The other day SWMBO says to me "I'd like those Bordeaux colored
shutters that I saw at Lowes."
So I take the new shutters over to the paint counter and asked for a
quart of matching paint for the trim. The guy in the red vest tries to
find the color Bordeaux in his computer. No go. He tries a couple of
paint chips but nothing matches. He tries to hold the 48" shutters up
to the little tiny color matching computer lens - the resulting
formula is not even close. "Sorry, I don't think I can match it."
I drive down the road to a local paint store and bring the shutters
in. The guy behind the counter grabs a keychain full of little
miniature shutters and finds one that's fairly close. "Let's start
with this and we'll tweak it from there." He mixes the formula found
on the back of the mini-shutter, brings it over and declares it "too
purple". A couple of drops of this and that and he hits it perfect on
the next try.
When I told him what happened at Lowes he said the computers don't
work very well with dark colors and the guys behind the counter are
too lazy to try and match the paint manually. Guess where I'm going
the next time I need paint?
As a general rule, always go to a specialty store if you're going to
need help or advice on anything.
Lowe's and Home Depot are useful for supplies when you know exactly
what you need, can go in, load up your cart and get out with as little
interaction with employees as possible. They're usually hiding from
I had absolutely no problem at HD, getting a can of Kilz white exterior
latex glossy to match the previous can of the exact same thing. :-) The
paint expert was very helpful when he said "yeah it's down that aisle
I live where a Home Depot and Lowe's are almost across the street from
one another, and I haven't been to Lowe's in over a year because they
made a pricing mistake on every other visit, and their employees were
a lot less informed and less available. For example, I needed a
window air conditioner one July, and it took three Lowe's employees to
find them in their store. OTOH when I needed an odd electrical item,
a Home Depot employee who worked in a completely different department
told me exactly where to find it, not only the aisle but how far from
the end and how high above the floor.
BTW at a place like Home Depot, if you have a complex problem try to
find an employee who doesn't smile because that person is probably a
contractor working part time. At one of their stores that meant the
lighting dept. was staffed by an electrical engineer who testing
lighting at UL.
That would likely be the best estimate of an EE testing lighting at UL
who had to moonlight at HD... :)
In a similar vein, the local TV news obligatory blurb from the CR "lab"
test a couple of nights ago was on CF bulbs. A very carefully staged
clip showed the "trained professional engineer" in his white lab coat
and carrying the clipboard "testing" these bulbs by turning the lamp
switch on and off in succession going down the lineup... :)
Oh, and it ended w/ the technical feat of unscrewing a bulb and
carefully replacing it w/ another while wearing cotton gloves...
Changing a light bulb is too dangerous for the average person, and anyone
attempting to do such an activity is, by definition, irresponsible. Call a
professional when you need a job like this done, and call the police to
report anyone attempting to circumvent light bulb changing laws.
Wow, youre experiences are exactly the opposite of mine. I live near
two HD's and going to either is a pointless exercise. After asking
three different people where to find something you usually give up and
just drive the extra 20 miles to Lowe's and wonder why you bothered in
the first place.
Thats my experience at HD, I had to cut my own wire last night, I only
needed 20 feet and didn't want to buy a 500 foot roll at todays copper
prices. All the floor people were hiding from customers, as usual
(Frankfort Illinois store). I was scolded by the checkout lady when I
told her "20 feet at .20 cents a foot", of couse she didn't trust me,
so she had to call the guy to verify the .20, then she proceeded
untaping the wire and actually measured it across the floor, of course
it was 20 feet. At my old hardware store the guy would give you
something then tell you what to tell the cashier up front "just tell
her it's .50 cents a foot" or whatever. Then I needed some faucet
hoses, I had to explain to the clerk that HD's faucet hoses were not
really stainless braid, but rather they are cheap nylon braid made
silver to fool DIY people into thinking they were stainless braid. I
said no deal and bought the hoses at Menards, they are all stainless
there, no cheap crap. HD is going downhill, I know because I've been
going there since it's inception.
Sounds like you are describing Sunnyvale. I was eagerly awaiting
the opening of the Sunnyvale Lowes, because I thought that HD would
get some real competition. But they were such complete idiots that
I vowed to never go back there again. Yes! Worse than the worst
I don't know about the lack of a smile, but I have found the quality of
HD employees to be quite variable. Many are the usual "don't care" types,
and a few are very good and competent. You kind of wonder why they are there.
You get what you pay for (most of the time). You were a customer with
highly specific needs, and you should go to a higher-priced store to
get the attention you wanted.
Of course, you'd be a knucklehead to go to that same place for a can
of standard-color paint that you can easily find on one of the
gazillions of paint sample cards at Lowes.
The primary benefit of Depot / Lowe's is their longer hours. Your local
Sherman Williams store isn't typically open when you find you need paint
at 9pm. Of course better project planning generally eliminates those
I would be a fool then. With the automatic discount that I
get at the real paint stores, plus the higher quality paint
that I get, I come out ahead every time. Plus, it only takes
a minute or two unless I come in when there are alot of
customers. Even then, it is usually MUCH faster than the big
box stores. So I save money AND time. I guess I am just a
fool for economy.
The real fools are the ones that think that Home Depot and
Lowes are cheaper.
They're the fools who don't put any value at all on their own time. Do it
right the first time, and you have more hours to spend with your family, go
fishing, or just sit in the yard watching the clouds go by. When I bought my
first house, I was fortunate enough to have a hardware store two blocks
away. The owner and his wife knew how to fix every damned thing, from
plaster to electrical to plumbing to painting. I'd walk in, learn something,
buy the right thing the first time, and be done with the job fast. They'd
introduce my kid to the store's official cat and keep him busy while I
concentrated on hardware.
Those places still exist, but in a nation of idiots, advertising is king,
and too many people never find their local hardware store because Home
Depot's ads are bigger and more frequent.
I'm lucky enough to have one of those close by. I walk in and tell
the owner what I'm trying to do and he wanders back into the dark
cluttered aisles and returns with exactly what I need along with good
explanations and advice.
Maybe his mark up is higher than Lowe's. It's not worth it to check.
Peace of mind is priceless.
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