Daryl left his grill behind the last time he moved, which was very sad. Now he’s a homeowner and wanted a new one as the grilling season kicks off in the Northeast, where he lives. Still in the box. To assemble himself. If you’re a longtime Consumerist reader, you see where this is going.
Yes, Daryl faced a challenge in finding a grill that had not been pre-assembled. It’s hardware stores’ answer to Geek Squad optimization, we suppose. This isn’t a problem out in rural areas, where many people own or can easily borrow a truck. In a small Northeastern city, in the city proper, like where Daryl lives? Not so many trucks.
We’ve covered this problem in the past: at Home Depot last year, where it seemed like a sneaky way to sell truck rentals, and at Sears in 2011, where it was just kind of pointless, because Sears doesn’t rent trucks to customers.
When I bought a house last year and moved, I left my old grill behind — I moved midwinter, it was buried and it wasn’t a very nice grill. Anyway, I just went out yesterday to buy a new grill at one of the [redacted]-area Lowes stores while I was out doing other shopping. I arrived to the store and checked out in person the one I’d chosen online and found a sales associate to buy one. I told him I’d like one still in the box, not preassembled, so it would fit in my car to take it home. He takes down the item number and goes to find it. He has difficulty finding it. He checks inventory, which insists they have 17 in store. We count how many are assembled (14) to find out how many should still be in boxes (3). He gets a couple other people in on searching for it. Fifty minutes later, someone brings me the grill I wanted “from the warehouse out back”.
As I walk to the registers to check out, I hear another guy ask for a different model of grill, but also not pre-assembled, for the same reasons. I hope his wait was less than mine. I find it hard to believe these places don’t get many requests like this. After all, in an urban environment like the location I went to, most people have a car rather than truck or SUV.
On an only tangentially related note, later in the day I went to Home Depot (which is slightly closer to my house) for a few other things for gardening. I notice that their grill prices at the store are about $20 cheaper than their website says. Had the website accurately reflected the store’s prices (why else would it ask which local store I use?), I would have bought my grill there instead of at Lowes.