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Disturbing visit to HD

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  • Disturbing visit to HD

    I had a rather disturbing visit to my local HD this weekend. What started out as a rather routine visit to pick up a few items needed to finsh a project soon became a little more confrontational than I was expecting.

    As I headed out the door I thought to grab the print-out on the AC9933 Fliptop support accessory. I wanted to see if anyone knew when it may be on the floor as Jake had mentioned it should be available "any day." When I reached the tool department I asked two associates there if they had the new Fliptop supports or knew anything about them. Their expressions answered my question as I showed them the print out hoping to give them a little more to go on. One of the two informed me that what I had was one of those "computer printouts." which means that it will not be available for a year or two. The other one questioned where I got the information from because he wasn't sure if that kind of information is supposed to be available to just anybody. A third associate joined the group and tried to explain Home Depot's "new product" policy. I explained that I had printed this from Ridgid's website and was only trying to find out when it would be available because I was told it would be soon. That's when I was informed that it since "HD OWNS RIDGID, HD MAKES THOSE DECISIONS." I asked for clarification. I said do you mean "owns" or has an exclusive arrangement to market Ridgid power tools? "Owns " was the answer and everyone there agreed. One guy added saying "yeah, we also own Ryobi, that's why your will not find any of their tool at Lowes either." I offered to politely agree to disagree but one lady would not let it alone. She asked me if I were accusing the "upper management" of lying stating that she figured they knew more about this than I certainly did. I assured her I wasn't accusing anyone of anything but obviously someone is misinformed and it could easily be because of the exclusive arrangement. That wasn't good enough. By now there were 5 associates joining in the conversion. Since they insisted, I asked them "do you mean HD owns Emerson Electric." One associate asked me what they made. Knowone seemed to have heard of those guys. I explained the relationship with Sears and the alliance between Ridgid and HD around 1998. They looked at me like I was some kind of idiot just making this stuff up as I went.

    Bottom line, I left the store without what I went there for, pretty well PO'd. I initially vowed never to return but honestly, that's not very practical. If I had a good alternative who also sold Ridgid, the decision would have been a no brainer. I still am a little hot about it but have calmed down a lot. Next step will be to contact the local manager. This is NOT my idea of customer service. I don't mind the differing opinions at all. It's how you are treated that counts in my book. It's bad enough to have to play HD ping pong (Ceramic TIle section:, oh, that tool is over in the building materials section...PING, No, not here in building materials, you need to go to the tile section, that where we keep those .... PONG.)

    Sorry for the long rant guys, just needed to vent to someone who would understand. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Wood Dog

  • #2
    Hey Wood Dog,
    I work at HD part time and let me tell you. 95% of the associates don't have a clue what they're talking about. I think what you experienced was crap. I don't believe HD owns Ridgid, and if they did then shame on them for not getting product knowldge to the associates so they can at least say something intelligent. Let me say if I didn't need the extra money I'd Quit in a New York Minute. Buy the way most og the 5% people only work during the week at the store I work in. On the weekends its 99% part time.

    Good luck and take it to the store manager or just look behind the Special Service desk for the phone numbers for customer help or the store managers phone number.
    Semper Fi <BR>Chuck<BR>USMC 66-70


    • #3
      The scary thing is that these "well-informed" people also may vote and drive on the same roads we all do God help us all if we have to ask a technical question

      When I worked at Sears (many, many moons ago), even as a part-timer, I went through several training sessions on product knowledge, so I could help the customer better. Obviously, few companies spend the money on this kind of "extravance"---don't know whether it has more to do with competition in the so-called world economy, or simple corporate greed---got to pay the execs' those million dollar salaries.


      • #4
        Thanks Chuck and Dave.

        I really hate to take off on HD or anybody else. I'd much rather tell about a great experience I had here or there and pass on the good news but....... enough is enough sometimes and you gotta call it like you see it. I run hot and cold with HD. I have encountered some very knowledgeable and very helpful people and left the store feeling very good about the experience. Then things like last weekend happen and I wonder where the good guys went to. One time an associate offers to bring a new appliance to my house since in wont fit in my Land Cruiser. [img]smile.gif[/img] The next time I wait 30 minutes to get some help with a new HVLP paint gun just to find out he knows absolutely nothing about them. To add insult to injury, when leaving, a associate in the parking lot asked me if I found everything I was looking for. I mumbled something like "hardly" to which he replied "that's great, have a good day and come back to shop with us soon." Are they listening or do they just only have that one response?

        Thanks again guys,
        Wood Dog


        • #5
          Wood Dog,

          I had a similarily (is that a word) disappointing experience with HD this last week. I too was hesitant to talk about it, because I didn't want to sound like I was bashing them. When I bought my first house 6 years ago I was in Home Depot everyday. The people there had great knowledge and many had worked in the trades themselves. They practicly taught me how to replum my entire house, free of charge.

          My experience last week went like this. I had been scoping out the Rigid Jointer for a couple of months. I am in HD a couple of times a week. So I knew where they stored the free standing tools on the top shelf behind the tool section. I knew this particular HD had the Jointer and I could see it. I walked in, told the HD rep in the tool section that I wanted to buy the Rigid Jointer. He walked over to the Rigid set up and didn't see one. Turned to me and said nope sorry we don't have any. I said well I believe they are on the top shelf in boxes. He looked up and said nope those are table saws. Being persistent as I am I said, really they are jointers I went to the other side and could read the box. I finally convinced him and he agreed to go to the trouble of getting the fork lift to get one down. Only after I had to hear him tell the manager he had already been there a half hour past the end of his shift. You would think they would get more excited about a $450 sale.

          If this web site and forum were not here I would have no interest in buying Ridgid tools. If I was Rigid I would think of a new marketing plan instead of HD. I know this will never happen since HD is so large. I just wish they would go back to hiring quality people.

          Sorry for the Rant, Keep up the good work Jake. You sold me on ridgid not HD.



          • #6
            Just sometimes have to think of HD as an example of your public education funds at work.

            Go in a lot, although there is less and less I'll buy from them---long stories. Most times, can't find anyone to help. One day---had about 5 things to buy--naturally, all in different parts of the store. Training class must had just let out---about 6 different people asked if they could help---of course, that day, didn't need any.

            Another typical luck story---like everyone else, get my materials and manuver my wobbling cart out to the truck and proceed to load up---4x6 pt, 3/4" plywood---good exercise----have been asked if they could help load----once----when I had a load of rigid foam insulating panels---go figure.


            • #7
              It is hard to read this post without chucking in one's own two cents worth.

              I practically live at HD -- indeed, I'm lucky enough to have three of them within 5 miles driving distance. Almost invariably, the people try to be friendly, greeting you as you enter and invariably coming up to you and asking if they can help. And several times I've encountered folks who, as one of you suggested, was once a journeyman himself and really knew what he was talking about.

              On the other hand, some of the people, nice as they mostly try to be, haven't a clue about what they are selling. My award-winning experience actually involved some other poor dude, who was trying to get advice about a wiring project that, frankly, he had no business tackling on his own. (Not the least of his problems was that, for what he wanted to do, he needed to pull a permit.) I could not help but to overhear the HD sales kid proceed to give the customer advice that, had it been followed, would most likely have set the house on fire. I couldn't resist intervening, though I think that by the time my lecture was through, both the customer and the HD kid were ticked off at me. At least if the dude burns his house down, it won't be because I shrugged my shoulders and walked away.

              The bottom line is that HD is a discount store, making money (when they do) selling high volume at minimal cost. Often they are lucky in their hires, but frankly if they spent what it would take to truly educate the sales force, most of their customers would go to some other discount for lower prices.


              • #8

                I agree with most of what you said. Sometimes the best answer is "sorry, I don't know." It might not be what we want to hear but at least you will not be headed down the wrong path, especially when that path could be hazardous to your health. That shouldn't involve a lot of training. I too appreciate the friendly hello and the attempts to help, even when they are unable to. My patience goes a lot further when the attitudes are good and they at least try. I'm not expecting perfection. I do get irritated though when I'm obviously looking for something and two associates are just standing there talking or walk by you like you are not there. I especially get irritated when they become confrontational as was the case last weekend. (not a common scenerio however)

                I really think Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank had it right when they opened their first stores here in the Atlanta area back in '79. But now, over 1350 stores later and $53.6 billion in sales last year...... well, lets just say that's a lot of growth by anybody's standards in that period of time. I know first hand how hard it is to control growth in the company I work for in the 6% to 7% per year range and we are only around $650 million in sales. The core competencies which attracted me originally to HD were service, selection, and price. More and more, I do my own research on the net since I have a harder and harder time getting dependable advice at the store. Selection is more a matter of convenience. If HD has it fine, if not Lowes will, if not I'll find it on the net. More and more, I'm ordering (within practical limits) from the net which offers the biggest selection of all. As far as price, if I'm really trying to save money, again, I'll shop the net, get my price, take it to HD for a match. HD is becoming more and more a distribution center for me. I rely on them less for service, selection and price than ever before. I shop HD not out of loyalty but because they are close to where I live. This is not why you want people to come to your place of business and shop. I personally think this puts HD in a very vulnerable position. Losing sight, for whatever reason, of the original concepts can ultimately be a company's undoing. There is ALWAYS someone out there ready to build that better mouse trap and exploit a company's or market's weakness. Afterall, that's what HD did to begin with. That's what made them successful. I truely hope for the sake of the 250,000 plus employees that HD is listening and listening hard. They have no doubt been an innovator in the industry and raised the bar for everyone else. But rapid growth without proper controls can cost a company in the end. Business jounals are full of examples. Like they say, when you get to the dance, don't forget about the one that brought you.

                Wood Dog (soap box off)

                Wood Dog


                • #9
                  I'm beginning to think that the only folks in the store who know anything about the products they carry are the special order people. That's the only way you can get accessories for Ryobi stuff, and, apparently Rigid stuff also. I asked someone in the hardware section there about glazing points. He tried to act like he knew what I was talking about after I explained that they were used to hold the glass in on old wood framed windows. He took me over to the glass, lexan . . . section and showed me some putty. I told him that wasn't what I was asking for and he went over to another associate and asked her. She didn't know what they were either, but the customer she was misleading overheard the conversation and told me they had them over in the paint department. Searched around a little over there and found the. Showed them to the first guy so he'd know what they were next time someone asked. Went back over to hardware to look for some other stuff, and stumbled across a whole display of piecture framing and hanging supplies and, you guessed it, glazing points.



                  • #10

                    Thanks for all comments and I'm sorry to hear about some of the experiences you've had in the Home Depot. If you have a bad experience trying to purchase a RIDGID product in Home Depot, please let us know. That way we can take any action necessary to make sure you're happy and it helps us better train and inform Home Depot associates.

                    And just to clarify, Home Depot does not own the RIDGID brand; it is owned by Emerson Electric.



                    • #11
                      Thanks for the support Jake. It is amazing how insistent these people were as to HD's ownership of Ridgid. I could say nothing to even make them for a second think otherwise. I really couldn't comment on the Ryobi thing but I'm pretty sure HD doesn't own them either. Oh well, some folks still believe man never walked on the moon.

                      As to associates knowledge of Ridgid products and displays and problems with Ridgid product purchases........
                      I can only speak of several of the Atlanta area stores but honestly, my purchases of the RAS and TS2424 were based on my own research including to a large extent what I read on this forum and what it represented as a source of continued support and help. In my experience, HD did not help further the cause for helping me make the decision to buy Ridgid. The most beneficial aspect of going to the store was to actually see the product and "kick the tires." There was a maunual available to look through but only once in the several times I went to look did anyone offer to help and even then they knew very little about the Ridgid product or any of the competitors for that matter. I have visited both during the day and in the evening both weekdays and on weekends and it has been hit or miss with who you find to help you. The displays are also inconsistent in terms of correct set up, general appearance, and completeness of product line. Again, no worse or better than the competitors.

                      I understand that with turn over and training costs, everyone will not be an expert on every piece of equipment. If I could at least know when the real experts were scheduled to be there I could at least make an effort to be there at one of those times if I really needed some hands on help. I would then have reasonable expectations as to what level of help to expect depending on when I shopped. I'm sure there are many ideas out there that would help. I just hate to complain about something without offering at least one.

                      Thanks again,
                      Wood Dog


                      • #12
                        OK, here's my 2 cents and I'll make it quick since I don't believe in beating a dead horse.

                        Stopped at the BRAND NEW HD (open since Dec) to buy an occilating spindle sander...I had been there before and they were out of stock from the holidays so I stopped since I was convienently aligned on my way home from work. The associate looked it up in the computer..."sure we have five of them!" I then waited and hour and a half while they tried to find them in the store. After no luck I gave them my number and said to call if they found them. After a week of waiting I called my 2 local HD (20 min away) and found that they had restocked them. I called the first store and talked to the same guy. His answer...Nope, never found them and he was sorry to hear I was going to the other store but couldn't blame me.

                        Apparently having money burning a hole in your pocket is not a good enough to motivate them to find an item that IS in the store. To give a little credit my closest store is pretty good with knowledgable hardware guys and good displays. Getting new products there takes forever though...still no BS1401. I go there if I can.

                        Jake, my hat's off to you and your support staff as you guys are the best part of the Ridgid product line. I have a shop full of Ridgid tools and its not because of the guys at HD. Thanks!
                        - Tim


                        • #13
                          FYI, Ryobi Power Tools (North America and Europe) are now owned by TTI, a Hong Kong-based ccompany. HD has an exclusive marketing agreement with TTI for the Ryobi Brand.

                          Techtronic Industries

                          I ran into two of these HD-type people at a local Ford dealer not too long ago. Guess these types multiply and migrate...


                          • #14
                            Wood Dog: I agree entirely that Home Depot may well be succumbing to an all-to-familiar syndrome in which initial success is diluted by growth too fast to be managed, and, ultimately, by fading away into history. A poignant local example was a half-dozen store chain by the name of Somerville Lumber, which was once everything that HD was originally, and which is today a memory.

                            I spend so much time at HD because it is a convenient place to find nails (particularly air nailer nails), screws, and the like, and has a good selection of wood stains and finishes, and because trolling through tools is a great past-time while my wife in in the gardening center. I do not use HD for education, though occasionally I'm pleasantly surprised.

                            Jake: if you're making notes: I've never had any problems at HD while buying Ridgid stuff, though I'm careful. My favorite HD (Waltham, MA) is so dirty, and has its inventory in such beat up boxes, that I wouldn't buy a big-ticket tool from them. However, when I went to the store in Everett, MA -- quite new and quite clean -- to pick up the table saw that I had already decided to buy, I ran into a sales guy (an older guy who, it turned out, was something of a carpenter himself) who (a) was quite knowledgeable and (b), while we waiting for the guys to break out the fork lift to retrieve my saw (in a nice box) from the top shelf), actually solicited my input as to why I was purchasing that saw. We had quite a conversation. The Everett store has one of the better tool displays I've observed, and all of the Ridgid stuff was fully assembled, clean, and available for hands on exploration. Jeekers, the Everett store even has a selection of Hilti bolts, that can be purchased in units as small as one item, something I've never seen before. So put down a couple of plus points for Everett, MA.


                            • #15
                              My turn. I guess my expectations are a lot lower than everyone else's. I have over time gotten to know which rep's are knowledgable and which ones to avoid. In any event, my first question is "have you ever done this, if not is there someone here who has?"

                              As far as the Ridgid tools are concerned, there are very few woodworkers I would bet within the Home Depot system overall. It is a home repair shop - most of the experienced people are former contractors not furniture makers or the like. If I want expert advice I go to Woodcraft, but even there you have to make sure you talk to the right guy.

                              I am just glad to have a single place to go, with good prices, Ridgid tools and long hours.