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Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Trust or Stupidity?

Yesterday I gave myself a full schedule (at least in the morning). Up, exercise, go to Fred Meyer's, meet friend for breakfast--all of this by 7:30. I'm an early riser, no problem with getting up. Exercise, while not my favorite thing, was managed with enough time to shower and get ready to go shopping.

I got to Fred Meyer's and wanted to get some bags of bark mulch on sale. I chased around the garden area looking for it or someone to tell me where to find it. Of course it wasn't obvious and there were no employees in the area. Finally I gave up and headed for the butter. I was planning on 30# but figured stock might be low the last day so I would grab what I could. As I was zooming over to dairy I saw an employee and asked about the mulch. Of course it is WAY outside but she told me to take the coupon to the cashier and she could ring me up and then I could go around and pick up the bags. I was running out of time but I zoomed over and grabbed all the unsalted butter on the shelf (26#). A woman did come over like she wanted butter so I left some and backed off. She went for the salted version so I went back after she was gone and grabbed the rest of the unsalted. Early bird...you know.

Off to the register. My time was running out but I thought if I could get through the line quickly and get some help with the bags of mulch I might still make it. Of course a guy was in front of me who slowed things down but I was on my schedule. I told the cashier I wanted 8 bags. She said she would call back and check on stock so I wouldn't pay for it then have to get credit if they were out. My clock was ticking but I agreed it made sense and I did appreciate her consideration for me as a customer. She called and they said they had only 6 bags left. I said I'd take them all. She rang me up, I ran for the car and shoved the butter into an insulated bag for the wait while I ate breakfast.

I jumped in the car and drove around to the gardening area. I finally saw a group of people and hoped one was an employee. I got out of the car and one of the women came over and looked at me like I was a slug in her garden and asked what I wanted (no, not "can I help you?" but "you want something?"). I explained about the 6 bags of mulch and started to pull out the receipt to show her what I had purchased. She never asked for it--just waved vaguely to an area behind a semi-trailer and said "it is over there behind the truck". No "do you need help?" or "I can show you if you want" help--just "there it is". I got back in the car and drove over to the pallet.

The mulch was there--roughly 15 bags of it. I turned to look back toward the employee but she was completely out of sight. Now, if I had had time, I might have gone back to her and indicated the misinformation and my desire to buy more but I was out of time and I knew I'd be late so I grabbed my 6 bags. I kept thinking while I was putting it in the car. No one cares that I paid for this or what amount I am taking. A less scrupulous person might grab the 8 bags originally requested or take even more than 8 bags and no one would know or care. Obviously they either lied about the quantity or didn't care to look and guessed.

Of course I only took the 6 bags but I kept thinking about how stores are struggling to stay in business and employees are struggling to keep their jobs. With the lack of service and attention--maybe it explains why businesses falter and employees are laid off. It also explains why I don't frequent stores like Fred Meyer's except when a deal pulls me there.

I have to give Home Depot a plug. I've had to go there 3 times for lava rock to resurface a path around my backyard. I'm hoping Debbie will be able to use her leaf blower without blowing away my path as happened with mulch. Every trip to Home Depot (a place I've always considered huge and impersonal) was met with helpful employees asking me if I was finding what I needed as well as an offer of assistance getting the bags into my car. Maybe their mulch is $ .50 more than Fred Meyer's but I think they earn that 50 cents and my return as a customer.


Tags:  yard
3 Comments
reera
I have beeen to Home Depot lately and noticed the improved service as all the other stores have cut back on thier staffing sooo much its extremely frustrating. I have had similar experiences Linda and I am just totally amazed on how little attention is paid to customer service. One of things I like most about Home Depot is their willingness to cut wood to size-its a big help to someone who doesn't have th no how or tools. I went up to one salesman to ask for help finding a coupler for a piece of pipe and all I could do was gesture with my hands, he laughed and said I know just what you need. I had never been a Home Depot fan but this kind of service certainly has changed my mind.
dannie   Sunday, May 17, 2009
I find our local Home Depot has great customer service. However I think their business sense is sorely lacking. Example: I go out carpet shopping yesterday and find a great Berber I like at the locally owned carpet shop. Just for comparison I go over to Home Depot and meet with a sales person in flooring. I find a comparable carpet (maybe slightly less high quality) but not bad. The total comes to $2000.00 less than the carpet shop. I'm feeling really guilty because, especially in this awful economy, I like to support struggling local businesses. Here's the crazy catch....Home Depot uses a subcontractor for instillation. They won't move any electronics or exercise equipment. I am carpeting a loft and a masterbedroom and in order to use Home Depot I would have to move my treadmill down a flight of circular stairs. Now the treadmill has wheels and could be easily moved into the bedroom while the loft is being carpeted and then wheeled back to the loft. Nope...they won't do it. So I called Home Depot today and told them I changed my mind. The same sales girl said "o.k." very non chalant. That was a $5,000.00 sale they lost. Isn't that crazy?? I'm going back to the mom and pop carpet store. I shouldn't have strayed in the first place. I'm sure they will be very happy to move the treadmill.
Leslie   Sunday, May 17, 2009
stevenheinzel
Unfortunately, we do not have a Home Depot in Springfield. Instead we have two Lowes and 2 Menards. This happened to me at the new Menards store soon after it opened. I was going to replace the carpet on my basement steps. I needed an excuse to visit the new Menard's store anyway, so I checked out their stair carpeting. They had something I could live with, but I needed to see what Lowes had, which turned out to be nothing short of "wild". So I went back to the new Menards store, stood and stood to be waited on or to hear "may I help you?" No such luck. (I needed to have someone cut 13 feet of their 26 inch wide stair carpet.) So I went looking for someone, told him what I wanted. He said he would get someone to help me - never explained why he couldn't. He got a young kid to help me. I took the kid to the carpet and rolled it out for him and told him to measure 13 feet, cut it, and tie it for me, please. Now here is where it gets good. He gets out his tape measure, I hold it on the end of the carpet for him and he stretches it out to ten feet and says, "Oh no, my tape is only ten feet long, it isn't long enough, I have to go get a longer tape measure. I'll be right back." My reply was forget it, I'm outta here!
stheinz   Thursday, May 28, 2009
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