I was minding my own business some weeks ago, when I saw this nifty
cheap belt-sander by Black & Decker. I knew it would never have the duty
of my PC's, but it had one feature which attracted me to it. A very
small front roller. with a flip-up door so that one can get into small
tight corners. I felt I could use that feature sporadically so the
'duty' didn't concern me too much.
I take the thing home and leave it in the box till the time came I could
use that feature; the inside corner of a counter-top edge. ( Did I tell
you guys I fabricate solid surface counter tops?)
Well lemme tell ya...what a piece of crap. MUCH worse than what I
expected. I KNEW it wasn't a 'pro' piece, but come-ON!!
The thing shuddered, and sounded like the bearings were spinning,
screaming and howling..... I went: "Uh-oh!" and stuck it back in the box.
I took it back to HD with my complaint.....they didn't want to refund
the 98 Can$ (About 70 US$), they wanted to send it for repairs...because
I was 10 days 'overdue' of the 30-day allowable return period. I was
even willing to replace it with a small belt-sander from another make
and pay a little extra if I had to...but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
A Big deal? Not really, I guess, but unless I get some satisfaction, and
soon, the boycott is on and I will never set foot in that store again...
and I can be one stubborn Dutchman when I want to be.
They want to hang a business relationship on 98 dollars or a '10-day'
technicality...then so be it.
Error. What would it take to plug it in and pull the trigger?
If 10 days is OK, then 12 is too. If 12 days is OK, then 18 is too. If 18
days is OK, then 30 is too. Why not just make it 5 years and be done with
it. The 18 year old at the return desk does not have much discretion in
interpeting corporate policy.
Posted policy, not a technicality.
I'm surprised at you. With all your experience, you know B&D is low end,
you knew the HD policy was 30 days, you've been in business for a long time,
now you want special treatment. I really think you have to take
responsibility for some of this for not checking it beforehand. They did
offer to send it for repairs.
Sorry for the lack of sympathy, but I just happen to disagree on this.
Amen. Companies deal with all kinds of fraud yet everybody thinks they
should never be suspected. Heck, they offered to have it repaired.
Plus, we can't see how "used" it was. Perhaps they thought, my God,
this guy used the heck out of this machine, is finished with it, and
now wants us to eat it.
Calm down. I am a contractor here in Texas, and with few alternatives,
I have to shop at HD for a lot of my every day stuff. Liquid nails,
paint, sealer, a few boards here and there, plumbing, etc.
I used to scream like a mashed cat when I would go through what you
have, but the reality of it all is something you have already hit on.
They HONESTLY don't care. Shame on you for not checking out a POS like
B&D the first chance you got, but I DO understand that you buy
something like that and it does take a while for you to get it to the
job and try it, and a few more days to get by the store to return it.
They are a giant corporation. One size has to fit all. All rules must
be obseved the same for all shapes, sizes, sexes, races, etc. for fear
or litigation. Or worse, to have some asst. manager nitwit start
"interpreting" the rules as he or she sees fit.
You have to realize the nature of the beast you are dealing with.
They are what they are. They are a giant corporation moving units
through the system. They could be selling farm implements for all they
You must have an entirely different type of HD up there in CA. Why in
the world did you think they gave a crap in the first place?
I have read many of your posts and don't believe that you still believe
in the Easter bunny or Santa ;), so why the big orange box fairy?
Don't shop there. I don't unless I am trapped into it. They are not
worth getting my blood pressure on boil because they are too stupid in
most cases to even know that they <should> care.
As a CONTRACTOR (read: constant, repeat, daily business) I am on your
side. As a realist, I think you are taking this much to personally.
After 24 years in business I will not boycott a supplier that could
save me time (= money) when they are so unconscious they simply don't
even notice, and wouldn't care if they did.
Ummmmm....what are you saying? Huh? Huh?
Sears has better customer relations than these clowns. That is saying
I repeat that I had NO expectations from B&D beyond the
'less-than-medium-duty' market niche they cater to. That's still no
excuse for a non-functioning device to be on their shelves, something
they are ultimately accountable for. To then hide behind a
"you-want-fries-with-that' grade policy simply sucks.
It is hit-and-run marketing. I won't be part of it...and sometimes it is
an event like this which sheds some light on the fact that HD is, in
fact, an arrogant organization.
Funny thing, I bought an air-conditioner for my shop at Canadian Tire
the same afternoon. That chain is notoriously understaffed and the few
that do work there, do so at minimum wage. So I expect lousy
service...guess what? I GOT lousy service... but I shrugged it off,
knowing where I was and what to expect.
I'm done with HD. For now.
No excuse, certainly - but a possible (maybe even *probable*) explanation:
that wasn't a new tool. Somebody *else* already used it and returned it, and
the guys at the HD return desk just packed it up and put it back on the shelf.
Wouldn't be the first time that's happened...
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt.
And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
I don't mind the despot. As others have mentioned they are great for nails
and cable and quickie supplies etc.
I don't buy power tools from them.
I had forgotten to include an air compressor on a recent order when
purchasing tools for a bunch of construction I have to do around here. I
headed down to the despot to pick one up figuring it's just an air
compressor. Looked at what they had and picked one that was a bit bigger
than I wanted but was the closest fit. They had the display model, bolted
to a turntable type thing. They had one completely in the open, no box at
all. They had one in an open box. I asked one of the clerks to confirm
that the one in the open box had everything that came with it. (Getting
that clerk took about 10 minutes) His reply: How should I know? He also
made a comment (somewhat under his breath) that this is the way that large
retail hardware/lumber outlets operate.
I thanked him and left.
One the flip side of the despot I recently ordered a bunch of kitchen
cabinets from them. I had substantially done the design but the kitchen
design consultant that I worked with there was as good as anyone I've ever
worked with. Knew her software, knew her cabinetry, was a pleasure to work
with. Same thing goes for the guy I ordered some doors from.
And as one more flip side I recently needed a spade wrench. They have these
behind locked bars. The plumbing guy was helping out an older lady trying
to replumb her sink or something. It probably would have been quicker if he
had just gone to her house and done the job. I'm standing there waiting for
a point where I can politely break in... and waiting.. and waiting...
Finally I just interrupted and said look.. I need a tool that's locked up..
can you just take 15 seconds and get it for me. Yeah.. he can do that. He
walks over to the disply.. gives the bars a tug and slips his hand up
underneath and grabs the wrench. Sneering at me while he's doing it... as
if I'm too much on an idiot to figure out how to defeat their anti-theft
display. Somehow I think that if that same clerk had caught me doing that
I'd of been asked wtf I was doing.
So, like most places it has it's good points and it's bad points, and the
people involved have a lot to do with making them one way or another.
Yes, I have experienced buying someone else's returns. I expect brand new
sealed in the box when I buy at full price. If I have a return, it goes back
pristine, with everything the way I found it. If I return a defective item,
I write with a felt marker the words "defective" right on the side of the
item, so that they cannot sell it to someone else, or back to me.
Home Depot and the other big boxes have by and large, become a joke.
I am returning to the local merchants for most of my non marine stuff.
Just yesterday, needed a 2", foil faced, rigid insulation board.
Started at H/D because they we closest, they no longer carry the product.
Next was a brand new Lowes, they had 1" but not 2" board.
Next was a lumber yard that has been around since 1884.
They had what I needed and the price was in line.
That's nice. The problem, however, is that the knowledgeable 'local
merchant' is becoming an extinct species.
There are several reasons why . . . and I think you already know most of
One would think that in this day and age they had done that for me at
the end of the assembly line. Basic quality control is not a new idea. I
have reason to believe that a new tool will work. No? I know B&D is not
high-end, but it should at least do the job it is supposed to do, no?
You can't tell me that outright garbage is okay for the other customers
who have NOT had the exposure to quality gear?
I'm approaching this from their viewpoint. Those kind of rules are
guide-lines. Those 'rules' are not like a road-sign for State Troopers
to hide behind looking for their quota. " Excuse me sir, does that sign
say SPEED LIMIT 56?"
Turns out that is a moot point as their advertised policy states 90 days.
Still, a little flexibility makes for good relations. The lack of
flexibility and discretion is what is wrong with those MegaMoFo giant
big-box bastards. They simple don't give a rat's ass. It opened my eyes.
And THAT is why I'm done with them. Sure they have been conveniently
located for my needs, but that only accounts for so much.
You're damned right I want special treatment. It's just not smart to
piss off customers who drop the kind of money on that store like my
outfit does. If I go to the same restaurant for years, *I* expect the
better pork chop from the cooler.
I have taken responsibility for not checking this closer. I did not
expect them to be nit-pickers on policy like that. It was *I* who
ventured into the UnderWorld of Black & Decker and became sorely
disappointed in one quick hurry. MY mistake. But HD could have taken
advantage of my dilemma and scored some major points in customer
relations by taking care of me better... instead of "You bought
it...OHHMYYY...missed it by ten days..OOPSIES you lose........
I wasn't looking for sympathy, I know where to find that in the
dictionary. I find you're a level-headed guy in your other posts here.
There are likely many who will disagree with this. *I*, on the other
hand, expect to be treated a bit more like I treat MY customers....
maybe that's my mistake, but I will never compromise that.
Y'know, there are tens of thousands of other "special" people out there who
deserve the best, or think they do. For every customer you have, they have
ten thousand. They cater to the 9,999 who shop there for price and
I think it was your mistake on several levels, so eat the bucks. Like it's
the first or last time you'll make a poor decision?
There's the law and there's lawyers. In jail, they're all lawyers, ranting
against the law. You don't belong in that company.
Over time you do notice one consistent, overriding philosophy: they are
there solely for the convenience and financial gratification of the
employees and management, PERIOD
Basically, I wouldn't walk into a HD if the company did not have a
commercial charge account and the money was coming out of my pocket. The
bastards even tried to kill me with a forklift last week, then attempted to
blame it on me ... damn good thing I am relatively nimble for my age. That
particular store "manager" won't forget me for a long time.
Actually, like any publicly traded company, they are there solely for the
financial gratification of the stockholders. And based on what their stock
price has done over the past 20 years or so, I suspect stockholder
gratification is pretty high.
If they invest any effort to make customers, employees, and/or management
happy, it's only because they believe doing so will ultimately improve
Let's take an example at another end of the spectrum -- Lee Valley. You
often hear people on this group raving about what a wonderful company it is
and how well they treat their customers. Well, that may be true, but my
statement above still holds -- they only treat their customers well because
they believe doing so will ultimately improve shareholder value (it's not a
publicly traded company, but the owner(s) still profit from it doing well).
There is no doubt that I like doing business with Lee Valley more than I
like doing business with Home Depot. But, it also doesn't escape my
attention that Home Depot could probably buy Lee Valley out of Petty Cash.
It would seem (sad as it may be to say this) that when push comes to shove,
big, obnoxious, and relentlessly efficient is a better (or at least, more
successful) way to make money.
Personally, I drop a lot of money at Home Depot. I know what to expect
from them, and what not to expect from them. And I know if I buy some
low-end B&D power tool, I'll probably regret it, but that's not really HD's
fault. I'm gonna keep buying hand planes from LV, but when I need a box of
nails, a garden hose, and a roll of BX cable at 10:00 on a Sunday night,
the big orange box is where I head. And, yes, I'm hoping Lowes gets some
stores open in my area. Having somebody who can compete with HD on an even
footing can only be good for me as a customer.
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