Home Depot Begs You Not To Leave The Store Because Of Their Crappy Service

Reader Shawn submits this photo that he took at Home Depot. The sign begs you not to leave the store if you’ve experienced bad customer service

Shawn says:

I thought my fellow Consumerist readers would enjoy this bit. A photograph (from my cell phone) placed on the entrance of the Las Cruces, NM Home Depot. One would expect such customer service as a matter of routine business. Instead, it takes a world-wide economic collapse for people to actually do their jobs.

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  1. KarbonKopy says:

    I have to admit while in my local Home Depot recently picking up some supplies for a home improvement project, I was asked no less than 10 times if I needed help or assistance with anything. Total 180 from my previous experiences in the past….there must have been a memo.

    • eelmonger says:

      @KarbonKopy: Honestly that would annoy me more than bad service. I hate it when employees won’t let me shop in peace. If I need help, I’ll ask you for it.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        @eelmonger: It’s really about how you’re approached. If a lazy lout walks up to me with his hands in his orange apron pockets and mumbles, “D’ja need help with anything?” while looking into the middle distance, I get pretty miffed. But if a genuinely helpful salesperson notices what I’ve been looking at, makes a comment or offers a tip that lets me know he knows what he’s talking about, and mentions some other product that helps me use the thing in my hands faster, better, or more efficiently, I might just go for it. I know it’s an upsell. Even so.

        I actually learned this when I was working in the domestics department (sheets, towels, and so forth) at Macy’s, years ago. Nobody ever growled at me to go away. I wasn’t dismissed with “Just looking.” I was trying to be helpful, and I knew how to give advice and offer suggestions. I sold a lot. Too bad the manager decided she would rather have grandmotherly ladies in the department instead of college girls.

    • theblackdog says:

      @KarbonKopy: I think a number of stores are doing that. A salesperson at Macy’s told me they got a memo from corporate to approach the customers more often.

    • projoe1979 says:

      @KarbonKopy: My local Home Depot started this the other day. I also noticed most people wearing orange collared shirts instead of aprons. Kinda annoying, but better than not being able to find anyone I guess.

    • Brain.wav says:

      @KarbonKopy: We used to do that at Blockbuster. There, at least, we did it to deter shoplifting. Maybe you looked suspicious?

      • KarbonKopy says:

        @Brain.wav: I don’t think I was being looked at as a shoplifter at all, and I was never asked in an annoying way or felt that it was getting annoying at all. They honestly seemed like they really wanted to help.

    • h0serdude says:

      @KarbonKopy: Ditto. I was there last night and it was really getting annoying at how many times my wife and I were asked if we needed help with anything.

    • Overheal says:

      @KarbonKopy: The Customer Service in Home Depot is doing just fine. Side by side with now defunct Circuit City: Helpful Employees positioned strategically all around the store, always eager to offer help finding something (for no commission mind you)

      Whereas my last visit to CC in July, a Floor manager and a group of privates huddled behind the PC Aisle talking about last night’s get together for all of the 45 minutes I was in there. I eventually had to butt in to their conversation to get into a locked case and they seemed very displeased.

    • Optimistic Prime says:

      @KarbonKopy: You get kudos for being one of thirteen people on the internet who know that it’s 180, not 360! That made my day :)

  2. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Gotta love the penciled in second o in too.

  3. Joey Mendoza says:

    at least they are trying.

    • Ninja007 says:

      @Joey Mendoza: Yeah, I’m surprised this post is so snarky about it. They’re being proactive about being accountable and consumerist finds away to denigrate Home Depot.

      • AtomicPlayboy says:

        @Ninja007: No, they’re attempting to slap a band-aid on a problem instead of solving it.

        If Home Depot is aware of their principal customer service deficiencies (and this post is a perfect list of the reasons I can’t stand shopping there), then they should remedy these issues. Apologizing after the fact, after I’ve spent 20 minutes walking around trying to find someone before I finally give up because I don’t want to spend another 20 minutes waiting in the only open checkout line, is a cheap and inadequate way to address customer dissatisfaction, and it’s 40 minutes too late. It would be acceptable if they posted a general sign encouraging anyone with customer service problems to seek customer service for assistance, but they know exactly what they’re doing to inconvenience their customers, and don’t want to spend the money on fixing it.

        Customers need to demand more from retailers than apologies. I hope this “Sorry we can’t provide adequate, timely service. Here’s a cookie!” approach fails utterly.

        • cabjf says:

          @AtomicPlayboy: Exactly, this sign says to me, “Please give us another chance!”

        • NinjaMarion says:

          @AtomicPlayboy: Well it could actually be a case of, “Well, we got a complaint about ___. It seems like we’re doing well regarding this, but maybe we should look into it a little more and see if this actually is a big problem or just one incident.”

          If a few months from now, they’re still saying this and nothing has been changed, then screw ‘em. If this actually works and gets people to report problems to managers and things get fixed, then I’m all for it.

          I’m sick of people that have an issue with a business and then do nothing more than bitch to a boxboy or cashier with the “I’m never shopping here again!” line without ever bothering to speak to a manager. That cashier couldn’t care less one bit whether or not you’re mad they were out of Fruity Pebbles or drywall screws or if you ever set foot in the place again. A manager generally will care and want their business to be run well, but they don’t often have any way to know of things that fail to meet your expectations unless you bother to make the effort to let them know.

  4. jake7294 says:

    We take customer service very seriously.

  5. dip_cone says:

    Home depot is the only store I’ve ever been in where on multiple occasions, staff have said “I don’t know” when I’ve asked where something is.

    • ShrikumariAmphisbaena says:

      @crycry:

      Hilarious. I had that happen to me the other day at Lowe’s. I actually crossed the street and went to HD and they answered my question. It was regarding filters on an ice maker.

      It wasn’t something where they said, “I am not sure, let me check.” It was “I don’t really know” :::long silence::: “Sorry.”

      Sad thing is, I always went to Lowe’s. I don’t think I have ever walked into a HD prior to this past weekend. Maybe I just got the guy on a bad day.

    • Petra says:

      @crycry: I once asked about a certain gardening item I was having difficulty finding, and asked a female associate who was talking with two other coworkers. She pointed and said, “Over there”. When I said that I had just been “over there” and couldn’t find anything, she said, “Then we probably don’t have it.”

      When I finally asked if she would mind checking, she rolled her eyes, sighed much louder than necessary, and stomped off into the direction of “over there”. One of her coworkers called after her, “Aw, poor Dotty, actually having to do her job!”. I would have been pissed if it hadn’t been so amusing.

  6. theblackdog says:

    When did Home Depot start opening stores in Mexico? ;-)

  7. Nighthawke says:

    Why not take advantage of their offers?

    Rip your list in two, give him the bottom half and tell’em “get me that and meet me up front in 15 minutes”.

  8. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    To summarize: “If you are dissatisfied with our service, please call this number and be inconvenienced by waiting to talk to a person only to get connected to an answering machine or hung up on. Have a great day!

    • Your friends can call you HoJu! says:

      @FuryOfFirestorm: See, the way I read that was “If you had to do everything yourself without any assistance from us and still couldn’t get what you wanted, go right ahead and do one more thing by yourself and go track down a phone and try to call the manager. Don’t bother asking anybody at the checkout right behind you. They’ll be of no help.”

  9. Pal says:

    Aww, they can’t spell either.

  10. IcePirate_GitEmSteveDave says:

    No, I’m leaving b/c they couldn’t take the effort to re-type the sign with the word “too” spelled correctly. That and when I asked the guy if he could cut this piece of plywood, he said sure, then stayed and talked his friend at the end of the aisle for 5 minutes, and was still talking to him when I put the piece of plywood back on the shelf.

  11. nataku8_e30 says:

    @crycry: could be worse. I’ve had people in Lowes tell me where something is and then it’s not there.

    • lockdog says:

      @nataku83: Oldest trick in the book for a big box store. Give a confident, detailed answer and the send the customer off to the farthest point from where the item actually is as possible. See, even internet trolls need a job.

      “oh yeah, it’s aisle 22, about a third of the way down on the left, bottom shelf, near the XYZ widget.”

  12. Wild Monkey says:

    I had to laugh at a manager that had to help me. He let me know that the employee that was supposed to be helping me was the reason that everyone thinks that offer crappy customer service. No one could find her and she wasn’t responding to pages or direct calls. I let him know he was the first knowledgeable person to ever help me at a Home Depot… and probably the last.

  13. speeddaimon says:

    Actually, I’ve been warming toward Home Depot again. When I first bought my house (about 4 years ago) HD was my preferred home improvement store. Then Nardelli (same guy who’s running Chrysler now incidently) fired all of the salaried knowledgable people and replaced them with slacker part timers who didn’t care and didn’t know. Everything I’ve seen about the new CEO seems to indicate that he’s trying to refocus on customer service to differentiate between them an Lowe’s. I appreciate it, and will give them another shot.

  14. Ameer Hashw says:

    It is a new policy from Home Depot corporate. – My sister is an assistant manager there.

    • IcePirate_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @Ameer Hashw: Perhaps you can clue them into something called “proper spelling” and punctuation. Since there is no period, this sentence is STILL running on.

  15. ToadKillerDog says:

    Actually, this helps make employees more accountable for their actions. The headline on this one should have read “Home Depot Improves Service With Direct Line to the Store Manager”.

    Let us not get way to cynical.

  16. I_am_Awesome says:

    You criticize when companies offer poor service. That is justified. You criticize when companies make an effort to offer better service – WHY? What exactly would please you?

    • scoosdad says:

      @I_am_Awesome: I agree. I didn’t see anything in that sign about “not leaving the store” as the headline suggests. It simply offers a way for the customer to get ahold of someone in charge when they’re pissed.

      “Begging you not to leave the store” was a bit extreme in my opinion.

      • Jabes says:

        @scoosdad: Uh, the first line of the sign is “If you are leaving because . . .”

        • NinjaMarion says:

          @Jabes: So? That still doesn’t equate to begging you not to leave. It’s simply saying that if you are leaving because of shitty service, let use know why. There’s actually nothing there asking not to leave. They just wanna know why so they can hopefully improve areas they’re coming up short on.

    • ecwis says:

      @I_am_Awesome: This does please me actually. It’s a lot better than when cashiers pretend to be the manager. Providing a direct number to the manager prevents this (as long as the manager actually answers the calls).

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @I_am_Awesome: Look, it’s pretty sad that retail store personnel will only give helpful, accurate customer service because there is a NEW policy from CORPORATE that TELLS them to.

  17. DerangedRoleModel says:

    I_am_Awesome: I think he took a picture to show proof of the impending cold front that will be going through Hell.

  18. nakedscience says:

    I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable. If they can’t hire competant employees from the get-go, they obviously have lowsy management.

    • TheFlamingoKing says:

      @nakedscience: I think this is perfectly reasonable. A manager, especially one with a large number of employees, might not know every individual’s performance every day. Part of the point is to get rid of the incompetent employees. Also, we’ve seen from too many articles on this site that people have a tendency to blame themselves or circumstances for why they do not receive good customer service – this just makes it more clear that you can do something about it right away, instead of sending some email to a corporate address that may or may not have any impact on the individuals that caused the problem.

      The world would be a much better place if every manager had their personal phone number on the exit door of every store, so you could let them know exactly how your service went before you leave and let it go.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @nakedscience: sometimes it takes a measure like this to determine who you’re worthwhile employees are & who aren’t.

      a simply sign doesn’t solve anything, but if the manager is engaged in his store’s operations, an action like this can be a great aide in weeding out the chaff, so to speak.

    • MyPetFly says:

      @nakedscience:

      And “lowsy” spelling.

    • NinjaMarion says:

      @nakedscience: That’s great and all to want to only hire perfect, happy, model employees, but until the ability to see into people’s minds actually becomes a widespread human ability, it’s impossible.

      You can hire someone who looks absolutely perfect on paper, acts pleasant in the interview and anytime you interact with him, and seems to do well at his job based on all available metrics, but you still have no way of knowing whether or not he tells old people to go fuck themselves anytime he’s assisting customers and no one else is around. And guess what? If those old people that he just told to fuck themselves take the “I’m never shopping here again!” approach and just leave the store outraged without ever speaking to a manager, the manager then still has no way of knowing this is going on and thinks the person is a good employee.

      Simply put, unless you let a manager know how your experience was, good or bad (Especially good. It sucks horribly to do everything possible to make sure a customer is happy and have them tell you how great you were, yet they don’t even bother to let a manager or supervisor know, but the first time you do something a customer isn’t happy with, they’ll bitch to no end and even desire for you to lose your job over something that may have even been out of your control), there’s only so much they can do as far as your level of service will be. If they don’t get informed about excellent or terrible performance that they haven’t or couldn’t have otherwise known about, how can they do something about it?

  19. Anonymous says:

    I must be the only person who has always had a great experience @ home depot. The one horrible experience I had was at an Expo store and they are now closing. I am somewhat disabled and use a cart to get around. People are always helpful and at least in Northern Cali, they have always been nice…even have had jokes with some on occasion.

  20. humphrmi says:

    @I_am_Awesome: I think it’s good to see that customer service is making a comeback.

    That said, it’s a little stupid asking your dissatisfied customers to go find a phone and call for a manager. One has to ask, if they were really interested in improving customer satisfaction, why not put the manager up at the front of the store? This serves two purposes – one, if check-out lines get too long (one of the situations that the sign mentions), the manager is right there to take care of it. And two, of course, if someone is dissatisfied, once again – he’s right there.

  21. Shadowman615 says:

    or for any other reason

    “Hello, is this the manager? Yes, please go get him, I’ll wait, it’s important… Yes, I’m leaving because I finished paying for my things and I’d like to go home now.”

  22. philmin says:

    I never felt HDs problem was bad employees, its rather not enough employees. They have 15 or so aisles, and about 10 or so employees working those aisles. If you need help with something, odds are you are going to wait, and quite often you might be waiting for more than 15 minutes. If they aren’t willing/can’t afford to put more employees on the floor, then putting up a sign about calling a manager isn’t going to solve any problems.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hey Home Depot. Do you really think that a pissed off customer is going to bother begging you for you to do your job? Here’s an idea. Why not provide a good experience to your customers so they don’t have to call you and beg you to do your job in the first place?

    Consumers that walk out of business in disgust are exercising their free market right to do business with someone else. You loose the sales you go out of business. For every 1 customer complaint you get 100 customers walked out the door because of the same thing.

    I certainly hope you go the way of other failed businesses like Compusa and Circuit City.

    GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE to crappy companies!!!

  24. nakedscience says:

    AND YAY! comments are down again. This is pathetic.

  25. Hadoken3 says:

    I had a key duplicated there and it doesn’t work. Seriously, how do you screw that up? It goes in a machine and copies the key I gave you. I come back with the key and tell the girl it doesn’t work and she looks at me like I’M crazy. I like Menards better anyway.

  26. Segador says:

    I actually see this as a step in the right direction.

  27. Brian Oblivion says:

    I work at an independent hardware store that succeeds by providing what we think is excellent customer service. The HD employees have told us that the company line is: “If you want a job, we have them. If you don’t help customers like crazy, someone else will help them.”

  28. Anonymous says:

    I saw this sign as I was leaving (out of stock on what I needed; all staff with other people). I went to the phone and it was in use and too more guys were already waiting.

    Go figure.

  29. kexline says:

    I saw a sign at the Huntsville, AL Home Depot the other day with a sort of sad-but-good employee empowerment pledge with things on it like “If asked where a product is, I will walk the customer to it and not point”, and “I am empowered to stop doing a task to assist a customer.”

    At first I thought it wasn’t meant to be customer-facing, but it also had a photo of the manager and his direct line, so I guess I was meant to see it.

    The boy and I were especially intrigued by that “stop doing a task” part, and concluded that either the chain or that specific store must be a history of managers terrorizing the rank and file into customer-unfriendly behavior.

  30. Subsound says:

    Home Depot is a bunch of idiots, though it’s nice they are trying to do something about it. Maybe hiring some people who give a crap would help too.

    Last time I was there I was helping some one make a pretty small drip irrigation system. I went up and asked an employee if they had what I needed to make it, which he replied “Nope don’t have it, and I would know I am the assistant manager”…though I noticed something as he was talking. I asked him to take 2 steps forward and turn around, because he was standing in front of exactly what I needed to do the whole thing!

    His face turned bright red, and without another word he walked off. I got my things, which work great, and went to Lowe’s for the rest of my things after that.

  31. Kevin Mills says:

    I was recently shopping at the Home Depot nearby, and I’ll admit that I know next to nothing regarding hardware or the likes. I try to find someone to help me match the bolts I need, and the first guy I come across says he doesn’t know hardware. I found another employee, and when I asked for assistance, he got all snappy and yelled at me because he was apparently helping someone else on the other side of the store. I finally got someone to assist me, and he told me they didn’t sell the type of bolt I needed, even though after he left, I found them right where we were standing. I had a few more quesitons, but alas, I could not find another employee.

    I think I’ll start shopping at Lowe’s.

  32. chrisjames says:

    Why is the message in quotes? This is really part of a longer narrative, isn’t it?

  33. bluebuilder says:

    I too have noticed a remarkable change in the level of service I receive from Home Depot. I almost checked to see if I was indeed in the right store.

    I don’t know what they threatened their staff with, but it’s working.

  34. Saboth says:

    For some reason this reminds me of a Food Lion we have on the poorer side of town. It has a sign up saying “has anyone seen our missing shopping carts? If you have any info on our carts, please let us know. If we run out of carts, we will have to close down the store”.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I was just at the Las Cruces store two days ago, and not a single person I talked to could tell me where I could find freaking gloves. Miserable. Didn’t notice the sign though…

  36. tc4b says:

    Can you call the # to complain the associates are bugging the piss out of you?

  37. Anonymous says:

    It’s incredibly hard to get employees to buy into the idea of offering good customer service. I have seen car dealerships with a phone on the showroom floor that rings directly to the GM/Owner’s cell phone for exactly the same purpose. The guy at the top gets it, but the hourly guy on the sales floor couldn’t care less as long as he gets his paycheck on time. I say more power to ‘em. But I guess they could have typed it correctly.

  38. darcygreen says:

    I am not surprised by this. I have worked part-time at HD for over 5 years. The company treats the VOC survey (“voice of the customer” survey found at the bottom of the receipt) like gospel. This sign at the door is probably the result of low ratings and bad comments. If only this company put as much emphasis into customer service as it does into pushing their credit card.

  39. skloon says:

    Last few times I was in the Depot the service was scary, it was like I had private shoppers, Must have been my unshaven look complete with the jacket & pants my wife wants to throw out. The employees were scaring me with asking to help.

  40. cmdrsass says:

    There’s a fine line between assisting customers and hassling them, but the associates should always be available if you need one.

  41. failurate says:

    Why do they seem so awkward about doing something they should know how to do? They are acting like this is their first time doing this whole customer service thing.

  42. thumpcbd says:

    I notice in my neighborhood that Home Depot have switched places, I used to never get help and have to search out assistance at Home Depot no matter what time of day it was while Lowes always had someone helpfull present. Now they have switched and at Lowes and I can’t find anyone, while HD has folks stationed all over the store.

    I am now driving about 2 miles further (passing a Lowes) to go to Home Depot because of their vastly improved service.

  43. Sheila Cook says:

    Too little, too late for us Home Depot. We only shop Home Depot if Lowe’s doesn’t have what we need. The employees at Lowe’s are friendlier, the stores are brighter and cleaner than Home Depot.

    Note to Home Depot: When you treat your customers like shit for years your loyal customers get the hint, leave and NEVER come back unless they absolutely have to.

    Home Depot, your employees could carry me through the store and wait on my every whim, but I already know how you are. This is merely temporary and when the economy improves you will be back to your old tricks. No thanks.

  44. vastrightwing says:

    That memo says in effect “we aren’t doing our job, so nag us to do it.” Ha ha ha ha! Forget it, if you don’t know how to treat customers right, it’s not my job to explain it to you.

  45. Cruc says:

    I avoid HD not because of spotty service, but that I’ve come to hate, hate! thier internal phone system. (At volume 11):

    “Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep! Lumber you have a phone call waiting ext ###”

    Two seconds later:

    “Beep beeeep beep beeep beeep beeeeep beeep beeeeeep beeep! Plumbing pick up ####”

    One second later:

    “Beeep beep beeep beeep beeep beep! Untelligible gibbberish, untelligible gibberish, untelligible gibberish”

    Five seconds later:

    “Beeep beep beep beep beep! Assistant manager, please pick up extension ###”

    Immediately afterwards:

    “Beep beeeep beeeeeep beeeeeeep beeeep beep beeep beeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeep! Untelligble Spanish accent imploring some one to pickup something, somewhere!”

    And, on and on and on and on. I swear, the employees must be used to it, but as a customer it’s bloody horrible to hear EVERY-TWO SECONDS for the entire 30 minutes I’m there on a busy day. I can’t believe its been this way for as long as it has.

    Lowes on the other hand has cleaner stores, and more importantly, a paging/intercom/phone system that overtly doesn’t annoy thier customers.

    C-

  46. kiltman says:

    @ theblackdog
    They have quite a few stores open in Mexico. Costco too

  47. Ozyman666 says:

    Hold it … there’s a NEW Mexico?

  48. Anonymous says:

    Gotta be better than the time I went to my local store, asked where they kept the hammers, and got told I’d have to go to a hardware store for something like that!

  49. Andi Lee says:

    I’ve always hated going into the big home improvement stores because the customer service is usually lacking. So many aisles and only so many workers have left me yelling at random employees passing by, even those with other customers, to get a point in the right direction or to give a heads up to someone working in the area. I’m glad I only have to go so often.

  50. Drew Dowdell says:

    I’m a landlord so I’m in home improvement stores all the time. I always hated to go to HD because there service was so bad, but they were closer than Lowes.

    Ever since the turn of the year, Home Depot’s service has improved dramatically! There is always an orange apron around to help you if you need it and they seem to have 1 or 2 people stationed up in front of the cash registers at all times asking people walking by if they need help finding anything. It’s kind of like Capt. Peacock from “Are You Being Served?”. They are persistent too…. almost to the level of being annoying… but it’s a nicer kind of annoying than being ignored.

  51. RevRagnarok says:

    I just read this to my wife, who used to work there for a few months. She laughed and said that for every key she’s ever needed since that job, she’s just walked up to the machine and made the thing herself after tiring of waiting for some lackey. ;)

  52. Tijil says:

    I appreciate a sign like that. It lets you know how to get a manager’s attention to clear a problem “right now,” and at least gives the feeling that thy actually do want to do something about it.

    I’d like to see similar signs at more retail locations…

  53. runswithscissors says:

    I’m glad to see an effort. If there was a phone at the exit in many stores I go to that had the same offer (pick this phone up to talk to the manager, who is committed to improving your experience!) then I’d be a lot happier with most of my shopping. Not that I’m demanding, I just have that meek look about me that screams to employees “ignore this guy! he won’t make a fuss!”.

    That said, I always felt there were 3 types of employees at my local HD:

    1) The Gazelles. These were by far the most common employee. You would only catch a glimpse of them off in the distance as they would lock eyes with you, freeze for a half-second, then sprint off into the Savannah.

    2) The Squeaky-Voiced Teen (name stolen from the Simpsons). This is the kid who when you ask him where they keep the, oh say, copper pipe cutters and he looks baffled for a few seconds, then stammers “uh… uh… well… uh… we have some… hammers… over like… there?”.

    3) The Oddly Overexperienced Former Contractor. Why does he work there? No one knows. Some say he went nuts one day on a job with the nail gun. Others say it was sniffing carpenters glue. Whatever it is, he knows a lot. Too much. And he takes pleasure in demonstrating it. “Hi, where can I find some MDF quarter round?” you ask him, and he leans back a little, looks you up and down, puts his thumbs in his suspenders, and asks you back “Well, what grommet diameter are you installing it on? Cuz if you have spacer trimans across the grommet brackets and you don’t shore them up with tailor trusses, then you’ll get cracks through your support joists and you’ll lose the whole wall, I reckon.”

  54. trujunglist says:

    I think they should probably post this at the ENTRANCE rather than the exit, when people are already all pissed off and ready to high tail it out of there.

  55. Mike Ellis says:

    In Winnipeg, there are now greeters who ask you if they help you find something the second you walk in the door. Total opposite of the past at HD.

  56. Chris Holland says:

    My recent Home Depot experience:

    Attempted to purchase a box of 1000 staples for my staple gun. Box is $3.95. Get to checkout, box rings up $39.50. I point out the error, and cashier says ‘Sorry, can’t help, it is what it is’.

    I asked her if it made sense that a single box of staples would cost $39.50. Cashier says ‘Sorry, I’m not responsible for the prices.’

    I ask for the manager. 30 minutes later, manager arrives. She asks ‘What my problem is’. I explain, and she sighs and asks me why i didn’t just go get a different box of staples if I didn’t like the price.

    I walk her to the shelf with the staples, and point out that the SKU on the box and the SKU on the shelf match…the shelf says $3.95.

    We return to the customer service desk, and after she plays around with the computer, she discovers that when they ‘scanned the inventory in’ they scanned the single packs in under the bulk pack pricing. It’s corrected, I give her a $5 bill and leave.

    I didn’t get an apology, a thank you for pointing the error out or anything…just an attitude and some grunts.

    I would also like to point out that they have the Wal-Mart syndrome…10 checkouts, but never more than one open at any given time. Lines are typically well into the shopping aisles.

    I figured the problems were just because I live in Memphis, but evidently this is a nationwide phenomena.

  57. metaled says:

    How about their $0.50 per piece “cut fee”? My truck was in the shop, 10′ poplar would not fit in my car. Could not find a person to cut it for me (had them call several times!), it looked like it was a common occurance since there were several NEW hand saws in the isle that others had used. *I* Spent 1 minute cutting it in half, when they rang it up, they charged me $0.50 per piece as a cut fee! That was 50 cent for EACH PIECE of the same board that had only 1 CUT!!!!
    I asked the the cashier about it, they charge that fee for the service. I explained that I cut it and that it was only ONE cut. Doesn’t matter, if I found the scrap on the shelf, they would have charged me that price for the cut fee as well. As for me cutting it, I was not allowed to do that! I wish I could have charged them the CUT FEE, especially since I used a hand saw, or a inconvenience fee since no one would cut it for me!
    I use poplar all the time, they lost a lot of sales, now I just order it and wait.

    • nsv says:

      @metaled: Many moons ago when I worked for Home Depot, we only charged the cut fee if someone requested a ridiculous number of cuts. The policy was that we cut lumber so that it will fit in your car, and that’s free. But if you show up with a long list of measurements and expect us to do your project for you, you get to pay for all the cuts.

      The cut fee was written up on the slip with the SKU, not decided upon by the cashier.

      There was very little about HD that was reasonable when I was there, but that policy made sense.

      • metaled says:

        @nsv: Northridge Calif. Store. It was the only thing I went in for that day and it was added by the computer, store policy. The poplar was sold by the foot, no slip or SKU’s or anything…. that was the topper on a long list of problems I’ve had at 4 HD stores. I hate them with a passion now. (besides Poplar costing 2x the going retail rate, I won’t even mention Maple!)
        I have every conceivable saw at home (several in my truck), I wouldn’t even trust them cutting butter!

  58. BillyDee_CT says:

    Now that there’s a new Lowes within driving distance of the Home Depot near me I’ve shopped at Home Depot for the last time. I wrote to H-D corporate and they couldn’t be bothered to contact me, so I can’t be bothered to spend my money there.

    Fair trade?

  59. WoodyXJS says:

    I just wish they would stop asking “can I help you” and just be around when I have a question, I’m in that place at least once a day and there have been MAJOR changes over the last few months, some for the good others, not so much. There is a fine line between good customer service and annoying your customers.

  60. Anonymous says:

    There was a time when Home Depot was a place for contrators,builders and tradesmen to be able to get nearly all the materials they needed.Now,those people have to go elsewhere in order to fulfill their orders.HD is more of a grocery store for the “weekend warrior” carpenters.Their materials are warped,twisted or bent due to their practice of storing them in extreme heat,drying most of the woods to abnormal conditions.I go in to my local HD and the staff usually doesn`t know shit about what I want but will always call the manager.Give me the lumber yards they put out of business but couldn`t replace

  61. HogwartsAlum says:

    I don’t go to HD because it’s clear on the other side of town. But the Lowes on my side is hit or miss; some days I find a helpful person, some days not.

    Whenever I go into the Tools section, however, the male employees won’t help me (I’m female). One time I was looking for drill bits and a CUSTOMER had to help me find them.

    I can’t win with them. The best thing is to just wait til Saturday and go to the Ace hardware downtown. They almost always have what I need and are VERY friendly and helpful. I’d rather give them my money even if it means I have to put off my project for a couple of days.

  62. ShadowFalls says:

    I don’t understand the criticism. I haven’t had a single bad experience with Home Depot to date. But their customer service has gotten better. I recently purchased alot of heavy items and the cashier asked if I needed help with them and I said yes. In no less than 1 minute someone was helping me.

    It seems that Home Depot at least is making an effort. Regardless of reason, it is something that is good to see. Many companies seem to have forgotten that good customer service is tied to profits and isn’t just some additional expense.

  63. JasonRyanIsaksen says:

    It’s amazing that the CEO decided downgrading their employees to save money was a good idea. That place is huge, most people go there needing advice on a project, let alone where to find something. Also self serve checkout lanes without offering something like a 5 percent discount was a horrible idea. One piece of that gutter downspout or PVC pipe doesn’t have a bar code on it and they guy behind you trying to buy a ball peen hammer or a machete starts looking pretty miffed at you.

    It’s good they’re trying to change things though, got to give them credit for that. The big challenge they have is finding people who know how to tile, paint, or have experience in construction but will work for the wages they offer. It might actually be easier for them to hire people in those trades because nobody is building or selling houses these days.

  64. Anonymous says:

    I just got let go for tardiness. Six years and an excellent service reputation in the community. I was the shark on the floor and have over 10 years of experience. If you want to deal with not much more then a bunch of snot nosed kids or associates that are threatened on a daily bases. The last I heard there is an initiative that if they see poor service you could be dismissed.

    Again threaten the associate with the doom and gloom.
    Next time your there ask the associate how they are treated and do they like working there.

  65. thpdg says:

    I saw an associate in Target walk back up and down the aisles looking for a customer to correct his mistaken directions. I thought that was really nice of him!
    When he found her, and led her to the correct spot, she seemed very happy!

  66. Anonymous says:

    I visit the Home Depot in New Rochelle New York on 3/18/09 and it was a damm shame, service was very poor, lines were long, and there was very few sales people working.Whats the matter hire some people. Lots of folks are looking for work. I Had to put the stuff down and leave,It was taking up too much of my time.store are dirty, and shelf are not stock properly.I can just imagine what goes on the weekends.

  67. wellfleet says:

    I love the cynicism here, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I have always had a great experience when going to HD. Got great advice on how to fix the door frames my cat clawed to pieces and everything I needed so the job turned out perfectly. I was clueless and the associate took his time and explained everything. Last time I was in I was looking for plating advice on a Norfolk Pine I got that was in rough shape. The guy recommended the plater size plus all the other stuff and now thetree is thriving. I think that instead of going into big boxes with a massive chip on our shoulder, we can go in and let ourselves be surprised…

  68. u1itn0w2day says:

    NinjaMarion : A good observation on knowing or predicting how an employee will actually do on the job .

    The reliance on a computer to prescreen your applicants takes away too much . I would venture to say a lot of babies get thrown out with the bath water with computers as do a lot of devils get through the process . If you know what to put on the application or what to answer on the tests you get hired . But is that the best way to find employees ?

    I think that’s why everyone seems or acts the same in a store – because of computerized hiring .

  69. HomeDepotInfo says:

    I work at The Home Depot and wanted to join this discussion. As a company we are focused on improving customer service, and it’s great to see our Las Cruces store get creative like this. Improving customer service is a main focus for us. We hear from customers every day who are seeing these changes; and feedback from customers on this site and others is an important part of our efforts to identify where more resources are needed.

    What I particularly like about this sign is that it is clearly an effort designed by someone within the aisles of that store – not a packaged corporate message from offices far away from this community. I enjoy hearing about specific, unique ways our stores are getting back to our customer-focused culture. That means our Las Cruces store is moving in the right direction and has the culture in place to focus on our customers.

    Sarah, Home Depot Communications
    Atlanta, Ga.

  70. Anonymous says:

    At least at Home Depot, I haven’t had to show a clerk that a “1/4-20 x 3″ bolt actually existed! At Lowe’s, I sent my sister to get four of them to secure her son’s bed, and the “Hardware Assistant” informed her in no uncertain terms that there was “no such thing”…

  71. HogwartsAlum says:

    Sarah/HomeDepotInfo, that’s great, but I think it would be better if all companies went back to the old, gold standard of excellent customer service (and paying their employees a living wage!) that used to be the NORM. Now when we hear about good customer service, or an effort to reinstate it, it seems as if it’s the exception. Which is why sites like this one exist.

  72. tworld says:

    That is the stupidest sign I have ever seen. What a pathetic sign of the times (no pun intended).

    Instead of having sign makers on the staff, why don’t they hire people who understand what “customer service” means.

  73. Anonymous says:

    at 6.40 PM on Sat. 21st of March 2009 I went to 980 3rd Ave. NYC 10022 Home Depot location to repeat my prev. purchase of Epoxi paint. I encountered a very united gang of 3 at the paint desk.a woman and two men.I was attacked and lynched and traumatized with rude treatment .I finally paged the manager but Fitmi was absent ,instead a nasty man name Steve Jandovitz came along and went into a coference behind the desk only to come out and say we don’t have epoxi paint any more.And for my complaint I could not have any of these 3’s names but only his and since THIS IS MY STORE(he declared!)I want you not to buy from us any more.He and the rest of the criminals surrounded me and threatened me and not only I did not get to place my re-order but I felt like I was going to be physically harmed by this monster.Please break up this nast alliance against costomers and uproot this infected liability in that store.I have shoped there for 2 years and had never been this badly abused.

  74. barty says:

    While I have had no problems getting help when looking for something, Home Depot’s return/exchange process SUCKS!

    Up until a couple of years ago, an exchange could be processed at any register in the store. So if I needed to swap something out, I’d go find the correct item, go to a register, and they’d do the rest.

    Now, you are FORCED to go to the returns register, which inevitably never has anyone there to process returns because they are doing double or triple duty working the customer service/special order desk. Or there are 3-4 people in line, most missing receipts but wanting a credit back to their card or cash refunds. Instead of voiding the current transaction, they just stand their idly while the bozos yak on their cell phones trying to get someone to find the receipt. All that just to try to exchange a $3 item!!

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      @barty: I’ve been in line waiting to checkout several times when a cashier waived me over to what I thought was full service checkout ( not lit as self checkout ) . Here it was self check-out which I loathe . So rather than watch me fumble through the transaction the cashier did it for me . There have been other times where I think I’m to going to a full serve checkout and again it’s self checkout and at least one time the cashier stood ,filed her nails and tried instructing me without moving her feet .

      If I use self check out I want a discount . I refuse to use voluntarily use them . The prices are high enough to justify an actual cashier .

      Home Depot puts a sign on the door asking if there’s anything they can do for the customer and yet trying to get an actual cashier half time is a wait .

  75. weaselbit says:

    The manger’s just trying to do the best job he can, even if the employees do not.

    He’s just doing a better job.
    Good for him.

  76. MyDarlin says:

    Ha! I wish that had been in my HD last night. It was a Tuesday night and not a soul was in site. There were about 20 or so customers wandering around and 2 check out stands open. No employees to be found helping customers. We walked around in the lumber department for 15 mins unable to find help and then we gave up and left. What a joke! I wish small scale hardware/lumber stores still existed…at least in So. Maryland!

  77. Anonymous says:

    Home Depot has one particular problem, no matter if the associate is part time or full time, the manager is the oppurtunity. He or she is the reason for the failure of that particular store. The company does not put leaders in the managers position, they put incompitent, egotistical, pulse salary failures. Look at it’s last CEO.

  78. Anonymous says:

    Their customer service still sucks in Santa Clara. After getting help from a Saleswoman for a bathroom vanity, she walks away to help a couple for a kitchen while in the middle of helping me then says she’ll get someone to help me but no one ever appears. I was livid after waiting 30 minutes more then walking out and calling the manager.