Round 42: Home Depot vs Wellpoint

This is Round 42 in our Worst Company in America contest, Home Depot vs Wellpoint!

Here’s what readers said in previous rounds about why they hate these two companies…

Home Depot:

“These are the guys who took four tries to get my living room carpet installed, coming by three times with defective carpeting. They sent the same defective roll out to my house twice, and before the third try the installation coordinator in the store swore up and down that the new roll had been opened and checked in the store before it was brought out– lies, it was still sealed in the factory bag and it, too was defective. The first two installation crews spoke no English at all, and one of them cut himself on the tack strips and wiped his blood all over my freshly painted walls. And the first crew came out with someone else’s measuring and cutting instructions, and no clue how to get the right ones. I called the store and had it faxed to my house so they could get started.

And I’m looking for someone now two and a half years later to come back and reinstall it correctly since it’s rippling all over the place from not being stretched and anchored properly in the first place. Bastards. “

“I’ve never really gotten the impression at Home Depot that they give a damn about what I need. Especially when the area is also surrounded by Lowes stores.”

“After spending 5 years of my life working for home depot (they offer tuition reimbursement….sweet sweet college tuition money), my vote will go to home depot. I can’t even begin to describe the horror stories. 8000$ cabinet orders being ordered wrong…3 different times, then blaming the customer for the designer’s mistakes. Installers faulty wiring their kitchen leading to electrical fires, basement flooding, not honoring warranties (extended or normal 90 days), not honoring signs….sweet jesus I could go on forever.”

Home Depot certainly did a number on me when it came to installing two external doors on my house. They got them both crooked, and one had a gap so large that the wind blew through it. The guy spent 2-3 days trying to install them, even staying until 4am. He was CLEARLY incompetent. He brought his girlfriend/wife with him to nag at him.

Home Depot’s solution? No, we won’t look at it to see if it was done right. But we’ll be happy to send the same guy back to do even more work. Oh? You refuse to let him work at your house ever again? There’s nothing more I can do. Okay. I’ll mark this job as “complete”.

Yes. For real.

BONUS: The crackpot installer, I am told by two people at Home Depot, was promoted to the position as an installation manager in Arkansas.

My further folly: A year or two later, I paid Home Depot to come look at the mess (which they agreed was f’ed up) and then they charged me $300 to fix it. “Because I didn’t complain while it was in warranty.”

Of course, I complained and complained when it was in warranty. Even wrote a letter to the store manager (who never replied and then was replaced). But their only solution was to keep sending the incompetent fool back out to my house.

I’ve since switched to Lowe’s for everything. “

“I had a really bad experience with Home Depot this winter.

I bought some carpet from them to be installed. It was the nicest stuff I found for what I wanted to spend. I was given a rough quote based on my own measurements (46 sq yards) and set up dates.

I was told they’d match an installation price from Lowes. Then after they came out to measure (for which I paid $50 just for that), they told me they *wouldn’t* price match, because it was different carpet. (Lowes doesn’t carry that exact model.)

Then they tell me that although I have 46 sq yards of space, but they must sell me 56 sq yards of carpet (and 56 sq yards of padding!), because it comes in rolls. At this point if I wanted any carpet installed before Christmas, I had no choice and had to pay the inflated cost, and did.
But HD will never get another dime from me again.”

“Home Depot because they take advantage of people who think they are the experts (or at least semi-qualified) and don’t know any better. Their asshattery affects a lot more people in much worse ways.”

“Isn’t Home Depot the one that sent a contractor, who was also a registered sex offender, to a female customer’s home?”

“Home depot sells it’s lumber at loss when it comes to town to put local competitors out of business. As soon as they close up shop, prices skyrocket.”

“Ive only had one good service experience and that was from the door greeter who did his best to help me find glue (the actual guy who KNEW where it was didnt bother to help me after pointing it out.

“Glue’s right there, its all the same, bye”. “

“”replaced them with surly low-paid workers”.. Boy is this ever true. We have completely given up going to HD for anything. The people working there are total morons. They don’t know how to do a damn thing and they act like you’re bothering them when you try to order something that’s not stocked…Bunch of f*ing idiots!”

“I had to vote for Home Depot, primarily because of their former CEO Robert Nardelli. He has to one of the worst when it comes to the “heads I win, tails you lose” style of corporate leadership. He’s the one primarily responsible for turning Home Depot into a joke.

His stupidest idea was the effort to get into contractor sales. So long as HD is selling ‘installation services’ that makes them direct competitors with the local contractors. If I were one of the latter, why in the world would I do anything to help HD’s bottom line.

Last but not least, you have to admire Nardelli’s diabolical genius: he was able to walk away from his legacy of incompetence and mediocrity with over $240 million in compensation. Like I said, “Heads I win, tails you lose.””

“Just this weekend, it took them 40 minutes to check in a rental sod cutter I was returning. The problem? The guy had thrown in ramps “for free” so I could roll the thing in and out of my van. However, the “free” ramps ended up being $8, a charge which they didn’t show me until the contract was “closed.” It took them about 35 minutes to figure out how to open the contract back up and delete the cost of the ramps.

When I was renting the sod cutter, they had 2 in stock, one with a full tank of gas and one empty. They tried to push the empty one on me. WTF???

Oh, and the previous time I rented equipment from them, the guy tore up the door gasket in my van, then proceeded to swear at me for his decision to help me load the equipment. Home Depot’s insurance paid for a new gasket and I got an apology from the guy’s manager for that one.”

“My last trip to Home Depot was to involve getting a piece of material cut, only to have a nice old man tell me that the cutter is broken and he has asked management to get it fixed for weeks now and he is pretty sure that they will never bother to fix it because that would cost money. At least he was honest!”

“The managers at Home Depot are little more than gatekeepers. They just open and close the doors, they have no real authority. Everything is micromanaged from Atlanta, even the air conditioning is tied to the weather there!”

“My vote goes to Home Depot, if only because its stores in Central Florida haven’t banned con man/handy man Jim Metts from trolling for victims in its aisles. A link to the latest development in his saga is here, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel”

” It’s American big business in general. American corporations reduce customers to sheer numbers. The individual consumer is meaningless. Stock price is all that counts

Rather than spend a God damned dime on customer relations, companies will instead spend billions on asinine TV and print ads touting how wonderful they are and how they LOVE their freespirited customers.

All their ads use the same basic formula: HAPPY HAPPY CHEERFUL INTELILGENT employees who in turn are EAGER top help and serve HAPPY HAPPY CHEERFUL customers.

If you, the individual, don’t have the same HAPPY HAPPY experience in real life, then YOU are the problem. Probably because you hate America. It certainly couldn’t be the fault of our company. Heaven forbid.

Rather than build a company’s reputation on solid customer care, quality and service, most companies find it more economical and profitable to create the ILLUSION of customer care, quality and service through expensive TV ads.”

“out here in the pacific northwest home depot is using general contractors who refuse to hire union workers. specifically, carpenters. guess lower wages are the reasoning behind the former ceo’s 300 million dollar golden parachute, right? don’t know about you but i no longer shop home depot, period.”

“I work weekends at HD, where we’re forced to use 19th century (or so they seem) Dell computers. Both suck, but I voted HD because our equipment is always broken, we carry far more products than we can reasonably fit on the shelves, and we’re severly understaffed. Today, I covered 6 departments.”

I have worked for the Home Depot for a number of years. I voted for the Home Depot, and I hate Dell. HD stores are completely understaffed, and it might get worse. This is a bottom line issue for corporate. I once inquired at a district meeting as to the problem of having only 5 associates covering an entire store during the hours of 6-9 am. The response from district leadership was to respond to my question with a question “How many customers do you help between the hours of 6-9 am?”. You early morning shoppers are NOT important to the business.

TRUE: Stores replaced master electricians/plumbers/generally useful retired workers with underpaid kids who don’t give a frack if you leave unhappy.

TRUE: Since the replacement of Bob Nardelli, stores have been required to rehire one experienced plumber and one experienced electrician per store. My store fulfilled this requirement with 2 kids in their late 20’s who studied in each trade, but never made master.

But my biggest problem with the Home Depot is their hypocritical stance about going ‘green’. Over last weekend we handed out earth bags and pamphlets about how to save the earth. Tomorrow we are celebrating earth day.

TRUE: Today we threw away a cart load of brand new sockets, socket extensions, and other brand spanking new hand tools that were on clearance that wouldn’t sell. Because it is better to put them into a landfill than donate them or sell them on the cheap. This happens EVERY DAY. Light fixtures, ladders, tile, wire, virtually anything in the store, if it doesn’t sell, we are forced to put it into a dump rather than donate/sell at a significant loss.

Today a woman asked me to get a yellow tagged discounted fountain down for her. It was marked ~$50. When she got to the register, it rang up .01. ONE PENNY. The cashier asked me what to do, and if I had followed company policy, I would have denied her the fountain she wanted, taken it and put it in the trash. That was the ‘Right’ thing to do, according to THD. I gave a generic sku and charged the woman $20. It was originally $299.

But honestly, many of the complaints I am reading here are just bad luck with bad people, possibly with bad moods. I am not without sin. On a day to day basis, I am either the best associate you can encounter, or the biggest prick you have ever met. I will cut you deals that you won’t believe, or I will make you feel stupid and inferior if you rub me the wrong way. We are instructed to discount merchandise if customers mention they want to look elsewhere. I was commanded to do this by a “Senior Merchandising Executive” for the company. If we are out of a product, and you are told you can come back and get it in X number of days, that associate is not doing his job. We are supposed to offer you the next best product for the same price you wanted to pay. If you mention you want to go to Lowes/other local competitor to shop around, we are instructed to discount merchandise, even if it is only comparable, not exactly the same.

FRAK THD and every money grubbing, faceless multinational earth-raping corporation. FRAK Capitalism. “


“HMO that believes colonoscopies don’t hurt beat incompetent cable companies any day.”

“HMO’s have been a thorn in the side of the health care industry that needs to be pulled and burned. More people have died under their care from bureaucratic stupidity vs being insured by a regular insurer, even BCBS.”

“$2600 root canal – they covered about $435. filling? $16. right, like any licensed dentist is going to do a filling for $16. the freaking novocaine dose costs more. it’s at the point that i’m trying to convince my employer to drop the dental coverage & switch us over to a savings plan w/ some sort of employer contribution.”

“Personal information that may have included Social Security numbers and pharmacy or medical data for about 128,000 WellPoint Inc. customers in several states was exposed online over the past year, the health insurer said Tuesday.”

“I don’t want market forces to decide whether I should go see that doctor for that infection. No gas for a thing shoved up your ass? Not a chance.”

“I just had a colonoscopy done. No freaking way would I get it without sedation. With sedation, the worst part was the prep. I wasn’t even aware they had done anything as I went right to la-la land and woke up an hour or so later feeling more or less funky-fresh.”

STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: Wal-Mart vs Citibank, Capital One vs ATT, Sallie Mae vs eBay/Paypal, TransUnion vs Diebold, Best Buy vs CompUSA, DeBeers vs Verizon, Exxon vs United Airlines, Sony vs Ticketmaster, Comcast vs The American Arbitration Association


Edit Your Comment

  1. ptkdude says:

    My vote is for Home Depot because any company that “forgets” to program their robot checkouts to say “thank you” deserves to win it all.

  2. NewPerfection says:

    I’m going for Home Depot as well. Those are some pretty bad horror stories, and I’ve heard even more from people who used to be employees of Home Depot.

  3. nrich239 says:

    I’ve worked for HD as well as doing phone support for Medicare (whom Wellpoint was a customer)…and as bad as HD has gotten, my vote still goes to Wellpoint.

    They would call us and could not for the life of them understand that they all needed separate ID’s for the medicare system. “No! You can not all use the same ID. Not only for security reasons (information theft), the system limits each ID to one login at a time”

    Man, I’m glad I no longer work that job…….

  4. Juggernaut says:

    Seems like either way you go you’re taking it in the ass with this one.

    /I’ll leave now

  5. dr.zaeus says:

    Ah, the radio buttons are back!

    No more double voting.

  6. Norcross says:

    Seems like a lot of the issues are with HD’s contractors, and not them personally. The store near me in St. Petersburg FL has some of the most helpful staff I’ve ever seen in ANY store. The other day, an associate took about 20 minutes to go over the different patio furniture available, including what was going on sale the next weekend, and some decent chairs that were tucked off to the side. All this knowing we weren’t buying anything that day.

  7. Shaftoe says:

    I vote well point but that is because I have never had a bad experience from HD. though it think the moral here is to not use them for contractors. And lets face it that is not their core competency, they are a retail outlet not a contractor.

  8. ARP says:

    Wellpoint- My basic criteria for evaluating these companies is 1) how evil they are and 2) if there is a meaningful choice to them- can you REALISTICALLY AND REASONABLY shop somewhere else for an alternative to them. For many, Wellpoint is their only choice as their employers choose them.

  9. trujunglist says:

    HMO’s are really cleaning up. I guess people realize that getting ripped off on a carpet installation isn’t as bad as getting denied a replacement kidney installation.

  10. @ARP: THIS. I can always go to Lowes (our new one cut my drive time in half). One is usually stuck with the HMO one picks for a year at a time, and the choice usually boils down to which one sucks the least. Still, anyone who even suggests that someone can undergo a colonoscopy without drugs ought to have one done that way by the worst Dr. Nick in their plan.

  11. IrisMR says:

    …I think I’ll vote for Home Depot just because your list of hatred is so long.

  12. IrisMR says:

    Oh BTW, a PS: Colonoscopies don’t need sedation. People need to stop hitting that nail. After you go through the TERRIBLE prep, having a tube shoved up down there is a walk in the park. You’ll just have the worst case of gas you ever had.

  13. insideHD says:

    This is a toss up. Though, can you consider Wellpoint a company? They seem more like thieves, and are the byproduct of the capitalist money grubbing system we choose to be a part of. I guess THD is as well though. At least with THD, you are getting something tangible, even if it is crap. With Wellpoint and every other health insurance company, we are forced to give money to every payday, and we often don’t get help from them when we need it.

  14. @IrisMR: I’ll agree with you on one thing. Fleet Phospho-Soda is teh sux0r. Pure misery. Next time, I should bring an iPod and a good book for when I’m spending an hour at a time on the porcelain throne.

  15. sprocket79 says:

    I voted for Home Depot. I just tense just thinking about walking into their store. The last time I went in, they basically accused me of tag switching because I had the nerve to buy something on clearance. All of my business now is exclusively OSH’s where the store is a reasonable size and there are always a plethora of employees asking to help me.

  16. blackmage439 says:

    My mom worked a short stint at HD. They refused to work with her in regards to her schedule. Management basically said, “quit, or you’re fired.” My mom is the nicest lady you’ll ever meet, and she loves to learn. Just one less number and one less kind employee. Even though I HATE Jimmie “Cheat” Johnson, and love Tony Stewart’s fence climbing, I have to say:

    F%^& YOU, HOME DESPOT! <–(Yes, that was intentional)

  17. JustaConsumer says:

    I know folks that used to work at Home Depot. I will never shop there. They treat their employees like crap and their “experts” are BS artists.

  18. JDAC says:

    I find that healthcare companies who have some kind of pointer in the name, tend to do the opposite. “Well”point, United health”care”. You get the gist.

  19. howie_in_az says:

    Voted Home Depot because they no longer carry the Pergo flooring we had our hearts settled on.

  20. edosan says:

    I have no idea who Wellpoint is and Home Depot has always been okay to us, so I guess I’m sitting this round out.

  21. scoosdad says:

    Hey! That was my quote right at the top of the Home Depot section about the failed attempt to install my carpets and the bloody wall and the wrong cutting instructions. Ben, if I had known I could have sent you some pictures.

    That was the Home Depot in Auburn, MA on Rt. 20, for the record.

    Not sure how I’d vote on this one though. A colonoscopy without sedation trumps a bloody wall and defective carpeting in my book.

  22. AaronZ says:

    I don’t even care who wellpoint is.

    Home Depot completely raped me on a carpet installation and I’ll never shop there again.

  23. vladthepaler says:

    I’ve never heard of Wellpoint but I voted for them because I have heard of Home Depot, I shop there regularly and I’ve never had any trouble. Employees are often helpful, e.g. walking me to where something is instead of just telling me an aisle number. The country is full of companies that are worse than Home Depot.

  24. Empire says:

    Trying to deny coverage long enough for the patient to die so they never have to pay is pretty much the standard HMO business model. To the best of my knowledge, Home Depot never deliberately killed anyone. Wellpoint FTL.

  25. IrisMR says:

    @Steaming Pile: Tell me about it. I never thought my intestines contained THAT MUCH stuff… And the actual drink is TERRIBLE! Tasted like ultra mega concentrate lemonade of DEATH

  26. Lambasted says:

    I am not voting for Home Depot. Not when it’s the only major hardware store around. For some reason Lowes is almost nonexistent in my area. There’s three Home Depots within a 3-5 mile radius but the nearest Lowes is far enough away that it isn’t worth the drive. Shame because I really like Lowes, but I guess Home Depot muscled them out.

    Home Depot needs more variety of merchandise in stock. I am not always thrilled with their selection. But their prices are pretty good.

  27. vanderleun says:

    Home Depot: Where America USED TO get its building supplies.

  28. JustaConsumer says:

    Home Depot seemed like the odds on favorite. If I ever see Wellpoint, I will be sure to walk the other way.

  29. This is all moot. Whoever wins in the Citi / Wal-Mart battle will ravage either one of these in about three seconds.

    Seriously folks, Talk about an easy road to teh Elite 8 (not that either company deserves our pity).