Everyone Hates Home Depot

The stock market hates Home Depot. The stock holders hate Home Depot. The Media hates Home Depot. Our readers hate Home Depot.Everyone hates Home Depot.

First the housing slump, awful earnings, and crap same store sales figures sent Home Depot’s stock plummeting. Now local media outlets are having a field day uncovering shady Home Depot subcontractors and their nefarious bilking of customers. Oh, Home Depot. Everyone hates your ex-CEO and his record-threatening golden parachute. Everyone hates your sales staff and their apparent lack of knowledge or training. Everyone hates you! Even people who used to love you hate you. Maybe it’s because you’re wasting everyone’s time?

From the Boston Globe:

Back in 1990, when my wife and I loved Home Depot, the store was staffed with well-trained, knowledgeable and helpful people. If you had a question — even a silly one — it was easy to find someone who knew the answer. Home Depot had an amazing inventory. It also had a staff that helped you access that inventory and make choices. While it didn’t have employees waiting at the door, as high-service stores like Elliot’s in Dallas and Big Jo in Santa Fe do, you could make a purchase quickly at Home Depot.

But today, it is difficult to find a staff person at a Home Depot. Personally, I’ve left the store empty-handed after a hopeless wait. During one long wait shortly before Christmas, I commented to a worker that the store was so busy they must be getting lots of overtime.

“No way,” the employee said.

Home Depot: Bad investment. Bad customer service. Scammy subcontractors… and now short-staffed, as well. Yikes. Maybe some tear-jerking reality-tv-esque ads will help?—MEGHANN MARCO

Home Depot’s Biggest woe: It wastes our time [Boston Globe]
(Photo: carvalho)

Comments

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  1. Kornkob says:

    *shrug* I don’t hate Home Depot. I’ve gotten consistently good service from them when I visit. Not great– but good, which is exactly what I think I pay for.

  2. Stepehn Colbert says:

    @Kornkob: maybe you got them on an “off-day”.

  3. SecureLocation says:

    I don’t exactly hate the place but their sales folks generally don’t know shit, resulting in multiple round trips to return the wrong thing they recommended and get the right thing, which I had to research on the internet. I miss the old hardware stores. You paid more but you usually got a lot of free advice in the deal.

  4. WindowSeat says:

    I don’t hate the HD either, but the level of service suffered under Nardelli’s watch. I have a commercial account with HD and if you know exactly what you want, your experience will be satisfactory, but the old days of helpful retired painters,etc at HD are gone. The flip side of this is Lowes where the floor is jammed with employees who seem to actively avoid contact with the customers.

  5. critical_matt says:

    I just used Home Depot over the weekend. $60 of lumber to deck a room out in shelves. In and out in 10 minutes and the staff was able to quickly rip plywood into the width I needed. A few hours later and I have enough shelving to cover 2 full walls of a storage room. The only downside to the whole day was my brother in law shooting a framing nail into his hand, but I wouldn’t blame that on Home Depot…

  6. scoobydoo says:

    I have 2 home depots within 10 minutes of my place.

    Home Depot 1 is clean, the shelves are neat and tidy, they have knowledgeable people and I almost never have an issue getting the right price, an item that is on sale, or a coupon entered correctly.

    Home Depot 2 is a dump. It is always filthy, they have a constant “clearance event” which equates to boxes and boxes of old junk being sold for 5% off. You can’t find a decent employee in the entire place, they are terrible at processing returns, won’t take any coupons and almost never have sales items in stock.

  7. kpfeif says:

    I’m fine with the Home Depot. Menards? Total shit. Anyhow, after completely finishing my basement, I got to know who’s who at my local store. They know their stuff, know where to find it, and the service has been great. Easy returns, good prices, great selection, and knowledgeable staff.

  8. forgeten says:

    I have never had an issue with Home Depot , I granted I have never used their contractor service . But, they seem to know where stuff is in their store if they don’t they ask someone which is all I really ask.

  9. mopar_man says:

    The Home Depot here sucks. You could die in an isle and there wouldn’t be an employee around for at least an hour to find you. That’s when you’re dying, imagine trying to buy something there. I hate going there.

  10. gorckat says:

    My first stop is always at the local Ace Hardware- the staff is knowledgable and corteous and when I can’t find something (usually a plumbing part) they’ll tell me where to go to get it.

    I use Home Depot for the rare reparis I need lumber for and that’s about it.

  11. Kornkob says:

    Menards– yeah– they seem to be staffed with 16 year old kids with no real understanding of what things are. Besides, teh quality of product there seems to be total ass and I really dislike their lumber purchasing process (do a search— this has been reported to Consumerist before).

    Ace Hardware ner my house is good with advice but it seems like I’ve caught up with them. These days when I ask the ‘old timers’ at Ace they seem to know as much about the subject as I do.

    I find I get the best results if I do my research on the web before I leave, hit the Ace near my house first and then on to Home Depot if Ace doesn’t have what I need. I only go to Menards when I want to buy a) one of their loss leaders b) extension cords (I think they are a loss leader too– they are REALLY inexpensive) or c) my SO and I hit the Christmas/Halloween decoration sales cause you can get good stuff REALLY cheap.

  12. hop says:

    iv’e usuall gotten what i want there…..the help out this one(salisbury md.) isn’t so bad….guess i have been lucky so far……

  13. NeoteriX says:

    I don’t use Home Depot too often, but when I do, I always run into very knowledgeable and helpful sales associates. Maybe I’m asking unsophisticated questions. *shrug*

  14. Uurp says:

    @scoobydoo: Do you live in Frisco, by any chance? Same thing here–new store is OK, old store bites the big Nardellis.

    And by “OK,” I mean the new store is clean. Most of the employees are just biding their time. They had a nice guy named Joe over in Paint–nice, but didn’t know much about what he was selling. Then they moved Joe over to Plumbing, where he’s still nice but knows even less.

    The lady in Returns is another story. I returned some spigots last night and listened to her complain to her co-worker for 5 minutes about what a pain in the ass customers were when they returned items. Right in front of me. She got really mad when she realized one of my transactions was cash, and one credit. Made her do double the work, I guess. Gave me a dirty look that was supposed to make me feel guilty.

    Sad. I’ve been shopping HD for almost 20 years. Used to be better.

  15. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I think each Home Depot is different. Generally speaking, each Home Depot has a group of employess that like to hide and waste time, while getting paid for it. But you will find some employees that are helpful and knowledgable.

    But I view Home Depot as one of those places where you should do your research ahead of time and know what you need to buy before you go there. Then it’s just a matter of grabbing a cart, picking your supplies from the shelves, and heading to the check-out lines.

  16. DeeJayQueue says:

    I think there’s becoming a rift between what the people who work there do and what we as consumers think they should do. It’s not just HD either. It’s all over retail.

    Employees get a full plate of projects to do that usually take up about 30 minutes longer than their shift, so they have to hustle to get it all done, and that’s without customers interrupting them. In some of the stores this wasn’t bad, the tasks were “put away freight” or “remerch this 12′ run of dinnerware per plano” but if your list is “take 5 skids of mulch from 30′ in the air and put them in 20 bag piles at every other aisle but you can’t use the forklift” then that’s a different story.

    Who’s fault is this? Mostly mid-to-upper management. The employees are just there for a check. Most of them hate the customers but this attitude stems from the interruptions they represent and the stress that causes them, not from just a general hatred of people. It’s the managers that won’t come out of the office that cause the problems. Most have either forgotten how it used to be or just graduated with an associate’s in business management and don’t really care. That doesn’t even really matter so much, but the pay scale is so different that once they become a manager they think they’ve earned the golden do-nothing ticket.

    More managers need to spend more time on the floor to understand that a full day’s worth of tasks is too much to do AND help customers.

    • suweet says:

      I am one of your mid to upper management. To speak for myself and my store, my priorities are Customer Service, and ensuring the products we offer are on the shelf when you are there looking for them! You are the Boss and I appreciate your feedback of the company so we can grow! Express your concerns and i know that i will make every effort to control these aspects that i have control over and i hope the entire company will follow suit!

  17. Ace Hardware all the way, baby!

  18. revmatty says:

    I think the problem with HD (and Lowe’s as well) as they spend so much time and effort trying to break into saturated markets (high end appliances, home theatre) and have taken floor space and staff resource away from their core competency business (for sufficiently loose definitions of competency).

  19. AcidReign says:

    …..Home Depot at the Riverchase Galliarrhea is a jumbled mess. It’s probably the biggest hardware store in the state, and sometimes they have stuff no one else does, but you’d better be prepared to look for it yourself.

  20. Sudonum says:

    I used to travel across the country working as a Project Manager for a commercial GC. I have been in Home Depot’s from coast to coast. Some are better than others. The worst? On 8th Street in Miami’s Little Havana. Dirtiest most un-organized store I have ever been in. Oh, and you bettter speak spanish, because the rmployees don’t speak english. The best? There isn’t one. Although I would like say that the store in Destin, FL has the best pro-desk of any store I’ve ever worked with. Oh, and the one on the north side of Chicago was the best urban location, but it was new when I was there in 1999. Hopefully it hasn’t gone down hill.

  21. Nice choice of picture.

    I grew up in Coconut Grove, which is a neighborhood in Miami. One half ghetto and one half yuppiesville (once upon a time, it was where all the hippies wound up. Now it’s overpriced as all hell).

    Anyway, a K-mart closed and HD wanted to move in, and the neighborhood flipped out, frankly for no good reason. Residents who were at least three or 4 miles away had those signs on their front lawns. Kind of stupid, really, as there wasn’t a sizeable home improvement store anywhere nearby, and it wasn’t like they were going to really alter the property. HD won out eventually, and I think these signs are still posted on some peoples lawns.

    My land use professor in law school once wondered out loud why HD seemed to be involved in nearly every recent community-wide zoning dispute. They seem to have quite the rep for bringing down property values, although I guess I’ve never been there early enough in the morning to see the day laborers they supposedly attract.

  22. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @Sudonum: Which North Side Chicago HD are you referring to?
    Devon & McCormick is a disaster! One day, every toilet in a box set was smashed in shipping! Maybe a dozen of them, all of course put out on the shelves. Probably the stockers didn’t want to get the blame & just shoved them there so they would be found out a few days later.
    Halsted St. is the gay one, no seriously, it’s right in the middle of the city’s biggest gay nabe & it genuinely caters to gays. Lot of decorating shit.
    Elston Ave is OK.
    North Ave may still be 24 hours, it’s not listed on the website. Supposedly the largest & most profitable HD in the country!
    Evanston is pretty bad, the Glen is pretty good, but then it’s in a very expensive area.
    The worst is 49th & Western, an absolute toilet, better to go to the Bedford Park one even if it’s farther.
    One idiocy that fool Nardelli did was centralize purchasing & reorders. He took away the automatic reordering of items as the computer told them it was sold by the bar codes that scanned at the registers.
    Now Chicago has a bunch of specialized plumbing & electrical parts required by code. Only NYC uses the same stuff. Now they have to get permission from Atlanta to reorder this stuff.
    Guess what they’re always out of?

    The best place of all is Clark/Devon Hardware! The biggest hardware store in the country. They have stuff from decades ago.
    I can walk there in five minutes!

  23. Sudonum says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:
    It’s been a few years, but I believe it was North Ave as it was a new location at the time and it was open 24 hours.

  24. svida says:

    Home Depot doesn’t know or doesn’t care about service. I go throught the aisles, past three or four disinterested orange people discussing March Madness or sewage leaking into Lake Michigan. Ask for help and it’s a major imposition.

    The worst nightmare is using a Home Depot subcontractor. The only reason why they jump through this hoop is to get you to buy the products for the job. THEY JUST WANT YOUR $$.

    The subcontractor sham is really a loss leader If they didn’t offer the subcontractor service, you would hire a contractor who might buy the products somewhere else.

    I stupidly contracted Home Depot to redo my bathroom. What a nightmare. They didn’t know that a plumber would be needed to redo the drain. They didn’t know that the tile I bought for the wall couldn’t be used on the floor. You get the idea.

    But neither did the Home Depot subcontractor!!! The poor tiler-a sub to the subcontractor-was loaded down with the mess. And to add salt to his wounds, when he went to pick up the floor tile, which I bought at a real tile store, his trailer was broken into and he lost $2,500 worth of equipment.

    In the end, the tiler (remember, he’s the sub to the sub) did a fine job. But not even 6 months later, guess what? The crappy grout from Home Depot is peeling!

    Bottom line, don’t ever use Home Depot for anything. They destroyed Main Street mom and pop hardware stores — you know the friendly people who would have RECOMMENDED reputable contractors who COULD DO the job. Now I wish we had them back.

  25. jetmore says:

    Could I put in another vote for Clark and Devon Hardware in Chicago? They have *everything* and the staff are very helpful. Always a good experience.

  26. PDQ says:

    I have 3 Home Depots around me, but I use All American Home Center in Downey and I drive 25-30 minutes down the freeway to do so. Place is HUGE, much better selection than HD, better merchandising than HD, family owned and they have bilingual signage and employees.

    Oh….did I mention HD dropped a store next door to All American 10 years ago? The HD store manager told the owner of All American that she had 2 years to put All American out of business.

    All American’s still going strong and even adding on to their warehouse space. The HD store? Still there, but not very busy.

  27. PDQ says:

    Oops – My bad. Downey is in the Los Angeles area.

  28. merilla says:

    I know first hand how bad home depot really is. They base their hours off of their sales…so management cuts hours (that is why there is never any help)and BECAUSE they cut the hours soo much…THE MANAGEMENT TEAM GETS A BIG FAT BONUS. SO…this shows all the customers that never get any help…they only care about the bonuses that go into their worthless pockets..and NOT the customer. SAD way to do bussiness

  29. flatlander says:

    I have worked at The Home Depot for over 2 years. I love it. It is one of the best jobs I have ever had. The people are great and the customers are the best. Just like any business, Home Depot has challenges but I think we do a great job meeting them. For every negative story there are hundreds of positive ones.

  30. sigmond says:

    Ok…so, if you discount the fact that the Home Depot employees are not the best, I still have an issue with Home Depot. Home Depot offers the same pricing to any Tom, Dick or Harry that walks in the door. This pricing is just as cheap as our suppliers that are “contractor pricing”, and sale only to licenced contractors. They have feed, and created an unlicenced fleet of contractors. This is VERY bad for everyone.
    1)They don’t carry any of the same insurance as contractors do. The consumer runs all the risks in the event of any type of failure (injury’s on the job, not constructed to code, etc.)
    2)They likely are not paying taxes on their income. It is real easy to deposit checks made out to John Q. Contractor without declare it.
    3)As a cash and carry contractor, they also supports a huge fleet of illegal day-laborer workers. Granted, we don’t know if they are all illegal…but I would be able to make an educated guess that the congregation of workers at all the entrances and exits of Home Depot are mostly illegal.
    All this said…it puts a financial strain on what true pricing should be. If you have a licenced contractor and an unlicenced contractor add up their total expenses, and add the exact same profit margin on top, the unlicenced contractor will still be 25%-35% cheaper. Not paying taxes, licences, permits, workers compensation, liability insurance, and all the taxes that go with payroll…it all adds up. Ultimately, we all pay for this in the end.

  31. suweet says:

    I work at, and magage at The Home Depot. . . So heres the inside scoop for all of you! The company is under new management since Bob Nardelli with Frank Blake at the helm. Nardelli focused on expanding the company with buying other companies, Frank Blake’s plans are to revive the old Home Depot practices of Customer Service and Focus on the Customer! If you have a bad Experience its one of two things. First, we haven’t re-trained that associate or coached them on our values. Or Two, We haven’t fired them yet for not taking care of our most valuable asset, you! The customer!