I grew up going to little local hardware stores, so I still get a flash of nostalgia whenever I walk into one of those quaint businesses. The smell of sawdust, the old men in their smudgy glasses and work vests, the plastic drawers full of nuts and bolts…there’s something kind of sweet about it all.
The Home Depot, however, drives me bananas.
This isn’t necessarily because of it’s gluttonous enormity or my general disdain for big-box stores. It isn’t because when I was there this morning the Christmas displays seemed to take up an entire quarter of their giganto-store, even though October isn’t even cold in it’s grave yet. It isn’t even because when I don’t know the answer to a question, chances are whoever I’m asking doesn’t know the answer, either. Although let’s be honest – that right there is mind-bogglingly irritating.
No – I don’t put The Home Depot into my ‘dislike and will henceforth avoid shopping there’ category because of any of the above reasons. They get tossed into that category because no one carried my paint.
I’m doing a little remodel at my store, Sprout, which requires some paint. Easy enough, right? My contractor told me to go to Home Depot and gave me detailed instructions as to which paint to buy, so away I went, to do just that, because I am a good helper! Also, because we all know how contractors get in The Home Depot, and I can’t afford to pay for his kid-in-a-candy store play time.
After I’d gotten through the process of picking out said paint as well as some brushes, some rollers, some light bulbs and an air freshener (because why not?!), I paid for my items and then asked if someone could help me load the five-gallon bucket of paint into my car. See, I have a wonky shoulder which does not allow me to do things like hold chunky babies for too long, or to lift giant buckets of liquid. Hoisting five gallons of paint up and out of my shopping cart and then putting it into the back of my car just seemed a bit out of my ability range.
The man I asked for help said he would put in a request for help, adding “but there’s a 50/50 chance anyone will actually show up…let’s see what happens.”
I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally I said nevermind, and told him I’d just figure it out. He asked where I was parked, and told me that if anyone wandered by he’d send them my way. I pointed outside toward my car but my non-helper was looking up into the rafters of the store, as if expecting a strapping, helpful employee to float down from the beams above, eager to assist me in hoisting the weighty burden out of my shopping cart and into my car.
Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
Instead I walked out, peeved, and asked the first man with muscles I could find if he’d mind helping me, to which he happily said “absolutely!” Done and done.
When the customers in the parking lot offer better customer service than the employees themselves, I guess it’s time to head back over to the Ace Hardware stores of my youth.
I love those red vests, anyway.