Home Depot Helps With Tornado Damaged House, Just Because

Reader Jim wanted to share with us a pleasant experience he had with a crew of helpful Home Depot employees in Winsdor, Colorado which was recently hit with a tornado. Fortunately, Jim was ok but his house was not. While surveying the damage to his house, a truck filled with a crew of helpful HD employees arrived who volunteered to board up the broken windows on Jim’s house since he had no lumber or power tools. Jim’s letter, inside…

Consumerist:

Lately Home Depot is getting a lot of bashing (and deservedly so) in the
Consumerist. However not all HD employees are bad. On May 22, 2008 a
tornado destroyed parts of Windsor Colorado where my fiance lives. We
were not allowed back to survey the damage until Saturday May 24th. On
that Saturday while my fiance and I are insepcting the damage, a truck
from Home Depot pulled up. A crew of HD employees led by John Kliminski
asked if they could help board up the windows. Since I was lacking in
plywood and power tools, I said yes. 30 minutes later the crew boarded
up the windows for me. I am truly grateful for their assistance.

Enclosed are two pictures of the HD crew

Sincerely ,
Jim

We wouldn’t be so jaded as to think that HD was doing this simply to drum up business in a community of houses in need of repair. (We’ll leave that to the commenters.) Nonetheless, it was a kind act and deserves a tip of the Consumerist fedora.

Comments

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  1. Sarge1985 says:

    Of course HD expects to get some business from this. But, this was a smart idea for whoever came up with it. Who are the residents of Windsor going to think of when it comes time to repair their homes? That said, HD showed it is a member of the community and was doing the neighborly thing and trying to help.

  2. “We wouldn’t be so jaded as to think that HD was doing this simply to drum up business in a community of houses in need of repair.”

    Hey, even if they are? GOOD business tactic! Drumming up business by helping people, serving the community, and building links and feel-good feelings with consumers … that I’m in favor of.

  3. Yeah, why not? That’s great community service, and they’re not doing it with the catch that you have to shop at Home Depot, but I’m sure most people will remember HD when they need to replace those windows, or anything else.

  4. nsv says:

    During their new employee orientation, this is the sort of thing that HD pitches to their employees. I sat through that orientation about five years ago.

    I’ve NEVER heard of it actually happening until today.

    HD did go out of their way to keep me (as an employee) from serving my community, though. One nice story doesn’t make up for it.

  5. katylostherart says:

    this is exactly the way you should give your business a boost. not sales, or give aways, but just being a good neighbor. perfect.
    @nsv: is it up to the manager’s discretion?

  6. SuffolkHouse says:

    JUST BECAUSE?

    Just because they get free press and develop a sense of good will with the press and public.

  7. …wait till he gets the bill.

    (I kid. Nice work people who work at that HD!)

  8. Parting says:

    It’s a good deed and cheap publicity. Win-win situation for everyone. So why not?

  9. Daniel-Bham says:

    @92BuickLeSabre: Complete with a follow-up about the collection agency who bought the debt he refused to pay on principle.

    Otherwise, this sounds really good of Home Depot and I will be heading to their store for fencing instead of Lowes shortly.

  10. Kajj says:

    Well if they didn’t want their house to be hit by a tornado they shouldn’t have left it outdoors.

  11. @Kajj: If there was a Consumerist Comments Hall of Fame, you’d get my vote!

  12. Uriel says:

    CONGRATULATIONS HOME DEPOT ON YOUR 1ST POSITIVE EXPERIENCE EVER, POSTED ON THE CONSUMERIST!!! I hope the homeowner remembered to check your receipts for the lumber on your way off his property, then hold you all hostage because you failed to produce them.

  13. yzerman says:

    I’m sorry but this rocks and if it just happens to get you business in the long run, more power to them.

    It’s the little things like this were this big box companies forget to give back to their communities which gave them bad names.

    I applaude HD for doing this. I would be proud to shake those guys hands and help if I lived near there.

  14. Ein2015 says:

    Helping out the community is a good way to increase your bottom line, especially it situations like this! WIN-WIN situation! :D

  15. Tremblor says:

    Reminds me of a couple of years ago Venezuela offered free home heating oil (via Citgo) to poor people in the Boston area in the depths of winter. They interviewed one of the guys getting some much needed heat and asked him “do you think this is just a pr ploy by Venezuela?” He answered “well, yea, but I don’t care why there are doing it, it’ll stop my family from freezing to death”.

    So yea, it might be a business move, but does that mean it isn’t helpful?

  16. Uriel says:

    @yzerman:

    holy shit, why don’t you just marry Home Depot…

  17. Angryrider says:

    Leesee Tornado aftermath Home Depot driving around. How could the company not help? It’s either this or look like a bunch of d-.

  18. Uriel says:

    what a sad sad marriage that would be…nevermind, I would not wish that on any man. Home Depot would just beat you up all the time, and eat all your pudding.

  19. Carencey says:

    @Kajj: WIN.

    I am all for stuff like this as a good way of building business…but how bad is it that I am reading this and expecting a follow up story where that crew was fired for giving away labor and plywood?

  20. joecoolest says:

    The people who work at home depot live in these communities. Maybe they were interested in helping their neighbors. Yes these same neighbors are customers or potential customers, but first and foremost they are neighbors in need. Not everyone in a orange apron is a blood sucking leech, but apparently nearly everyone who posts here is a gutless cynic.

    For the record. I shop at Lowes.

  21. spinachdip says:

    @joecoolest: “nearly everyone who posts here is a gutless cynic.”

    Why ya gotta be so cynical?

  22. Uriel says:

    ya, maybe they’re just a buncha of guys, saw someone in need, decided to help them “in the name of The Home Depot”, then posed perfectly for a photo-op, with blazing orange smocks reading “The Home Depot”. Those lone strangers didn’t do it for Home depot, they just wanted to help, and thought those smocks were really freakin cool for some uknown reason.

  23. dreamcatcher2 says:

    Talk about an awesome photo opportunity! (That’s not sarcasm, I say that with admiration at the combination of excellent marketing strategy and community service.) Imagine if the newsreels from Katrina were full of, not looting, but burly men in Home Depot aprons making things right. That would have been freckin awesome PR.

  24. Uriel says:

    @dreamcatcher2:

    I believe it was Kanye West who stated “The Home Depot doesn’t care about black people!”

  25. Uriel says:

    @dreamcatcher2:

    I believe that’s what he said.

  26. avenger339 says:

    Who cares why they did it?

    If this is just a PR movie and it increases their business, then, well, they deserve it. PR move or not, they’re still helping people and that’s awesome.

    I’ll continue to shop at my local hardware store though ;)

  27. Uriel says:

    @avenger339:

    you know those commercials where you get your “Big tobacco dose of Truth”? Do you remember when they made it apparent that big tobacco spent like $2-$3 million on getting it known that they donated about $150,000 to charities, after causing more death than virtually anything for the last hundred years or so? This is kinda like that, Home Depot has had a bad reputation and notoriously bad customer service for quite a few years now. It’s just far too little, far too late.

  28. nsv says:

    @katylostherart: In my case it was a manager with his panties in a twist. But the net result was that the community lost services because of him. And since then I’ve seen my share of disasters, and the orange aprons were conspicuously absent at all of them.

    Not that Lowe’s was there much, either. But Lowe’s doesn’t sell themselves based on their community service.

    So Lowe’s gets my money.

  29. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I say good for them!! It helps HD and it helps those in need. Personally, I’ve had nothing but good experiences from those at my local HD. Just think what companies could do if they donated just ONE HOUR per worker per month to a volunteer cause.

  30. Paladin_11 says:

    @Dreamcatcher2…

    I have a bunch of pictures from China (a slideshow really) post Sichaun earthquake. The contrast to Hurricane Katrina is the most damning condemnation of the Bush Administration I’ve ever seen. I wish I could find a way to share it with you guys. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

    Home Depot provided significant resources after Katrina too as I recall. Good on ‘em I say.

  31. avenger339 says:

    @Uriel: There is a HUGE difference between a tobacco company and the Home Depot. Last time I checked, the Home Depot’s products don’t intentionally get people addicted to a harmful substance and give them years of health problems. Also, I seriously doubt that anything the Home Depot has done has come even close to causing “…more death than virtually anything for the last hundred years or so…” Seriously, bad analogy.

  32. That’s great that HD is actually helping someone.

    I’d feel better about them if they would install the $1000+ front door that my wife ordered from them over a month ago.

    Two weeks ago when she called to complain they asked if our home was secure with the temp door we have now and she said no. They said they’d get right back to us. They didn’t. As of today we cannot get a straight answer and we still don’t have the door we paid for.

    I hate Home Depot. I told my wife not to go there and now she finally might think I was right about something.

  33. RetailGuy83 says:

    @The Rude Bellman: Does that count as blameing the OP?

  34. S3CT says:

    I’m actually kind of surprised all the home depot workers don’t have goatee beards. Isn’t that part of the ‘murican uniform these days?

  35. @RetailGuy83:

    No.

    It’s just me bitching about HD and my wife.

  36. As far as I know, stuff like this isn’t too out of character for HD. I worked at one in the boston area not too long ago, and 2-3x a year they would ask for employees to volunteer for various things to help the community. I spent one INCREDIBLY hot summer day riding a bus into the city and helping people in a neighborhood in Dorchester fix up parks and things. The store donated a couple grand in flowers and mulch and what not, and people in the community were really happy. Corporate HD basically sucks, but store to store the people mostly genuinely care. The employees would always get together and raise money for the family of a sick employee or something like that. I quit because they kind of sucked, but I have to say out of all the jobs I had the employees at the depot I worked at were some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. And I work with my own family, now. Ha!

  37. pete7919 says:

    The previous commenters are right in the fact that most of this good-will work begins and ends at the store. Corporately, though, HD has sponsored some good programs like Ka-Boom. I worked there a few years ago and they encouraged my volunteerism by setting up work days for Habitat for Humanity and build playgrounds in the city. They also let me bring a firetruck down on company time and hand out fire prevention literature. It’s all about the local store management. JoeCoolest has it absolutely right. We always tend to think about these places as a big corporate monster, but at the lowest level these are your neighbors and yes, some of them like to help when it is needed!

    We’d also give out lots of donations, but that was stopped at the top level when they changed the process so corporate had control. You can still get donations I believe, but you tell them what you need and they get your group a gift card from corporate to get it.

    One other somewhat capitalist-humanitarian thing tha HD does is they shift appropriate product to areas that need it. They used to (and may still) hav an emergency operations center that could shift inventory where it was needed most after a disaster. Sure it benefitted the company, but it was also really good for the people that needed the stuff. They would also put a freeze on the pricing so there wouldn’t be any gouging.

  38. libbybee says:

    HD just built a huge playground for the Boys and Girls club here in town, and I’ve never had a problem with the local stores. In fact, sometimes the employees are TOO friendly, but I can always find someone to help me when I need it.

    I find more often than not that it’s the corporate portion of the company that sucks but the local stores pay the price.

  39. Uriel says:

    @avenger339:

    yeaaaaaaahhhh….I think what I said kinda went over your head. I never claimed HD killed anyone(though quite probable that they have), however their quality assurance are of similar aspects. Both are pretty much guaranteed to screw you in the end. The gestures both have made to make amends for their heinousness bare similarity.

  40. Uriel says:

    @avenger339:

    far too little, far too late.

  41. HomeDepotInfo says:

    @The Rude Bellman: Sorry to hear about your door order – I work at The Home Depot, can I help? send me a note at information at homedepot dot com.

  42. bubbledumpster says:

    @kajj

    Hahahahaha.
    <3