New Slogan for Home Depot? "You can do it. We don't want to help"

I recall reading a post from Daily Rx's Blog a while back pertaining to what I'm about to enlighten you with today. The customer service switch is apparently stuck in the "OFF Position" and people forgot to bring their brains to work, too. What's scary is BeBizzy just posted about a bad experience also. Is this becoming the norm?

Profit or the People?

So the other day we found out that our Home Depot is one of the 15 being closed in the nation due to smaller profits than the other umpteen thousand stores in the US. That is the logical and visible reason to close these stores. Look at the numbers and if you're not up to par, you're done. But there is also something that should be observed to avoid more closures. A little bit of customer service goes a long way people!

It's not just this chain of stores either. It seems to be everywhere lately! Granted the economy is not doing well, housing is the worst ever, yadda yadda... You could go on forever — but there's no excuse for bad customer service. A little disclaimer... I'm sure there were nice, friendly and SMART people working at the store we visited, but we did not come in contact with one. And, I'm sad they will no longer have jobs after a few weeks.

Saturday morning in an effort to procrastinate from our outdoor chores, we decided to take a detour to Home Depot. Just wanted to see if there were any great deals we couldn't live without before the closing. We managed to find a cart-full of items that were actually on our list for indoor/outdoor projects.

I Thought Math Was Simple

We carefully chose a checkout lane and before you know it our items were being rung up so we could quickly get out of the zoo that was forming in the store. "Angela" starts off by scanning our first item twice. Not a good sign. I alert her to the matter and she hastily voids the mistake. I'm watching the list of items on the credit card screen and wondered why a few aren't ringing up with the discount we had anticipated. Maybe the total goes down at the end when the final tally is entered? Not sure. I'm not going to confuse her yet, so I keep watching. It was humorous watching her scanning technique. Swipe it 20 more times, maybe it'll ring up!! Why not just enter the keycode and get it done. Laziness? I think so. I used to work at a local grocery store back in my high school days. Technology back then wasn't as pristine as it is now, but I never had issues scanning things!

We had a few large items in the cart that she used the hand scanner for, and once again rang something up twice. Our total sky-rocked to $500 and I corrected her once again. We now noticed the weed trimmer actually rang up higher than what the price on the shelf claimed. I questioned her about it and she explained that didn't include the sale price. DUH!! I know that, but it rang up higher than what the price on the shelf stated. I hate being the person tying up a lane, especially when it's so busy! After finally getting the message through to her she deducts the difference between the wrong price and what we told her it was supposed to be. Still not the right price. Side-note... many of the 10-30% discounts were not reflected in the total she presented us with. A major oversight on somebody's part. I know I looked at signs to make sure the items we chose were included in the liquidation sale.

After exposing a major attitude and the fact that she's now socializing with another checker, we decided to completely abandon our cart. Probably not the best decision, but at that point saving money on a few items is not worth it. I've abandoned carts online for many reasons. Buyer's remorse, steep shipping charges, a better deal somewhere else... But never have I done that in an actual store. No Home Depot deals for the Welder family :( I'd rather go to Lowe's anyway! The whole incident gave me a small feeling of "sticking it to the man" I guess.

Since When Did Items Become So Hard to Scan?

Yesterday we shopped at Sam's Club to stock up on items for the upcoming months. Once again our cashier wasn't friendly, but I tried to avoid another Home Depot incident. They sell energy drinks in bulk at Sam's and I think our cashier should partake! My husband and I had a hard time looking at each other when she was mangling our 2-pack of Clamato juice over the laser. If we looked at each other I would have died laughing and had to excuse myself. She was dragging it over and over and over and yet it wouldn't scan. Maybe the UPC was too close to the laser? Or maybe the UPC was no where near the laser!!! Yanking it 20 more times ought to make it work, right? NOPE. Finally she got her scanner gun out and handed the mangled mess over to be put back into our cart.

Retail Camp – Summer 2008

I have an idea; Retail Camps for cashiers. Here's a brief course outline:

  1. Scanning 101: If an item doesn't scan after 30 seconds, enter the code into the little computer!!
  2. Customers Are Smart - Elective: If a customer asks you to correct something, do so with pleasure and admit you were wrong.
  3. Physical Education - Bicep Curls: If you can't lift the items to be scanned, consider a different job.
  4. Human Emotions & You: Greet every customer with a smile — even if it hurts!
Can anyone think of other classes they should include?


Anonymous said...

I think they should have one hot chic/stud working in every big-box store that will sleep with the employee of the month like the movie. Customer service would drastically improve.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I love it when the clerks barely look at you and just start talking with another clerk. It's one thing if their conversation is something important like "When can I go on break?" but it so unprofessional when they sit there and complain about their co-workers or talk about other customers. But what do I know? Of the two retail jobs I had, I got 'terminated' from one and quit the other one after like 2 weeks. Perhaps I needed your courses!

UNC Hockey 5 said...

I agree to some extent. As the initial employee of that Sam's Club you were referring to all big box retailers face the same challenges when it comes to staffing...quality employees at low wages. When Burger King starts individuals out over $10.00 per it is hard to find the exceptional employees to work for the same price. Mainly cashiers are not working their for their career and many of the it is a side job so they don't put in the same effort they do for their regular jobs. I would love to see the customer service boot camp but companies cannot spend thousands of dollars to send employees somewhere for training when most of them do not work there for more than a couple of months.

After being in retail management for 3 years maybe my expectations have just been lowered.

justaddwine said...

unc hockey 5 - I agree to what you're saying. If I got paid a ton less than other starting jobs I might not devote a 'full effort' towards making sure every customer is doing back flips out the store. Maybe it's just how I was brought up; or our generation's temperament. But it seems like it's becoming the norm wherever you go, not just the stores I mentioned. How hard is it to be friendly? What these big companies need to realize is that bad service on a consistent basis does not only frustrate customers, it starts hurting sales and reflects on the image of their company. Word of mouth is huge :)