The Home Despot takes a turn for the worse.

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I'm in HD's home town and have watched them for quite some time.
I've noticed that HD is going through a new phase. They had been going through one of being more friendly but not any better otherwise.
Now they seem indifferent, event resentful of taking time out to help customers. Department Managers would rather not be bothered, no one seems to care.
It's gotten intolerable to get anything done in a HD. Now, that isn't all stores, but most.
I think they are subcontracting out some kind of customer service management and this has destroyed what little company spirit the employees had.
At any rate, from my view, it looks like a death spiral. Anyone else notice this?
I went to a Lowes today and immediately felt better. I'm just about out of patience with the Despot.
Jeff
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I've got one up the street, closer than any other lumber/tool source. That means they have to be pretty bad to not be the place I go to get something. If I am driving the gas gulping van, any other store starts serious gas dollars evaporating. I've got a friend whose son works in a remodeling center, and he's talked about "it" a lot. "It" is the tremendous slowdown in real estate. Home Depot (and every other "home" related industry) followed the real estate market into the crapper. People are terrified of losing their job, and the best way to do that is to have no negative customer interactions, or at least that's what some workers believe. So they hide from customers. There's also no advancement except through attrition and no one's retiring the way they used to. HD has always had lower margins than Lowe's, so they probably have less money lying around to weather the storm.

I'll ask my friend. Policies are not nationwide or even statewide, IIRC.

Since my nearest Lowe's is 15 miles away through nasty traffic and the HD three block and next to the pharmacy AND the grocery store, it's still going to be where I do most shopping for home stuff. I agree wholeheartedly about the look and feel, though.
In Lowe's, I can get a handicapped scooter almost every visit, without question. When my foot was in a cast, it was a big deal for them to find the scooter and deploy it, and it was never fully charged. The last time I used a scooter in HD, it only worked in reverse! So yes, there's been so obvious and distressing deterioration. I think they've also been giving away 35 million dollar severance packages to their failed CEO's in a process known in financial circles as a "Loot n' Scoot."
In HD, I bring my own small scooter (much more of a hassle and far less load capacity both on the scooter and in the van). When I have a big list, a scooter is a godsend and HD loses out on those $400-600 trips where I get all the things I need before a major project starts. Plus the items that I really didn't need that were on sale and I could stock up on. It's HD's loss. Even WallyWorld's got a fleet of scooters and mostly no waiting for mostly functioning units. Mostly. Great fun can be had by asking a greeter to find one. "I can't leave my post!!!!!" Wally's like the Army. They offer employment for people with certain distinct characteristics who might not find jobs elsewhere in the economy.
The counterbalance is that HD's sale price on the refrigerator I just bought was lower than Lowe's non-sale price. I tend to shop HD when I am looking to save a buck on big ticket items but it's very likely I just think HD is better because they are closer and I can get to their sales incidentally, not via special trip.
I did have to ask 4 associates to find someone to *sell* me the refrigerator, but I didn't mind because it gave me more time to look over the unit before I bought. The Internet had the box even cheaper, but I've been (badly) surprised by a big ticket net item so I'm back to insisting on touching and feeling what I buy. Sure, I could go *back* to the internet and buy it after kicking the tires at HD, but the person who sold the unit really looked like she needed that job.
-- Bobby G.
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On 9/3/2010 1:23 AM, Jeff Thies wrote:

Home Depot, and other retailers, would do a great service for their customers if they simply were able to stop their employees chatting with one another causing them to ignore the customer.
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On 9/3/2010 7:50 AM, Pointer wrote:

Reality is that big box employees that make $8/hr with crappy benefits are only going to deliver a baseline amount of service no matter how often they sing the company song in the training room.
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If you think money will buy service I think you're mistaken. Throwing money at a problem rarely solves anything.
Jim
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Money may not buy service, directly, but it can buy a better class of employee.
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On 9/3/2010 2:04 PM, keith wrote:

Absolutely.
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On 9/3/2010 12:56 PM, JimT wrote:

Actually that is proven to be true through years of employer/employee relationships with one big condition. That is once a person achieves a moderate wage allowing them to live additional pay is typically not a motivator. But an "associate" at Home Depot/Wallmart/wherever officially means someone has achieved official poverty status.
And big box places love to tout "see, we aren't a crappy employer...we just built the Smithville store and 999 people showed up looking for work". But that doesn't mean anything. We changed over to a service economy. At one time most store jobs were short term for people on the road to something else. The something else was typically manufacturing but manufacturing has disappeared. So now folks need to depend on retail jobs as a long term job. But there are a lot more people than jobs.
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wrote:

And the "walmartization" of retail has meant that some 80%+ of retail jobs are PART TIME, with NO BENEFITS. - and close to minimum wage.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The walmartization of the retail, indeed many other forms of commerce, is a direct result of what the market wants. We don't want to pay the extra money for quality or service, so we don't get it. I think Pogo got it right: "We have met the enemy and he is us".
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WalMart has, for better or worse depending on your point of view, provided what the public wanted at a price they wanted to pay. They have been successful at what they do which is play on the economies of scale along with the maximum in automation and the minimum in pay. As long as we, the consumer, is happy with the outcome and continue to shop there they will continue to be successful. The same holds for the loss of US manufacturing. The consumer has spoken and they aren't willing to pay additional for US made goods when there is no price or quality benefit to be seen. From the Corporations standpoint, its all about survival and they will do what they have to do in order to survive.
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Jeff Thies wrote:

Nope, quite the opposite, actually. I was looking at light bulbs last week, and I got accosted by no less than three orange vests trying to interact with me. Such a monumental purchasing decision, looking at light bulbs, I'm surprised they didn't have to call up Bob Vila himself to come and give me a helping hand.
Now I know I'm an incredibly good-looking guy, and people tend to always want to bask in the glow of my beauty, but sheesh, *light bulbs*?
Jon
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On Sep 3, 7:41am, "Jon Danniken"

I have spent a lot of time recently at several Home Depot stores in the area and my experience has been very similar to yours. It seems that the moment I walk in the door they are like a swarm of ants, crawling all over me. While I appreciate the service I am very concerned that it stems from a fear that each of them have over loosing their job and they are trying to make sure they are not the next on the chopping block. From what I could see, their fears my very well be justified by the small number of customers compared to employees at any given time. I sometimes take my lunch hour to pickup supplies from a Home Depot near my office, other times I stop at one on the way home and on weekends alternate between two Home Depot stores almost equal distance from my house. I frequent a fifth store next door to the nearest Rockler woodworkers store. All of the stores seem to be in the same situation, more employees than customers at any given time and that includes during the week and on weekends.
On the opposite end of the scale, the local Lowes's stores seem to operate at times without any employees and getting help with anything can seem almost impossible. They didn't have any more customers than the Home Depot stores with very few employees and those employees didn't seem to care if they helped you or not...if you could find one.
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BobR wrote:

lol, "swarm of ants" describes exactly what happens sometimes. Personally, I am of the opinion that customers should be left to their own devices unless and until they actually ask for help. Tidy the shelves, look busy, but stay out of people's business unless they need you.
This was the way a trip to the hardware store has always been, and while I do realize that bored housewives/househusbands might appreciate the handholding, it shouldn't be all that hard to train the help to recognize the difference.
Jon
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On Sep 3, 12:20pm, "Jon Danniken"

What I love is the place that mobs you at the door when you come in but can't be found anywhere when you really need something.
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Probably because the person at the front of the store is part of the loss control department and the people working the departments get charged to the departments. Easiest way in the world for a department manager to improve profitability is to reduce labor costs.
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Do the "department managers" have control over their labor costs? My son was "manager" of a software store. As the store manager he had no control over labor costs. That was all done at the district level (where they didn't have a clue). I wouldn't expect staffing decisions to be made at the department level in a HD, rather at the store manager level, with a *lot* of direction from above.
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On Fri, 03 Sep 2010 10:20:23 -0700, Jon Danniken wrote:

Most of the time I go into a store, I'm either just looking around or can find what I want easier than I can explain it. In either of those cases, I'd rather not be bothered with "can I help you?". Of course, it's nice to have someone you can ask when you need to.
BTW, that's even you know just what you want but don't know what to CALL it, such as "where are those bent metal things with screws you can use to stop hose leaks?" (hose clamps).

--
113 days until The winter celebration (Saturday December 25, 2010
12:00:00 AM).
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

And 'ya know, sometimes you don't know what those thingamajigs are until you just "hang out" for a few minutes, quietly, and take stock of what kind of parts they have. I wouldn't know half of what I know if I didn't have the opportunity to just look at things and make a mental note of their construction and/or purpose.
Maybe it's just me, but I used to find a lot of entertainment as a boy perusing the shelves of the local (wooden floored) hardware store.
Jon
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On 9/4/2010 12:18 AM, Jon Danniken wrote:

It ain't just you- it runs in my family as well, and probably for most of the regulars on here too. Even now as a grownup, I can waste way too much time hanging out in hardware/tool aisles, like a kid in a toy store.
--
aem sends...

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