Lowes Blows

Dear Consumerist:

So here’s the scoop, I went to my friendly neighborhood Lowes Home Improvement store last night in search of 2 gallons of paint. A seemingly innocuous task that resulted in a situation I’ve never quite experienced before. How does 2 gallons of paint start all this trouble? I’m sure I don’t know, but the letter I’ve written to Lowes via their website is something I wanted to pass along to Consumerist.

Let’s Build Something Together… indeed. Just as long as it’s not an inconvenience for one of us.

We’re sure the sanctimonious anoraks among you will quickly seize Randy’s letter in your sweaty maws and rip it apart, saying he shouldn’t get so upset over the haughty attitude of one Lowe’s employee over two buckets up paint. No doubt, that Ryan picked up the wrong base paint and so deserves mockery will figure prominently in your screeds. Before you do that, read the entire letter, imagine walking into a store you’ve given good money, and then being insulted by one of its employees in front of your family for no good reason.

If after that, you feel not a twinge of empathy, by all means, break out your greasy rapiers and rusty hacksaws.

The fact remains, Ryan was dissed, he’s pissed, and he’s not shopping at Lowes aynmore. His missive, after the jump…

Randy’s letter to Lowe’s is as follows

“I am writing this tonight because I have put up with my last inconsiderate, unhelpful employee that your store has seen fit to offer me since moving into the area only 4 years ago. It’s been a love/hate relationship where for a few moments I can get expert customer service and just when things are looking up I am greeted (or, completely ignored) by someone who would be better off flipping burgers than attempting to answer a home improvement question. Without going into particulars of the past because the past is no longer relevant I will explain the incident that put things over the edge.

Tonight my family ventured into Lowes in search of 2 gallons of Exterior Paint. We walked in the paint aisle and identified the paint base we wanted. Sitting in a wire holder right in front of that paint was a color guide for exterior paint. We identified the color we needed for this very simple project and brought both the paint and the color guide to the paint desk. In year’s past I have done this and the paint employee takes the paint, adds the dye, shakes it, checks it, and I’m on my way.

Tonight I watched what appeared to be the only employee in the area hold a completely non-work relevant conversation with another person for 5 minutes while ignoring us. After 5 minutes a new employee happened upon the desk and asked if we were being helped. We answered that we were not and just needed these 2 gallons of paint in this color. This seemed to be a very simple task. Apparently I do not know enough about paint.

Mr. Employee (sorry I didn’t get his name) let us know that we did not have to get the base paint, simply tell them the color and they would go get it for us. On the surface that appeared to be a very nice offer, until he immediately tacked on that we should take back the base that we had chosen and then come back to the desk. Without pausing for any response the then changed his mind and said he would take it back and get the right base while at the same time telling us and I quote “although it’s a major inconvenience, I will go back and get the right base.” Yes. Those words will be etched in my mind until the day I die.

Your employee, through an act of the most sheer stupidity and ignorance I have ever experienced, managed to cost you a customer for life. Over the past year Lowes hung on by a thread and earned my purchase of a vinyl shed along with accompanying wood to construct the base. No small project. In the near future I have planned a complete flooring upgrade as well as paint and some tile work on the walls. Over 2 gallons of paint, your employee has cost you those sales.

It’s very unfortunate that I was an inconvenience by going into the aisle and picking out the base I needed then grabbed the color chart that was so intelligently placed by the base that I was buying and brought it up to the counter so the employee would not have to go 35 feet to get it. Of course, I’m still confused about the wrong base as I was unaware that a color could not be put into any base.

I believe in the value of customer service over all else. I praise it when it’s needed (as I did when a very exceptional employee saved you a sale on a vinyl shed) and I certainly let everyone know when it’s bad. I’m sure everyone I converse with, both in person and on the Internet, will be happy to hear just exactly how inconvenienced Lowes was over two gallons of paint.”