Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More on Bad Service and Listening to Blogs

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.

3 comments:

Mary Schmidt said...

John,

People loathe Home Depot - and that's the employees! One of my most popular post over at my blog is "Home Depot's Real Problem" I got another comment just yesterday.

It's amazing to me just how - well - stupid big companies can be.

Ms. MacDonald said...

I just got screwed by Home Depot in buying a Pre-Hung Entry Door and a screen door for my back entrance. In fact I bought the door in Sept 06 and it did not get installed until Jan 07. I noticed that the latch from the screen door was splitting between the two nails on the door jam. I didn't know any better. When it really got bad I called Home Depot and they sent out the installation contractor, who said it was the manufacturers problem. The manufacturers rep finally showed up in May after it had split two inches above the latch and three inches below, and said I had abused the door. I could not believe it! Why would I abuse my own door after I saved up my hard earned money to replace the old door. Just to look at the split on and around the latch, you can tell that it was not installed right, no reinforcement or metal plate was used and the latch is screwed right on the edge of the cheap piece of wood of my JELD-WEN Door. Home Depot's Assistant Manager, who I am sure knows everything about installing doors also said I abused it. I told him it didn't matter if you call it abuse because the way it was installed it was going to happen sooner, as it did, or later. He bluntley said that the splitting was not under warrenty and that I needed to get it fixed and went on to explain exactly what I should do. Does anyone stand behind their products anymore? And please, please anyone out there, mostly single females, who are planning to spend money on Entry Doors, to not go Home Depot to get them, because you will get screwed.

Anonymous said...

Do you like abuse? In that case, you might be able to handle a Home Depot installation. I have had one too many experiences that were completely unsatisfactory. I didn't realize how bad it was until I hired a local company to do a job. I was thrilled with the complete service. After dealing with Home Depot for so long, I had forgotten how things were supposed to go.
Home Depot is on its way to becoming a dying industry.