It's in the air this week! I wrote about companies paying attention to bloggers commenting on their bad experiences with them, and then found local blogger John Wagner talking about a heinous Home Depot experience.
As of this morning John hasn't heard from Home Depot, although he's called them - and there have been some hits on his blog from their headquarters.
Bad, bad Home Depot. Here's a chance to make it right and you're ignoring an unhappy customer... who has a blog. Dumb.
This all got me thinking about stores like Home Depot, and whether a big corporation like that can ever really provide good service. I suspect not.
I generally don't shop at Home Depot; I've never had an experience like John's, I've just found the place to be uniformly mediocre. It's hard to find things in a store the size of an airport, and nobody there is helpful.
And I have a great little neighborhood store where I can walk in, ask questions, figure out what I need thanks to their expertise, find it fast, and leave in the time it would take me to park at the Home Depot just up the road.
I think these little stores are, by their nature, better; they're part of the neighborhood, and understand that they succeed because people like them and tell their neighbors about it.
My guess is that at the Home Depot nearby, almost nobody has any particular connection to the community they're serving; they're part of the Atlanta based juggernaut. At my local store, the people there are "us." You don't say vulgar things about your neighbors who come to your store, as happened to John at Home Depot.
Home Depot does well because they have everything at a good price... and because sadly, in many places, there really is no local competitor. So even though it's hard all that stuff, nobody who works there seems to know what's going on, and nobody will go out of their way to make you experience a pleasant one, they do well.
I suppose if you buy tons of stuff, it's worth the aggravation for the savings. For normal people, though, it seems like it's worth paying a little more for a light bulb or some picture hangers to be treated like a human being and not waste your time. (And it's not like it's much more.)
When I lived in DC, I had a different little hardware store I loved, owned by a couple who lived in the neighborhood. At this point I don't think I'd want to live in a neighborhood that didn't have a place like this. Because then I'd have to go to Home Depot. Ugh.