parallel story. The HD store's aisles are badly cluttered far too often. The Loews aisles are wider and not a frequently cluttered, in my experience.
Second, there appears to me to be no uniformity to the internal layout of the HD stores. I am most used to the Tigard store and sort of "know" where each department is. If I'm out and about and am nearer the Beaverton HD or Sherwood HD stores, and don't want to make an extra trip to the Tigard HD, I can't find anything in the Beaverton of Sherwood HD stores. Each of those is set up internally differently from the Tigard store and differently from each other. Very frustrating and a wast of my time
I have only ever been to the one Loews store, so I don't know by personal experience if the Loews stores are internally organized in a uniform fashion.
In any event, even though the stores are on different sized and shaped plots of land, it strikes me that an effort should be made to have uniform internal layout. Easier on customers, and in the long run cheaper for operation, easier to transfer crews around and avoid some learning costs.
Third, self checkout. An abomination. I will not use it at HD or at any of the local grocery chains that use it around here. I ran a small professional service business before I hung up my cleats and retired. I never had a computer come in and engage my professional services. Only people. Whenever I have a choice, I'm going to get service from a person, not a machine. If the vendor doesn't give me that choice, I probably won't shop there at all. I think of it as "paying forward" when I deal with a human being. That human being is going to o out and spend her / his wages, maybe some of that with me. HDs computer isn't going to spend jack with me. I'm the same way at a bank when it comes to service by a teller vs. service by an ATM. (And with banks, though you are saving them operating costs when you use an ATM, the %$#^%&^%& banks charge you an extra fee for the dubious "convenience" of the ATM.) I guess you can just call me old fashioned.
Somewhere up thread, someone commented that self checkout was HDs way of transferring part of its operations costs to his precious time. That is absolutely correct. In addition, as bad as HDs pay for a cashier is, its still a job for a real live human being. Jobs, all jobs, are important.
Pricing used to be in favor of HD around here. They were usually about 10% lower overall on stuff than Loews. Here and there one item was more at HD, but the general trend here was HD was cheaper. Over the last 12 - 14 months it "feels" to me as if that has changed, with Loews being consistently cheaper than HD by about 5 %.
Quality of products. Live plant materials seem to me to be better at HD. I suspect thats a local issue dependent upon local wholesale nursery vendors. Lumber seems to be cheaper at Loews, but locally our Loews doesn't stock as many shapes and varieties of molding, chair rail, crown, baseboards. I generally try to get that at two local yards, "Elmo Studd's" (yes, thats the name) in Durham, OR, or another place who's name I can't remember, maybe McCoy's Lumber and Millwork, I think, in East Portland. I can drive you right there, but can't remember the name until see their sign.
Hardware, screws etc are over priced at both HD and Loews, and the selection is lousy. I get that stuff at Faulk Ace Hardware in Beaverton. Great selection and fabulous staff, they really really know their sock and their stuff.
Which brings us to staff. When the HD first opened here, what 12 - 15 years ago, their staff was uniformly excellent. Now, the HD staff is a joke. The Loews staff is almost, but not quite as bad. Loews still has a few competent folks in building materials. Neither has any competence in paint department. HD is ahead in the plumbing department if you get the right guy. Loews is ahead in the plumbing department, but only if you luck into the right guy. If the right guy is not on duty in either department, you are SOL.
Overall, consistently bad, bad service on the floor at the Tigard HD, and horror shows trying to check out with cartloads of "stuff" and the cashier not knowing how to ring up stuff which is advertised at a sale price, with the HD computer insisting on overcharging, and waiting 15 - 20 minutes for a "manager" to show up in response to a cashier's call for help has driven me the the local Loews. I have left several hundred dollars of stuff on carts at the Tigard HD and walked out and gone to Loews at least twice in the last year because of that. No, I don't think its childish. Last time, June 2006, was the last time I set foot in HD.
In my book, Loews wins. YMMV.
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Jim McLaughlin wrote:

Thats Loews ahead locally in plumbing department regarding staff, HD ahead locally in electrical regarding staff. Sorry about the brain fart,
If the right guy is not on

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<snip>

Hey, you *are* 65.
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On Wed, 6 Sep 2006 16:48:55 -0400, "ng_reader"

You'll have to try 'em both on for size and decide for yourself. I live in the Eastern burbs of Cleveland. The closest HD is about a mile away, the closest Lowes is much farther afield. I greatly prefer Lowes: much better selection of tools and accessories; employees are far more helpful and knowledgeable; never a long wait at the checkout. If all I need is a box of drywall screws, or a few light bulbs, I hold my nose and go to HD. If I need a big order of stuff, I head down the road to Lowes.
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giants
employees
The locals here have learned one thing about the stores.
(this is on stock items)
If you want it fast, go to Lowes. If you want it cheap, go to Homer.
I will never buy anything special order from them. Period. My customers ( and the NG readers) tell of horror stories about cabinets and special lighting, etc.
Mr Curious, which do you work for, HD or Lowes?
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on the contrary, my friend. neither.
my wonderment came in dollars and cents mostly. that's all.
admittedly, i tittered out loud over the bloke with the edger blades stacked all neat and tidy.
appreciate the information on the self-check out lanes. however, i will use them to speed things up.but i will feel *guiltier*
i love true hardware stores but they are all gone now, the big-box stores forced them out. pity, too, because the selection is poor and the price outrageous. what man can call himself a man and by buying hardware in a little plastic baggy hanging on a hook? embarrassing.
i will continue to use both. however, as a post-script, the HD that moved out of willow grove to go into willow grove to compete with Lowes, really, really messed up on egress. the new entrance is only accessible across from the turnpike exit. which, if you don't know what a turnpike is, that's a bad thing. that more than anything is going to keep me away.
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Finding the keyboard operational ng_reader entered:

It really depends on the individual store not the sign outside. If I am at work and need something that the local hardware doesn't have, I go to HD first, 2 miles. If it's under $10 and I can find it right away, I'm done. I have pretty much memorized the inventory so I can find it fast. Over $10 I can shop HD and then go 5 miles down the road to check Lowes. I can either buy it there or pickit up on the way back. If I am comparing the first thing I do is go online and shop there. Sometimes I through in Sears for a laugh. Then I head for the winner. The reall difference comes when shoppig from home. If the local hardware/lumber doesn't have it or is out of line pricewise, I head to HD. The local one is in a predominatly Spainish speaking area. I have never not been greeted with a sincere smile and never had any trouble getting help. It might be in broken English but we get the job done. None of the HDs have the "secure" tool area but the Lowes does. I have never had a big problem with the self checkout, in fact I prefer it. And I have never had more then a glance and a check mark from the loss prevention guy. Guss I'm just one lucky sot. Bob
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