HD lawn and garden cashier woes

jeribelle(GA)September 4, 2003

Ok, folks, this one has me totally confussed. I picked up several items on sale at HD the other day, and went to the register in Lawn and Garden. The clerk took my plastic, and I looked her in the eye and said 'debit please', figuring she had a number pad she was going to hand me. I'll be doggoned, she handed me a receipt to sign for a credit purchase. I told her I did not want a credit, that I specifically told her 'debit'. Her reply was that her manager put her on this register that doesn't have a number pad, so she just rings everything up as a credit, regardless of what the customer wants. I was shocked! As we had just put a sizeable purchase on that particular card, this clerk's decision to ring my purchase as a 'credit' without warning caused the credit card to be overlimit, and we all know what those overlimit charges add to your statement. I told the cashier that she would have to reverse the sale, that it was unacceptable to me, and she said she couldn't. I asked her to summon a manager to do it, and she said when I was all checked out and loaded my stuff in my car (I have a physical disability), I could return to the service desk to ask a manager to fix it! Told the cashier (I am getting more than a little mad by now), that she should call the manager over to fix the credit at the register, that I was not going through all that because of her error in judgement. The manager arrived and get this - didn't think it was a big deal that his clerk rang a credit when the customer wanted to pay with a debit! I further questioned him as to whether this was store policy, to put unauthorized charges on peoples' credit cards when they think they are paying with a debit card. Then, I asked him if anybody had ever trained his cashiers in the difference between the two, and he said, sure they are properly trained. Well, you folks can see this is going nowhere. By this time I was too tired and irritated by their idiocy that I told him to refund the purchase and I would just leave the merchandise (quite a sizeable amount of stuff), and they could restock their shelves. I did have him give me the manager's name so that I could write the store manager. Lot of good that one will probably do...

So, now you know the story of my wasted shopping trip to HD...went to WalMart to get what I needed, and made sure there was a debit key pad on the register when I checked out...


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Hal Warrick

I like that, rub there faces in it!
I once reemed out a Taco bell manager because he trashed on an employee
for something that was an accident, but he didn't have the manners to do this
in the back and not in front of the customers. Every worker in the store was
smiling as i put the manager under the counter with embarressment (sp).
We sat there and ate for 45 min. and he didn't show his face the whole time.
Loved it !

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 8:53AM
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Harimad(zone 7)

I understand that Lowes is working very hard to take Home Despot's market share. It seems to be working. How does Lowes do it? They offer the same range of goods and similarly good prices, but in better organized stores with more clerks who are better trained.

Wish there was one near me.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 10:01AM
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Ok, folks, after a bit of searching on the Internet, I finally found the corporate address for Home Depot. Seems they don't want people going above their customer service people to inform them when we are unhappy. We'll see if I get a response.

What really stunk about the whole thing was that it was HD's management's decision to pull the fast one on customers at the checkout, and when they got caught, they got mad at the customer who wouldn't accept their deceit.

There is a Lowe's right next to the HD here in Savannah, but unfortunately, they don't have near the selection that the HD store has. You can bet I'll buy what I can at Lowes and WalMart from here on, tho.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 10:30AM
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There are things I love about HD, and things I hate. While the people at ours are very friendly, I don't think HD in general thinks from a customer's perspective. In mid-winter, I can't stand having to go to one spot OUTSIDE in the freezing cold to get a cart. Why can't they have some inside? Many times I've run in for one thing, and have seen a few more things I would pick up if I wouldn't have to go outside to get a cart to put them in.

They also don't put their weekly ad brochure online, which seems backward in this day and age. I often check the local nursery ads to see where I might like to stop and shop. I don't get a paper because it was too much paper going in the recycle bin without being read.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 12:26PM
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Both Home Depot and Lowes in my area have no debit card terminal at the garden area checkout.Home Depot actually has a small sign posted to say so.So,I know that when I use that checkout I will have to sign to use my debit card.I think many cashiers are not aware that there are cards which can be used as either,most are debit or credit,not both.This in no way excuses rudeness on their part,just wanted to let you know that you might have to go to the regular cashier at either place to avoid this.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 2:12PM
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I really dislike a lot about HD -- in fact, last week I waited for over 20 minutes for someone to come help me with the weed eaters. I had to go all the way up front and ask for help - they said they'd get someone over there. Well 20 mins and still no one. I had it. I wasn't wasting another minute there! I left and figured they lost a sizable purchase from me. I went the following day to Lowe's and bought my weed eater there. I can NEVER find help at HD. I hate it!! I will not go there anymore unless I know specifically what I need and where it's at. Furthermore, I also think it's odd that they don't have their weekly ad online! There is a Lowe's right across the street from the Home Depot near me. Funny to watch all the cars leaving HD and heading straight for Lowes! lol

Sorry about your experience, Jeribelle - I've found that checking out in the garden center is usually a big PIA. Usually the cashiers out there don't know how everything is priced - or they don't know how to work the machines, etc. Final straw was at one place I was checking out and I kept telling the girl about the % off - which she ignored and rang up full price. I didn't notice until AFTER I wrote the check. She said since I wrote a check I had to go to Customer Service and tell them. What a mess!!! I just started taking all my purchases up front and waiting in line there. Seemed less of a headache in the long run.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 11:45PM
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I had a bad experience wth HD as well. Guy tried to sell me a carpet that he wouldn't even take down so that I could feel it and get a closer look. I told him that I wanted to see the carpet and he just kept telling me that he could order me the carpet if I like. The bolt of carpet was way up on a rack and I guess it was too much effort to have the machine bring it down. I got fed up and left. Ended up buying tile instead from Lowes. Maybe he thought a female by herself, it was an easy sale by pressuring to order the carpet virtually unseen and felt....Not me. He needed to find someother sucker.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2003 at 9:50AM
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If you post an address for HD, I will write them also to tell them that I think your treatment was abominable, and that I too am unhappy with them.

I have switched to Lowes for many of the same reasons others have posted:

1) Can't find anyone to help me.
2) Sometimes they are rude when they help. (A certain guy in the lighting department comes to mind.)
3) In the evening after 9 p.m., they have one cashier for the whole store, and you can only check out through the automated machine registers that run without a human being. I refuse to do that. I don't want cashiers to be out of their jobs, and I don't want to be serviced by a machine.
4) I've actually come to know two of the employees at Lowes, and they are always friendly & helpful.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2003 at 7:00PM
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Jungle_Jim(zone 8 / WA)

Morning all, arrived at work about an hour ago. Had my cookies and a few cups of coffee and I'm ready to get to the real world. LOL... Home Depot/Lowes/Wally World/Safeway/Albertsons et al: ... they are all the same. Supply and demand. They all have so many customers that they don't have to care. When one of us (oh yeah... me included I have stories that would curl your hair) walks away angry there are 100 more behind us complimenting them on their service their poorly stocked inventory and their horrible customer service. They don't care cuz they don't have to. Management really could care less. Bottom line we do have to be careful so they don't press that little red button under the counter and have us escorted out by the cops. Yikes. They can and they will do it. I'm very careful anymore where I shop. Even Safeway has gone downhill with their management philosphy and the little tricks they try to pull which are so obvious once you learn to recognize them, ie: sale items 'out of stock' from the 2nd day of the sale until the first day after the sale, oh yeah... they are clever but not as clever as me, I get rainchecks on everything whether I want them or not. It's everywhere. Everywhere. So I was appalled one morning on my way to the stables when I noticed that an extremely large area of a very open and pretty pasture land was being turned up. I thought "more houses'... wrong...It's going to be a Costco. We need a Costco like we need another hole in the head. Then a HD is going in along a stretch of Hwy that is coated in beautiful evergreens. It's not their fault, it's ours. We patronize them. I'm exhausted. Jim

    Bookmark   September 7, 2003 at 10:36AM
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ntiveheart(z9 FL)

i was so mad at HD the other day i could've spit nails! i went to the register in the garden department and paid for 10 each of compost, humus and top soil...when i asked the young fellow at the checkout to ask someone to load it for me, he looked at my 9 year old son and said "little man there looks like he can handle it." grrrr after going back and forth for a few minutes (i thought he was teasing me at first) he finally got someone to get the compost etc and take it to my van........but THIS guy gives me the long suffering look and says "when you go to the grocery store, you don't expect someone to put your steaks in the cart for you, do you?" i was flabbergasted and left without talking to a manager.......but you can bet i wrote to their corporate offices when i got home......i know, i know, nothing will be done at that level either, but it felt good to vent at least!


    Bookmark   September 7, 2003 at 2:40PM
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Here ya go, Redthistle, right to the president's desk (like we really think he actually reads his own mail?!):

Bob Nardelli, Chairman, President & CEO
The Home Depot, Inc.
2455 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30339-4024

Oh lordy, jayedee, I never heard the likes! Talk about LAZY! Those guys have no business making a judgment on who needs or does not need help with their purchases. Excuse me, but they need a little bit of education not just on service, but hidden disabilities too. How dare they not do their jobs, and make rude comments to you and indirectly your son, on top of it! I'm appalled, though not surprised. I've come to expect laziness and rudeness out of most of the people at these big chains, and I don't like the way I've reduced my expectations. Whatever happened to just plain AVERAGE service, not even spectacular?!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2003 at 2:54PM
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I've already complained about HD in a post above, but I will say that in general, ours has friendly help and they definitely load my purchases into the car without a complaint.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2003 at 6:02PM
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Harimad(zone 7)

Wonder if Bob's home addy is on the internet somewhere? If I may suggest: couch your complaint in terms of what matters to him as a retail store exec: the driving away of repeat customers, losing market share to Lowes, the cost of returns and restocks, the diminution of the corporate reputation and good name.

The last time I couched a letter in terms of what mattered to them (instead of what mattered to me) I received a refund on a full-fare ticket on United: $830. Doing the same this weekend with a verbal complaint to Delta (story available upon request) unexpectedly yielded a free ticket on the Delta shuttle.

Sure makes a frugal person's day.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 1:20PM
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If you REALLY want your complaints to have an effect on Company "A", send a scan of the reciept from the competitor, and explain why that purchase was lost.

Or send them a scan of the reciept from your problem shopping trip and tell them that it is the LAST of your money they will see, and why.

I was rejected for a credit card (recent arrival, no local credit, therefore couldn't get local credit dilemma). I picked a store, spent an entire paycheck on workclothes (paying by check), then applied for their card. Was denied, of course. Fired back a reply, with the reciepts and copy of check for the clothing and told them that unless I could say "charge it" that was the last of my money they would ever see. I got a credit card SO FAST it was still warm from the presses.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 2:56PM
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cat2(z6 CT)

In the DEBIT vs. CREDIT card area we have learned that a debit card with a visa (or other credit) logo on the card means that you are drawing money from the same account either way. If you are using it as a "debit" card, then you have to punch in a pin number, and if as a "credit" card, you don't, but the money still comes from the same account. It has been said that if you feel uncomfortable entering your number for some reason, just use it "credit" style so no one will see your pin.

If your debit card does not have the visa logo, you can only use it with the pin.

However, if someone else gets there hands on your card and uses it before you have reported it, they can use the debit card with the visa logo to their hearts content because all they have to say is "credit". If the cashiers don't check id or notice anything is wrong, then they usually overdraw the account. Now, it turns out that the person whose card was stolen has no recourse to get their money back. One person we know of actually went to each retailer where the thief made purchases (shown on the statement, of course),explained the situation and asked for their money back. It was 0% successful.

If a thief tries to use your debit card and it doesn't have a credit logo, they will also have to find out your pin to use it. A small safety measure, but I'll take every one I can get.

Most banks now prefer everyone use the debit with the logo because it makes your money even more readily spendable, (not just to you) and we generally respond to that by....spending more. It took us two tries and a few weeks to get the correct debit cards WITHOUT logos the last time, but we insisted.

It may be that some banks now offer access to more than one account with the same card so that you could access both a checking account using it as a debit card and a separate credit account, but I thought they were usually set up the old way (access to one checking account.)

By the way, good for you! There is no reason for them to have treated you or anyone else that way.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 4:53PM
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gardenfaerie(z5b Michigan)

Wow, I must be lucky! The Lowes less than three miles from my house has a debit terminal in the garden area.

The HD, maybe two miles from me, well, I dunno as I generally avoid the place. The last three times I was there (each time swearing it was the last!) I waited in line over half an hour, mostly because someone couldn't find the price to something... but the other day I had an immediate need for a plunger (ahem) and went to the nearer HD. What did I find, but U SCAN terminals!!!!! Hoorah!

I still prefer Lowe's.

Monica in Ann Arbor

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 7:13PM
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clynnta(z8 TX)

Do not stop complaining when you recieve horrible service. I was a vendor to grocery stores for many years and you can bet that if I did not do everything perfect, not only did I get reamed, but in addition a call was made to my regional manager who also let me have it. In 85% of the cases I was not at fault and in most cases the problem was actually caused by one of the stores employees! Revenge has been sweet though. When I grocery shop and have a problem I start with the store director and work my way up. Out of stock on store brand? I insist on name brand at sale price. Item quality not up to par? It goes back for a refund. Carry out service is mandatory, not optional. All of this is done with a smile (yes I enjoy it) If we hold them accountable for service and quality you can get results. It is when we walk away mad that the store has won. They still got our money without having to provide the service we deserve. We all say "I won't go back", but yet we end up back for one reason or another. If you can't get a situation resolved at store level and your complaint is legit, ask for the corp. phone # and place your call from the store. If you are refused the # or use of the store phone then it is time to call or email from home. This is the point you stop being nice!


    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 10:52AM
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I guess I just got lucky. Went to HD today. The gentlemen in gardens was restocking shelves and asked if I needed help. Told him I was looking for "the orphans" at reduced prices. He pointed to several racks of perennials and said find what you like and we'll work a price out (older stock). Marked some way down and a couple said to just take that he was going to trash them anyway. And this service was all with a smile.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 4:52PM
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1) As long as consumers keep patronizing these big box stores in search of the deep discounts and convenience, they will stay in business. There's not much one can do as "just one person", but do whatever suits your philosophy and feel good about it.

I didn't go to these places much this year, and plan to stop going to them entirely. Have been using local garden centers and feed stores a lot. Actually, sometimes these local places frequently cut me deals because I patronize them regularly and the owner knows me by name.

They are usually glad to special order something for me if I just ask. Why? because there's a relationship there.

2) Most of these big box stores treat their employees like crap. They don't care about these people, and the employees know it. This philosophy starts at the top and filters down to the end result: bad customer service.

3) Grow your stuff from seed [fun, cheap, and easy] and get soils, amendments, supplies from feed stores, or make your own. A lot of this stuff is usually cheaper at local feed stores anyway, but you do have to give up the element of "right down the road" convenience. Plan, buy, and stock up accordingly.

And about bank "check cards", here's a story:

Had one of these with my picture on it, *and* a printed statement in block letters on signature line "I DO NOT AUTHORIZE THE USE OF THIS CARD UNLESS YOU CHECK MY ID".

Lost it and promptly reported loss that same day. CC company has policy that if you report within 24 hours, you are only liable for $50. End of story? No.

A few days later I go thru the drive thru to pick up some cash. That's when I find out that the bank account has been cleaned out. How and where? At HD, using my card as a credit card. So, not only did the employees not even bother to check the back of the card for a signature, they didn't even look at the picture. Now how easy would that have been?

Whoever it was actually went to multiple HDs and bought thousands of dollars of stuff. No, it was not anyone I know.

What happened is that the CC company also dropped the ball and somehow the card was not really cancelled. Luckily I had kept a record of who I spoke with along with the exact date and time of the call.

I did get all the money back in short order. Initially, the bank and CC company tried to give me the run around and say that there would have to be an "investigation" before they could re fund the account. When I indicated that I would be contacting the state att. general, bank and CC regulatory agencies, and legal counsel, they backed down and funds were in my account and available the next day. This also included the paltry interest that could have been earned those few days had the card been properly cancelled. I wasn't paying a dime for their mistake...

All's well that ends well. But I have switched banks and CC choice since.

Moral: if this happens to you, call frequently and check your balances for a few weeks afterwards. It also may not hurt to make a second follow up phone call the next day confirming that the card has really been cancelled.

Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 8:53PM
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My son's wallet was recently stolen along with his debit card. The thief spent only $250 at Safeway before my son was able to report it, but he got all his money back immediatly! I was very impressed!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2003 at 12:52AM
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nateinsavannah(z8 Savannah GA)

Similar experiences have been had by myself with HD as well. One in particular that comes to mind was at the Pooler (Savannah, GA suburb) HD last spring. I was putting white marble chips into a new Japanese garden I had installed in my yard. I was purchasing almost an entire pallet of rock bags and each bag weighed 50 lbs. I waited and waited and waited on someone to help and finally started loading. I noticed a couple of teenage kids poke their heads out of the fenced in area of the garden center and just as I was loading the last bag onto my truck they conveniently came out and offered to help. I honestly think a lot of the issues with store of this nature are that they hire younger people who have no sense of the value of a dollar and unfortunately are lazy as well. It would be nice to see someone who actually believed in customer service working in places like that again.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2004 at 11:39AM
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WOW. I've never, ever had a problem at HD. I've always been offered help in every dept of the store. I've had workers that would go with me from dept to dept to assist me with my projects. I've never had to load anything myself unless I wanted to.

I've told them what I was attempting to build or do and asked for suggestions. Everytime I've been given great advice and assistance.

The one thing they won't do is come home with me to help..darn it!


    Bookmark   February 13, 2004 at 6:36AM
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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

I agree with Katt re patronizing local small businesses and nurseries, rather than the big boxes and discount stores. One of the big advantages to being frugal, in my book, is not so much getting *everything* as cheap as possible, but rather having the luxury of choosing where to spend one's money. So, I scrounge for garden supplies and grow plants from seed, buy clothes (high-end) from the thrift store, and then spend bucks on the things I can't make or scrounge, in a non-chain store that's happy to wait on me and make sure I get the right thing (that will last).

Around here, though, it's getting pretty hard to find some of the home and garden basics without going to HD or Lowe's et al. Service apparently varies wildly from store to store - our local HD has generally been very helpful EXCEPT in the garden area. That doesn't bother me because I know as much as their staff re gardens, and just have to ask sometimes where they've put something.

I bet they put the less knowlegeable people in the garden center because they get business from the trade in the hardware areas, but the garden center shoppers are almost all amateurs, from what I've seen.

I think the issue of assistance is a general one today, and while I've had times when I needed it too, I'm afraid it's not going to come back as long as the companies want the highest profits and we want the lowest prices. I think if I were going to need it regularly, I'd start thinking about asking visible youth to do it (whether actually employed there or not), and tip them modestly.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2004 at 10:54PM
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ReddKatt(Z 7a-6b MD)

I have to give a big ole *thumbs up* for our local Home Depots. Everytime I have been there, they have been nothing short of amazingly helpful, with a great attitude and demeaner. I am sorry people have had such bad experiences, but unfortunately it is more a case of our society and work ethic/lack of work ethic.
DEFINTELY complain. Write letters. Make repeated phone calls. Keep documentation. I am TENACIOUS. If I do this with anything I have a problem with I have never failed to get satisfaction.
I frequent both big box stores and local nurseries, and small mom & pop businesses along with the gal who has a greenhouse on her farm whose hubby is a truck driver. I look around for the best deals, and also do my best to support small businesses. I also am sure to tell friends about good deals and support those businesses.
It pays to speak up and speak out. Things will only change if we do!

Forest Hill, Maryland

    Bookmark   February 15, 2004 at 8:44PM
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kendal(8 PNW)

What I hate is that when you go to the deli, and ask for a pound of this, or a half pound of that they always give you a little over. Not much mind you, .50 cent here, .20 cent there, but if you stop and think about how many people go through the deli that all adds up to a lot more cash at the end of the day then if they give you the exact amount you asked for. I'm not poor, but I'll be damned if I am going to let them give me more then I ask for, and make them put back any extra, some get huffy about it, tough!


    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 8:28PM
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I'm with you, Kendal!!!
This has become one of my pet peeves here - and I always tell them that I did not ask for that amount of meat, and that my family will not eat it - please take some off - well... they only take off a slice or two, and then put it in the bag. Sometimes I insist, but they usually get snippy. It's not like it's money in their pocket - or do they get paid more if they sell more?!? I doubt it!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 10:30PM
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I wrote the corporate office after a clerk told me they wouldn't tint a gallon of Klitz. This is after I pointed out the Kiltz tinted examples were right on the shelf.

They didn't bother to answer. Klitz did and advised I take it to Lowe's or Walmart. They said they didn't know why HD wouldn't tint it.

I try to check the other places first now.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 8:41AM
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MeMyselfAndI(5/6 central OH)

Nobody at any of these big box stores cares a bit about you or what you want, especially those in chauffeur-driven limos who actually reap the profits. Shop at an owner-operated store where they really need and appreciate your patronage, and care about YOU and your community!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 9:31AM
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treehug(z8 WA)

I know at the Lowe's near me, the stores compete against each other for best customer service. If your unhappy, you can call the "1-800-whine line", they'll even give you a $20 gift cert. for your time.

See if you can call Home Depot, complain, and get a reward!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 3:12PM
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I have cashiered, and I was not aware until recently that a card could be debit OR Credit. We were always told that a debit card can be put in as a credit, but that it comes out of your checking account anyway. I have never had a card that was both. That could be dangerous!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 12:44PM
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When I bought my first house five years ago, I was introduced to Home Depot and began to shop there all the time, thrilled with the prices and accumulating supplies for the many, many projects I was planning! :-) Then their service started to get really bad.

So I visited my local hardware store a couple of times, and found such a huge difference! It is a relatively tiny store, but they still have just about anything I could possibly need. When I walk in, they know me and say hello and I tell them what I'm looking for (if I don't know where it is) and they locate it for me and I'm in and out of there in less than 5 minutes (even with a baby and toddler in tow). To me, this level of service is SO worth the slightly higher prices!

(Plus, I think I actually save money in the long run. When I shopped at Home Depot I would end up picking up things I "need" for projects I was planning to do in the future, so I wouldn't have to make a second time-consuming trip back to the store. I'd come home with the extra stuff, which would end up in the work room where I either couldn't find it later when it came time to do the project, or I'd never actually end up doing the project. In contrast, my local hardware store is right around the corner, and I wait to go there and pick up the things I need until I'm actually starting the project. Since it's such a quick trip, I know I can always stop back with minimal inconvience. So I don't buy extra things that I'm not ready to use.)

Similarly, I found the service at my local garden center to be superior. For $10 they'll deliver all the heavy bags of mulch, humus, whatever, and they put them right where I want them -- in my back yard, or in the garage. If I know what I want, I don't even have to make the trip there, I just call them up and they deliver it that day or the next day.

My point is to try supporting your local independent stores instead of the box stores (they're all the same). You may find that you save more time and money in the long run, and have a much more pleasant shopping experience.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 11:29AM
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My friend had broken her elbow, had surgery, and had been ordered not to lift anything. Now she didn't look disabled, she is slender, fit looking, but she couldn't lift at all. She went to HD to get some mulch, and they acted like it miffed them to put it onto the cart for her, and miffed them even more when she told them she needed it loaded into her car. She finally got so tired of the attitude that she rolled up her sleeve and showed the witch her very new, very visible scar and said "Should I go show this to your manager and tell him how you treated me, or are you going to apologize?" She turned red and apologized, but my friend called the manager anyway.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 9:59PM
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Randy Ritchie

Sad to say, that that is the world of the handicapped. We don't all look handicapped, but we are treated as though we either don't exist, or we are a nuisance, by many. The local WalMart doesn't even have an automatic door on its lawn and garden entrance. They have a woman sitting on a chair just inside the door greeting people and checking for shoplifting, packages, etc. But does she get up to open the door and assist the elderly and disabled trying to push a cart through the door? Not on your life. Complaining to management doesn't do any good. They choose to not accommodate the disabled.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 7:49AM
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reginak(z7 Maryland)

I was at HD recently - the one at RI Ave. Metro, for you locals - a guy was returning a rented nail-gun that DIDN'T WORK, and the employee was insisting on charging him the day's rental. I read him the riot act, but since it wasn't my fight I just turned around and walked away. I pass that HD on the way home from work, but find shopping there such an unpleasant experience that I avoid shopping there.

Used to live near a little independent hardware store: Frager's. It was fantastic. I miss it!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 1:08PM
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Jungle_Jim(zone 8 / WA)

I've gotten so disgusted with HD/Lowes/Walmart et al, that I've pretty much adopted the following sentence. 'Will you call the store manager, please?'... I use it often. Gets great results. Jim

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 4:38AM
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"I told her I did not want a credit, that I specifically told her 'debit'. Her reply was that her manager put her on this register that doesn't have a number pad, so she just rings everything up as a credit, regardless of what the customer wants. I was shocked! As we had just put a sizeable purchase on that particular card, this clerk's decision to ring my purchase as a 'credit' without warning caused the credit card to be overlimit, and we all know what those overlimit charges add to your statement."

It comes out of your account the same if it's credit or debit so I don't understand the problem.

I know quite a bit about banking and don't understand what you're saying the problem is.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 4:45PM
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Randy Ritchie

The Debit card is linked to not only checking, but also functions as a credit card to a credit card account with the bank. There are two separate accounts. The checking account (which we use the debit card for) is separate for the credit card account, which had no more available credit on it, due to a recently purchased replacement furnace being put on the credit card. There was, however, plenty of cash in the checking account for the purchase. The instruction to process it as a debit would take the funds out of the checking account, not put them as a credit charge on a credit card. By processing it as a credit, it is not deducted from the checking account, but rather, it is put on the charge card, which caused it to be overlimit.

While I respect those who work in banking, there are a myriad of bank accounts and processes, and it is dangerous to assume that what happens in one bank or even one region of the country, is the same in all areas of the country.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 5:01PM
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I made a concerted effort to patronize owner operated businesses a few years ago. Best decision I ever made. Being frugal isn't always about cheapest price. The value I get by the good service I receive is measured in more than dollars. It's peace of mind, low blood pressure, a smile on my face. And the jobs stay locally.

Yea, there are some big box stores that have good employees, but then that manager will get transferred to a new store, the employees will get disgruntled under a less able manager, and you'll be wondering where they went. Most big box stores don't leave a manager in one place for too long.

My local feed/garden store is currently run by the grandson of the founder, and his 10 year old son is frequently there learning the biz. I expect to be able to shop there when I'm too senile to know what I came in for. They'll know what I want!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 9:00AM
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WhtRos(USDA z5a IL)

I have been reading this thread for a year or so now. And I've been wondering why jeribelle handed her card to the cashier in the first place since she knew she didn't want her purchase to be run as a Debit. She seems savvy enough to know you can't run a card as a Debit without a pin # and you can't enter a pin # without a key pad of some kind. Seems to me she set this poor cashier up to take a huge fall she didn't deserve! Everyone else runs their Debit cards either as a Debit or sign as a Credit so how was she to know jeribelle's card was any different? If it made that much difference which way it was run, she should have made sure before handing the cashier her card if it truly would be run as a Debit. Seems to me she is reaming out the poor cashier for her own stupidity!!! I know no one will agree with me but I've heard enough about bad employees. And I agree that a lot of time they don't do their job properly due to inexperience, etc. But a lot of times the customer brings it on themselves like the lady with the operation on her arm. Why didn't she just make 1 short explanatory statement about her operation and ask for help? Would have saved everyone from becoming frustrated.
Best wishes, Barbara.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2004 at 12:24AM
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gardenfaerie(z5b Michigan)

The reason the big box stores are cheap is that, among other things, you do some of the "dirty work" (lugging, lifting) yourself. I normally have no problem with this and the few times I've bought something too heavy for me, or just VERY MANY of something not so heavy, I have asked for, and gotten, help loading it into my car. It took a while for an employee to be available to help me, but I was not given any weird looks.

I agree with Barbara that it may have gone more smoothly if Bruggirl's friend had explained about her elbow while asking for help.

In principal, I'm all for supporting local, small businesses and I go there when I can. But for generic things (mulch, top soil, pavers, sand, etc. things that are pretty much the same anywhere and the only differentiator is price), I will go to Lowe's. They also have plants on sale at very low prices, sometimes. Sometimes it just comes down to money. I realize this and know what to expect when going to Lowe's.

As a wise man once said "It's all about trade-offs."

If I want more personal service or a high-end selection of plants, I will go to a local hardware store or local nursery grower. However, I realize I will be paying more for my plants because a small business has different demands and can't afford to see at "big box" prices.

On the other hand, if I need something that's pretty much the same anywhere (see above), or price is a major factor, I go to a sale or to a big box store. I don't go there expecting the garden staff to know speciality plants, give me growing tips, and help me get my purchase home.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2004 at 2:24PM
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I agree with people that have mentioned that you get what you pay for. We live across from Walmart, but we never go there. We prefer not to patronize business that don't treat their employees with dignity and that's it. You cannot expect an employee to smile like he/she just had extreme surgery, if they are not being paid and treated properly. It is sad but the very fact that all these abuses exist freely is because in theory, people will choose wisely and the best will prevail, yet this is not the case. Most people do not provide feedback by complaining when necessary, or just go for the cheapest of the cheapest and basically support slavery by doing so.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2004 at 3:30PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

Barbara, one would expect that when you hand a card to a cashier and request "debit" that said cashier would ring it up as debit. If the cashier was unable, or didn't know how to ring the charge up as "debit", she should have explained that her register was incapable of doing so, and called a manager over so they could accommodate Jeribelle by ringing the purchase on another register. If the cashier mistakenly rang up the purchase as "credit" (although in this day and age, I don't understand how a cashier in any retail establishment would not have a fundamental understanding of different credit/debit cards and how they work), she should have been able to immediately refund or cancel the credit charge on the spot, and point Jeribelle to another register that could accommodate "debit". I agree that one should not have to walk to the "customer service" desk, wait in line for a lengthy period of time, in order to correct a cashier's mistake.

Good thing I was looking over my bank statement the other day. I found a double debit from my local grocery chain in the amount of $80+. Both charges made within a minute of each other for the exact amount, obviously the charge was put through twice. By the time I got my statement and discovered the mistake, nearly a month had went by. Took it to grocery store's customer service and explained I needed a credit for the amt. they overcharged. Clerk at first tried to tell me I had to take it up with my credit card co! put in a "dispute". I don't know if any of you have ever "disputed" a credit charge, but it is not as simple as just calling the credit card co., explaining your dilemna, and voila! the charge is erased. There has to be an investigation (and the involvement of a mediator if the retailer disputes your dispute, which can take two months at best, and up to a year is possible before the charge can be settled). I told the clerk that in no uncertain terms was I going through the trouble of "disputing" the charge with my cc co. The store had already held my $87 for nearly a month, I had to make a special trip to the store to inform them of the double charge, plus wait in line. I was not going to go home and make phone calls and wait several more months before getting the charge credited back to me. The clerk kept trying to tell me that that is how they do it, she was not able to do it any other way. That is well and fine for her, and I feel bad that her employer doesn't enable management to make simple decisions to accommodate obvious errors made by their store, but that is not my problem. Demanded to speak to the store manager, who suddenly found a way to credit back the overcharge. I honestly don't have time for those things.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 8:32AM
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WhtRos(USDA z5a IL)

I must be missing something here.
I would never hand my card to a cashier requesting "Debit" Before I knew for sure she could actually ring it up as a Debit. A cashier cannot tender a transaction as a Debit without your pin # and there are extremely few places that have portable keypads they can hand you to enter your pin #. A sale can only be aborted Before it is tendered. Once a sale has been finalized it cannot be reversed without issuing a credit to your account. This can only be done at the service desk where their registers or a Customer Service Manager has the capability. As I said before -- if it was this important to have the sale rung up specifically as a Debit she should have made sure it could be done at that register Before handing the cashier her card!!!!

**I don't understand how a cashier in any retail establishment would not have a fundamental understanding of different credit/debit cards and how they work** A lot of customers have no clue how their cards work. I've seen customers run their card and then ask the cashier if they should press credit or debit!! How is the cashier supposed to know what they have? They all look the same.

I still say a little common sense by jerribelle would have saved her a lot of trouble!!
And she is blaming the cashier for her foolishness!! I am tired of people blaming others for situations that could easily have been avoided such as this one.
Best wishes as always, Barbara.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2004 at 10:45PM
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CRMiller(z9 CA)

"if it was this important to have the sale rung up specifically as a Debit she should have made sure it could be done at that register Before handing the cashier her card!!!!"
Maybe the cashier should have said " I cant ring this up as Debit here" BEFORE she decided to ring it as credit. Im sorry but i do not think Jerribelle is at fault here. The cashier should have said something before assuming. She is not blaming the cashier for her "foolishness".

    Bookmark   September 18, 2004 at 11:40PM
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Barbara, that's the old "blame the victim" talk that way too many people indulge in all over this country. The rape victim should have known that she shouldn't be walking alone at night. The home invasion robbery victim should have known not to open the door until they were certain who was there. Etc., etc., etc.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2004 at 2:46AM
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Kamine(z6 IN)

I would have thought handing the card to the cashier and saying "Debit" that she would have said sorry I can not run a debit card here, you will need to go to a different lineand that would have been the end of it. Yet knowingly running the card as credit, it was the cashierÂs fault. Why would the customer be blamed for the cashier not speaking up? Why blame the person with the poor service?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2004 at 8:47PM
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Reginak--try the Aspen Hill HD. I've never had any bad experiences there and the clerks will lift heavy stuff without copping a 'tude.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2004 at 12:29PM
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godsdog(z10 LA ss22)

I shop at home despot for common and large purchase items because I can buy script which supports my grandchild's school. The service is non-existant but marginally worse than the other big box stores. Last week when it was raining very hard (for SCal)and the few customers were huddled under the eave to wait for a break in the rain. The manager and the security guard were out pushing people into the rain and shooing them away from trying to park close enough to the door to load items they didn't want to get wet. The security chief was worried about maintaining a 'fire lane.' From the comments of the customers, I think they lost a lot of good will.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 12:02PM
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I am a cashier at Wal~Mart (out on unpaid medical leave of absence at the moment), and I thought I might explain why some things are the way they are at Wal~Mart (which is not to say I necessarily agree with them all.)

First, people are sent to the Customer Service Department when their transactions require a refund of some sort because Wal~Mart stores are committed to getting their customers checked out without a long wait in line. So it is felt that a customer requiring a refund will hold up the line, which makes customers with "simple" transactions wait much longer. Also, cashiers at Wal~Mart do not have the actual ability to do anything involving a refund. Only special customer service reps may do that, and only on registers that allow refunds (which are the Customer Service Department registers). I have occassionally rung something up incorrectly and didn't realize it until after the transaction was completed. Sometimes it hasn't been for a very large amount, either. Maybe a dollar or so. Yet, I do want them to only pay the proper price for their purchase. I really wish that I could open my drawer and refund their dollar, saving them that wait in the Customer Service line, but I can't. Not "don't wanna" but actually just can't.

Second, I do try to accommodate people buying large items, whether they are actually disabled or not. I will ask a customer whether they need help getting the item out to their car, and will call a stock-person to assist them if they do need help. Sometimes, the stock guys are out bringing in carts from the parking lot, or helping other customers get things down off of high shelves, or helping other customers out to their cars with items, or otherwise engaged. Sometimes it takes a while, and -- when it does --customers must understand that. I, as a cashier, don't have the authority to make people drop what they're doing. (But, no, peeking out of the back of the store to make sure you've finished loading things yourself before coming out to ask if you "need help" is unexcusable.) Most certainly, if a person had a disability I could not see, and they said something to me along the lines of "I've just had surgery on my elbow and I'm not supposed to lift anything. Could someone help me get my purchases to the car?" of course I would call someone to help. (I just recently had heart-surgery and was not allowed to lift anything above 5-pounds for the longest time. I did find that if I made my needs known in any store, not just the big box stores, people were quite willing to assist me. But I suspect, had I "kept it a secret" they may have looked askance at me when I did not want to lift my own gallon of milk. So never feel shy about asking if you need help.)

Third, cashiers in Wal~Mart stores "cover" for other cashiers when they are on breaks or lunch, etc. I am normally a "front end" cashier, but I often go back to the garden department when the regular cashier is away or even all day when someone calls in sick, etc. While I try to treat all Wal~Mart customers with kindness and courtesy, the Lawn and Garden department is not my regular work area and, no matter how hard I may try, I'm not going to be as familiar with the stock, etc. as the regular L&G cashier would be. Yes, I will attempt to answer the customer's question, or find someone who has the answer, but I confess I'm not as quick with stuff when I work the L&G register. (Although I certainly do know that some cards may be used as credit or debit and would think any properly trained-cashier should know that as well. All Wal~Mart stores have portable machines -- they even take them outside the store for side-walk sales for heaven sake -- and any store should have the proper equipment in place for any register that accepts "plastic." That includes a key-pad for debit cards.)

Fourth, please keep in mind what these people are paid. If I gave you a dollar wage amount, it wouldn't mean anything, as costs of living are higher or lower in different parts of the country. Suffice it to say that a full-time cashier, working for Wal~Mart, is eligible for food stamp benefits from the federal government. Those wonderful insurance benefits you see the guy and talking about (his son needed extensive medical treatment and he couldn't have afforded it without his Wal~Mart insurance) in the TV ads? He's a member of management. Lowly workers cannot afford Wal~Marts insurance for just themselves, let alone their dependents. You cannot live, if you are a single person, on a full-time job as a Wal~Mart cashier. So you have to have a second job. And people who work two jobs have a tendency to be tired. And tiredness makes for cranky people sometimes, as well as seemingly-foolish errors. (Don't get me wrong here. I'm not excusing behavior by surly cashiers. We should all be at our most helpful when we're at work, and if we can't, we should find another line of work that doesn't involve dealing with the public.)

Fifth, cashiers at Wal~Mart earn raises (on their hire-anniversary dates) based -- in part -- on their "IPH." That's "Items Per Hour." They sign onto a register and it actually keeps track of how many items they scan per hour. So when you want to have a conversation with a Wal~Mart cashier after your transaction is begun, but before it's finished, you may well be slowing that cashiers IPH way down. And that could mean the difference between the cashier receiving their raise. If you knew that a specific cashier would not get that valuable 20-cent per hour raise because you didn't want to go stand in a Customer Service line for 10 minutes of your valuable time.......?? Again, I'm not saying that's the way it should be. But it's the way it is.

Lastly, I'd like to give you a cashier's-eye-view of something that happened to me a short while ago: I had a customer, in a busy line, and I was ringing up his purchases. One of the clothing items had the package opened, and I asked him if he was aware of that. (Thinking he may have taken the item out, and then put it back in the plastic bag.) He huffily said, "If it's a problem, I don't want it," making sure I knew he was in a huge hurry. I said, "It's not a problem in that I can easily ring it up, but I wanted to make sure you knew it was opened." Of course, I was only attempting to make sure the purchased item wasn't "a problem" when the customer got it home and discovered the package of T-shirts only contained 2, and not 3, (or whatever) and had to bring it back for a refund. All he needed to say was either "Yes, I know it's been opened" or "No, I didn't know, please set it aside." But what he chose to do was to scream "Forget it!" at me and then walked off in a huff, leaving me with about six bags of his purchases that were already rung-up and bagged. (If this man was in such a hurry, why did he come in to the store and buy a an entire cart of merchandise? Mine is not to reason why.) So I had to call my Customer Service Manager over and have the sale voided (cashiers cannot void their own sales) and the bags loaded into another cart so that I'd have room to check other customers out, causing all the other people in line to wait. (I couldn't help myself. As the man stalked off, I said, "Thank you, sir." Not snotty. Just as though I really meant it. And, really, I did. I was so grateful that he'd left!!) Even when cashiers try very hard to look out for the customers interest, we can end up being treated very rudely. But we do it, just the same. Yes, my IPH was slowed way down by all of that. And yes, I was a bit rattled by what had happened. And the next customer in line could have been nasty because of my seeming inefficiency as a result of it. But she stood there patiently, shook her head over my previous "customer" and commisserated with me. (As a result, I wrapped her glass candy dish in two extra bags, not the customary one.)

I'm not saying you should accept shabby treatment. If a store's policies seem wrong or an employee is not polite to you, yes, you should complain to management -- or higher, if necessary -- about them. Just don't be too quick to blame what happens in a store on the cashier, just because s/he is the person in the store you have most contact with.



    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 12:51PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

Wow, Sno. Thanks for the wonderful insight! Very well said.

I think most of us know whatever problems we occasion at the big box stores are likely not the employee's fault. It's the management and/or corporate policy. And so many rules that can't be "bent", such as refunding an item on the spot. Like the time I scanned over the receipt immediately after receiving it (still in line) and found the Walmart cashier had rung up an item twice. It was a real inconvenience to have to go wait in a long line at customer service to get my money back, that was no fault of my own. It's too bad Walmart puts so little trust in their employees that they can't even allow a cashier to void a sale or give a refund for an obvious error.

I wonder if they have looked into how much time is wasted, constantly, when cashiers have to slow down because they need assistance from a "manager" to insert that special key, or whatever, for a simple void. Or when customers have to wait in line because somebody needs a price check (my #1 aggravation). All because they don't trust the cashier to make a simple on-the-spot decision.

I'm afraid you cashiers probably get the brunt of customer's frustration, even if we know it's not your fault, because we all feel that taking the time to fill out those little comment cards or waiting around to speak to a manager will likely do little to solve the problem.

Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 5:42PM
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I VERY recently got my first job as a cashier,(not 1st job, just 1st in the service ind) and was quite displeased with the training I recieved before being sent out to deal with customers. There were so many things on the menu of the computerized cash register that the boss said"you won't ever have to deal with that..."and that was that. I have found that I have to apologise frequently for not knowing how to do so many of the things customer wants...But it helps if I tell them "Thank You for your patience" or "I'm so sorry I don't know the answer for that"...but of course problems only arise when the manager is either at lunch or on the other side of the store LOL

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 12:50AM
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Jungle_Jim(zone 8 / WA)

Well, Sno...all I can tell ya about the guy who stormed out on you was probably afraid you would count those t-shirts and discover he had stuffed an additional 1 or 2 in the package. That's why he screamed at you and walked out. Good call on your part. And thank you for describing how Wal-Mart truly is. I have even less respect for them and will continue not to shop there. Thanks for the insight. At least you will have the experience to apply to your resume' and secure a more profitable position for yourself elsewere...Jim

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 3:41AM
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Sno, that was SO enlightening though not unexpected. Please bear in mind that this is not directed at Sno, but our community has just been savaged by the company. I find the touchy-feely Wal Mart TV ads revolting. Because the local older WalMart was 'too small', the corporation just rammed a SuperCenter into our community after a 2-year legal fight, threatening to sue protestors individually (anyone have enough money to counter the WalMart corporate attorneys?). They destroyed a beautiful old building and green riverfront, putting in a catch basin right next to the river, which will accumulate all the petrochemical runoff from the parking lot. Then, when there's a flood, the poisons will go straight in the river. We had catastrophic floods in town this past winter from that same river, after they graded what will be the largest parking lot in western North Carolina. They have destroyed what were beautiful mountains and tree cover to build this...thing. So I do everything I can, as much as our family budget allows, to shop independent merchants. Apparently Christmas sales are below projections. Maybe people are finally connecting the personal to the political.

Re the other big box stores, our local Lowe's is far superior to HD in selection and customer service. You know, when the latest CEO took over HD, he was actually going to completely *eliminate* the customer service desks at the stores as a cost-cutting move. When it comes to buying plants and other supplies, we have some excellent independent nurseries that I go to.

Regarding big box customer service, I am sure store policy is designed to insulate management from customer service problems. I don't shop at Best Buy stores any more because the customer service manager was so surly when I asked to see the store manager because the SCM was refusing to give me a refund under a speial situation. He kept insisting he had the authority to deal with the situation, and the answer was no. He was yelling at me as I walked away from him and into the store to find the store manager, who gave me the refund. I encountered great unpleasantness with the CSM the second time I went to the store, complained to the (new) store manager who got defensive, so I concluded, Never Again. I told my family members if they wanted something from the store, or needed some kind of repair or customer service from it, they'd have to do it themselves.

The best response to all this maltreatment and misbehavior is to buy from locally based businesses. There's a movement here to encourage people to do just that.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 8:22AM
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Randy Ritchie

Here's the latest on HD here.

January 2004-bought materials to remodel a sunroom, including sliding glass doors with screens.

Feb 2004 -HD called to say doors were in and set up delivery. Since customer has paid for everything and doors came in after delivery, had difficult time persuading them that the delivery was at their cost, but finally resolved. Doors arrived right color and size, but screen doors came in white instead of bronze-tone. HD had to come back and pick up the doors and re-order them.

March 2004-HD calls to tell me to come pick up the screen doors. Go through the delivery cost hassle again, and finally after 4 telephone transfers a manager clears up the mess. Delivery reveals that 1 of the doors is damaged. HD picks up the damaged door.

April 2004- contractor problems delay project.

July 2004- new contractor working on project, doing a fine job.

Aug 2004 - new contractor must do major adjustment on sliding glass doors which were wracked in production or shipment, and consequently not square and would not fit the openings. After much work on doors, the sliding glass doors fit perfectly.

Sept 2004 - Contractor advises me sliding screen doors do not fit. Call HD and get transferred 5 times. Ask for manager, explaining problem. Ask him to please have the correct screen doors ordered.

Oct 2004 - HD calls to advise me screen door is in. Ask what color and how many, and am advised there is only one door. Ask for manager to discuss that there were supposed to be 4 doors ordered. Manager accuses me of not making it clear that all 4 doors did not fit. Getting a bit irritated at the HD corporation and local store by this time. Convince manager that he must order 4 screen doors in bronze tone.

Nov 2004 - HD calls to advise my door is in. Ask for manager. Manager checks order and finds that one white sliding screen door has been ordered, not 4 bronze tone, and it is the same size as original order. Advise I will not accept delivery.

Late Nov 2004 - Have sold my house and new owners want the screen doors. Good luck with HD. Anyhow, I call HD and immediately get transferred 6 times, and demand manager. Manager looks at history and says he doesn't understand why the doors don't fit, that the contractor must not know how to install them. Grrrrr. Manager says they want to come and see the doors to verify the doors do not fit, as customers frequently don't know how to install them. I advise manager he can send anybody he wants to but it's his problem at this point.

Later Nov 2004 - Have not heard back from HD, so call manager to find out status on doors. He advises me he has to review the account to find out what is being done and will call me back. I decline the call back and demand to hold so he can answer me then and there. After much time, he advises me that he wants to have the manufacturer look at the doors. He advises the manufacturer will call me to schedule appointment.

Dec 1, 2004 - Still haven't heard anything from HD manager nor manufacturer. Send letter to the manager at local HD to request the replacement screen doors by Dec 10th when new owners take possession of house. HD has not responded to date.

Will be sending copy of letter sent to mgr certified to CEO of HD on Monday.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 9:15AM
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Wow! Almost an entire year and nothing has been resolved? We've had a lot of problems with them but nothing like that.
This year I'm steering clear of Target because they won't allow Salvation Army's bell-ringers in front of the store.
Pretty soon I'm going to run out of places to shop!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 11:45AM
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Please reconsider shopping at Target.


When you purchase a $30 Target gift card they take $5 off your card and match it with their own $5 to donate to St. Judes...which is a very worthy cause...I am buying Target gift cards this year for all my family.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 8:12PM
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I'm with you mudbug. When I heard the french owned Target stores would not even allow the bell ringers, it just doubled my reasons for never shopping there. I only give to two charities, thru my church, and Salvation Army. Over 97% of donations to SA go back into the community. No other organization can make this claim. Some use as much as half to cover administrative costs.

In reading these stories about the large box stores only intensifies my feelings about shopping locally. I took my mom to Walmart for groceries a couple of weeks ago and decided to pick up a few things while I was there. I am what is known as a frugal shopper : ), I check prices diligently. I found that milk was 1.00 more than my local grocery. I found a 50ft. roll of aluminum foil on sale for 1.97, but looking around, I found the same brand in a 75ft. roll, regular price 1.94. I found more of this deception, because I was looking for it. No thanks. My local grocery treats me like a valued customer, will find what I'm looking for if I can't, will order what I need if it isn't in stock. I find the same goes for all local businesses, they are helpful, I can deal with the same person tomorrow that I did today, thier prices are generally competitive, and they want my business.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 7:58AM
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Wow, I am totally flabergated at all the stories that I have just read. I live in Winnipeg, in Canada and work for Wal*Marts as a cashier and I must say to SNOBUNNY, Hooray!! You said it exactly as it happens in the store that I work in.

We also try our utmost to make the customer happy. Asking if they need help with their BIG TICKET ITEMS ( TV's, Cabinets, Microwaves etc.) If they say "Yes", I immediately call for "Store Standards" and you are right, sometimes it takes 10-15 min. for the customer to wait because Store Standards are bringing in Carts from the outside or presently helping other customers with their items. We usually have 2 Store standards on the same shift.
I explain to the customer that they may have to wait a few minutes, and I have never had a customer get upset for waiting. 2 separate customers even offered "Jeff" our store standards associate a tip. Of course, he refused and explained that he gets paid for doing his job.

As for the IPH, I hate it. You are right, it does go in our personal file and a record is kept. But, were you not told to do the following: If you are waiting for a price check or have to explain something to the customer or when the customer is using their debit or credit card or any other reason that you are not scanning their items, to click - SIGN OUT, TOTAL. ?? This STOPS the register from counting the minutes. And when you want to proceed then you put in your Password ?? Just curious. My IPH moves from 570 to 671 at times.

I also agree that Wal*Mart does sneaky stuff too. Example, will put Michalino frozen dinners right beside another brand. Michalino will sell at $l.47 and the other brand at .98 When the other brand is sold out, customers pick up 4-10 Michalinos thinking they are at .98. This is NOT the fault of the workers in that area. They are told by Management how to stock the shelves.

Always remember, workers (staff) at these places are told how Wal*Mart's head office wants the place run. You want to blame the Managers of the store? No Good. They are only following orders too.

We usually have a Little Meeting at the end of the night, the Manager will tell us how much WE made that night, the value of the shares for that day etc. And before we are "dismissed", he will Yell: "Who's Wal*Mart is this?" Of course, the expected response is supposed to be: "Our Wal*Mart!", at the last meeting, I responded with: "Sam Walton's Sons' Wal*Mart." The people around me cracked up laughing and said "You're so right, Liz"

In closing, please remember...We are ALL working for a living. Some have better jobs, some don't, but we ALL have to follow orders. So don't take your anger and frustrations on the wrong people.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 10:23PM
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I have to correct myself, I posted an urban legend. Target is not a french owned company, but totally american owned. I did some research yesterday. Still won't allow Salvation Army bell ringers, or even the Marines Toys for Tots.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 5:25AM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

Target says they won't let Salvation Army or any other charity solicit, because if they let one, then they have to let them all. But who says they have to let them all? They could make a store policy that says they only allow charities that return 97% (or more) back to the cause. Or they could make a store policy saying they only allow the Salvation Army to solicit and that is all. It is their property, after all. Kind of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 6:59AM
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Of course they have the right to do whatever they please in respect to charities. I also have the right to drive right past their store. What I don't understand is why after all these years they suddenly decide to change their policy toward SA. There have been bell-ringers out front for as long as I can remember.

Just read this article about WM. With appologies to Jerribelle for hi-jacking.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 11:42AM
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New Mexico must be a different place! We have shopped at HD and Lowes in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.(NM residents for 38 years) We use the different stores only because they sometimes carry different items. The personnel of both have always been helpful and courteous. Some days we may hit a time when help is not plentiful at either store but that is a factor even the best manager cannot always control. We don't expect to get premium treatment on a busy Saturday afternoon, for example. I love the variety and prices of the "big boxes". People in NM are 'in general' polite and helpful but maybe my grey hair is a factor!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 10:17AM
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I have ban shopping at walmart or home depot, as hd is owned by walmart, for the simple fact that they do not help our economy and they encourage slave labor. You can read all about it online. I try to shop at stores who carry many made in USA products or made by other countries not using people under military rule as slaves. I have found a few small places owned by nieghbors and they give me the best down home service anyone could ask for.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 8:52AM
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karen715(z5 IL)

Home Depot is not owned by Walmart. Where on earth did you get that idea?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 9:47PM
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Unfortunately, I am a "certified nursery consultant" at HD. I am very sorry for all the bad things that happen there, it is all too common and every complaint I have read is something that I have personally witnessed.

It isn't always the fault of the employee. The corporate policies of the company suck really really bad and alot of time, there is really nothing at all we can do to help you or speed up the process. They refuse to hire employees because "sales are down". They don't seem to get that if they actually helped people that their sales might go up. Consequently, the customers don't get any help at all. The part timers are nearly all unknowledgeable because they aren't allowed to work enough hours to go to training. If they want to take a training class, they have to have their schedule variance approved (it usually won't happen). It took 2 months of training for me to get my certification and I feel like I learn more from the customers than I learned from the computer. We are all miserable with all the rules and restrictions, like we are always under a microscope from management to do things properly. I understand following the rules, but sometimes helping a customer requires breaking one.

I wish customers would use the self checkout. I know you don't pay to wait on yourself.. but when it's 8:30 (we are open until 10) and there is only 1 cashier for the whole store.. waiting in line, getting mad, and yelling at the cashier does you no good. When I was a cashier and I had a long long long line of angry customers.. I can't even describe the feeling.. anxiety, fear, helplessness, confusion. I couldn't help it.. they only scheduled me to close. Plus I had other duties (cleaning entire front end, red zone, etc.) that had to be done before 10:30 because we aren't allowed overtime.. not even those of us that work 20 hours a week. I also wish I were strong enough to help customers load their items. I can handle about 10 bags of potting soil or rock.. after that, I can't do it unless I stop for a minute. I'm a wimp but I do my best. I can't ever got a lot attendant because we usually only have one scheduled for the day so he's either not here yet, gone home, or busy helping other people.

Now that I'm in garden center.. I'm just as miserable. I can't do everything to help a customer. The pain is excruciating. The demands are unreasonable. At 9pm I was told, in addition to closing my department, doing my safety roll call, and helping customers.. I was to make signs and attach hard tags for 30 grills and 150 wheelbarrows (require two signs.. price and $10 assembly fee). I had only an hour to do all that and didn't finish. Needless to say, I got wrote up for not performing my job duties. I really hate my job and can't wait to quit. The only thing that makes me happy is that I am around the plants, I get to learn about them and teach some, and I can rescue the plants from overwater before the other incompetent employees can get to them (our big thing here is constantly watering the plants.. they droop and turn yellow, start rotting.. water them before they die!). It takes everything I have in me to not just go hide in the bathroom and cry (I do about once a day).

My biggest pet peeve besides the excruciating pain, the corporate policies, not being able to help customers, and salaried managers who work 10 hours a week? The plants...
They are so neglected. There is only so much I can do and they look horrible all the time. When they are not in full bloom.. we throw them away. When they droop.. we throw them away. They won't mark down or give away sickly or old plants... not even to the employees. I feel so bad chucking a perfectly healthy rose bush in the compacter. Why do they do this? "Because we get a full refund for them from our vendors". Just give them to me and get your refund!

I'm seriously considering just stealing cuttings and buying some rooting hormone. Would that be wrong since we are going to trash them anyways? lol

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 4:24AM
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Had a problem with Home Depot about 5 months ago ,called the 800 number and complained and also rec'd a 10% off coupon for my next purchase ... but they still have the same problems. Quess they are the same all over! Wish we had a Loew's near us! I live in New York.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 7:45AM
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beebees(E TN)

Our closest town is just now getting a few superstores. Unfortunately not the ones I like to use. We have a SuperWalmart and HD. Well, our Walmart is run by idiots, go there only for stuff I can't get at another nearby smaller store or if I don't want to drive 30 miles into Knoxville. HD - well - DH goes there for tools and stuff but their garden dept is or should be an embarrassment to that company. The plants are fine only if you get them within a few days of delivery. The tables are so close together that you can't get the cart through the aisles and even if you can, there is usually a hose left on the floor. It seems that my displeasure is with the people that work there because the HD in Knoxville (closest biggish city) is much better. It's my local one that raises my blood pressure. I'm hoping for a nearby Lowe's soon.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 8:53AM
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sedum37(Z5 MA)

darkbeauty_k - thank you for sharing your experience as an employee. We do not often get to hear the 'other side' of the story. I feel so bad hearing your plight! Hope you can get a new job soon where the stress isn't so great. Are there any 'real' garden centers in your area that you could apply to?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 10:32AM
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I had to laugh at this. I live in Ontario, Canada - and I've had similar problems with the HD cashiers on my end as well. One guy double charged my purchases and when I pointed it out to him, he gave me a grumpy response. The overcharges couldn't be corrected at the till and I had to go to another service area - take a long line up to get the charges reversed. And as I was going to that other line-up, another fellow who's purchases he'd processed came to complain that he too was double charged on some items....

In another experience, I was buying some hens and chicks (speading succulents) and this cashier took a look at them, stared me up for a bit and stated "They spread" as if to warn me off against purchasing the plants. I answered "I know" -- She was trying to process a pot I wanted to purchase, the laser couldn't read the bar codes -- She told me to "next time make sure the (laser) can read the bar codes. At this point, I was flabbergasted and unsure as to why I "the customer" is being told to "make sure" the products can be read by HD's equipment. I just bit my tongue, thinking that these may be just seasonal employees. In the weeks that followed, I noticed these folks weren't around anymore. I wonder if there'd been too many complaints?

In a third experience, my debit card somehow didn't connect with the bank. The cashier immediately phoned her manager without an explanation to me. I felt like being treated like a criminal. And then she tells me that it's the first time she's seen this happen and needed to call the manager for advice. She could have talked to me and I could have had her try to process my bank card once again. If the line was down, I would pay by cash.

Well, it's a box store, but I had hoped for better service than that.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 1:14PM
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mrsgeekboy(z6 SWOH)

I think I read this entire thread, but forgive me if I'm repeating something someone alrady mentioned.

I worked in retail for way too many years in HS and college, so I try to have sympathy for cashiers and the like. I just wish HD's garden center people knew about the plants they sell. Oh well, I shop at HD for convenience and go to locally owned nurseries when I want something unique or need real advice.

Anyway, earlier this month we were at HD and it was PACKED! I have never seen it that busy. There were long lines everywhere. Well, in the garden center itself there was at least one employee going through the line, scanning customer's merchandise. She then gave you a card similar to a debit card. When at last we got the register, the cashier only had to scan the card rather than ring everything up. I really do think it helped move the line.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 1:26PM
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lynne_melb(z9b Melb FL)

In my area, the HD's are quite messy and dirty, and the Lowe's are quite clean.

I like the garden department at Target the best because they have some unusual plants and some great sales. I'm annoyed with the management though, I bought some giant planters and needed some more to match it. They weren't carrying that color any more. I asked if they could order it, and they said no, "Target never orders anyhing for their customers". They also couldn't tell me if they would get any more of the color I wanted, or even when the shipment of planters to the store would be.

Also, when plants are damaged, they don't discount them or let customers take them home for free. They have them in the back of the department, where you can still see them, but then throw them away. Seems wasteful.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 10:55PM
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thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

If Target HQ uses JIT (just in time) restocking or the ordering is done at HQ (where they have all the statistics), they might not have access to any of that info. Seems likely.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 3:20AM
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sedum37- There are a few "mom -n- pop" nurseries that are very very small.. think 20'x20' stores. I live in a fairly small town.. maybe 20,000 people.. 70,000 people in my town and it's surrounding 6 or 7 towns/cities. Nothing really where I could work and make a living (20 hours a week.. $7.42 per hour. Like that's a living in the first place). I've been calling around every week or so see'ing if they need some help (come in for a few hours for $10-20.. something like that). No such luck yet.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 1:37AM
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I had "issues" at HD a couple of weeks ago, and ended up calling a manager...

The first issue had more to do with the lady in front of me. She wanted 4 of the large ferns that hang from cables overhead. She was, as I am... "vertically challenged". In other words... SHORT!

Anyway, the lady asked the cashier to help her take down some of the ferns... She was trying to decide which ones (she and I were the only customers, so she wasn't putting anyone out...) The guy grabs down 4 ferns - 1 nice one and 3 that were a little dry and definitely needed time to come back around. The women pointed to a couple that were still hanging - and said "I'd like to see those 2..." The guy rolled his eyes, hrrrrrumphed and said "They are ALL the same... GEESHHHHH." She looked at me a little shocked, and backed away from him. She didnt know what to say. I said to him "They are NOT all the same... Some are nicer than others..." Then his cell phone rang. He said, "So pick some out!" and he started taking a personal call on his phone. The lady gave up and walked away.

Then came my turn. Our HD Garden Center has the Debit/Credit option, and my card has a debit and credit feature. The difference is we get a percentage back at the end of the year, on all purchases made when you hit the "credit" button. Last year, our "earnings" check was approximately $2K!

Soooooo, the guy goes to ring me up.... (a $8 sale), and I pulled out my card. He rolled his eyes and said to me "you don't have cash?" I said, "Yep - but I'm not using it here..." (Okay - now I start feeling a little miffed.) So I go to use my "credit" feature and the screen comes up for me to enter my PIN. I told the guy I want to use "credit" and he said "Let me see your card". I held it up, and he said "Right there it says Debit." I told him credit was also an option, and I wanted to use it. He said "Why?" I answered "Why the heck not??? And please just run my CARD!!!" He finally ran the sale through, and the signature line didn't come up on the screen for some reason. When I said "I don't see a signature line..." he said to me "If you had used Debit you wouldn't have to WORRY about it!" Okay - that was it!

So I went in the store to get a manager... (which took me 15 minutes to get one to help me...) Walked him out to the FERNS right in front of the cashier and said... "Will you please get a fern down for me?" He said "Sure, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU LIKE?" I said, "You mean they are not ALL THE SAME?" He said, "No - some are nicer than others..." The cashier went pale... Then I told the manager that I had better wait to buy a fern, and proceeded to tell him about my experience with the cashier from HAYDES...
The cashier told the manager that I had "misunderstood" him, and that I had taken everything he said the wrong way.

The manager insisted that the cashier apologize to me, and the cashier took off his apron and said "I'm on break." He walked into the store.

The manager handed me a fern at "no charge", apologized for his employee, escorted me to my truck and walked away...

The manager handled the situation very well, but it is common for me to have to deal with rude employees the majority of the time I shop there

Meadow Lark

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 5:25PM
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O-o-o-o-h!!1 HD bashing!! My kinda fun!! Our local HD has people falling all over you up front as you come in, asking if you need anything, but if you leave those sacred aisles, there isn't an orange apron to be found (and you can't get them to follow you to the back of the store). Recently we spent over an hour in back trying to get help buying a water heater, twenty minutes trying to get someone to load a piece of flooring, 45 minutes trying to get help buying a pump, etc., etc., etc. I don't even go into their garden shop where help is non-existent. We have a Lowe's in the town where I work and the folks there are wonderful!! I actually worked at another Lowe's a few years back. Full time in the garden center. Loved the work, the customers, etc., but not the schedule. I told them I had to be off on Sunday's for church - at least in the morning or in the evening for one service. Never got it. Didn't even get to go to Wednesday night services (worked til closing those nights.) Well, that lasted about two weeks and I turned in my notice. My super asked me why I was leaving and I told her. She said (to my amazement) "Why, you don't act like you go to church." (I cut up and laugh with everyone, but I don't cuss, kick my dog, or act like an a**) I told her that she really wouldn't like me if I didn't go to church, so I quit. (But I still like to shop there.) But I've had my 'nuff of HD, either locally or in Knoxville.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 8:32AM
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Hello ... Hate Home Depot! Mine on LI - 11729,Deer Park to be exact is the pits! Sales people turn their backs to you as you walk down the isles ( avoiding you at all costs in case you have a question ), the store is understocked and MESSY, the customer service desk has young girls and women who just shuffle papers and know NOTHING!!! You could purchase lumber ( called culls ) a year ago cheap now they tell you it is for the CONTRACTERS ONLY ... their special people I quess. Not all around here are the PITS ... Farmingdale Home Depot is GOOD! I want a LOEW'S to come to town! I am thinking of printing out all these emails and mailing them to HD ... would take them down a few links in the PR Dept.........Maybe ... hopefully!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 11:09AM
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Actually, both our Home Depot & Lowe's here are quite good. Salespeople are friendly, helpful, & available - even to the point of always asking me if I need help loading my car, etc.

In fact, just last month at Home Depot we purchased a large Weeping Crabapple tree of a particular variety that I had been searching for for some time. The tree rang up for $40.00, which is what we thought it cost per the tag. The cashier told us that she was sure the tree was on sale & went to check. Sure enough - the tree was half off!!! So I got a wonderful 6' tall beautiful healthy tree for $20. And I thought it was a bargain at $40 - lol!!

I've never had a problem, regardless of whether I've been buying trees, plants, cement, lumber - whatever. Guess it varies from store to store. I wouldn't condemn the entire chain because your particular store is a bad apple.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 11:19AM
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Meadow Lark, you're my hero for today!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 1:37PM
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LOL Greening!

It's nice to know SOMEBODY appreciates me!

Meadow Lark

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 5:41PM
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Bravo Meadow Lark!

I usually just lurk but the HD caught my eye. Various bad experiences at that place.

I'll stop my shopping when all goes to the computerized checkout. I prefer a REAL person that brings home a REAL
paycheck. We're all backing outselves into a corner with that one.

Our Target has much much nicer plants too. : )


    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 8:58PM
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charlene_in_iowa(5 Zone)

I seem to remember a cashier once telling me that the store is charged some sort of charge each time it swipes a card as credit, in this area anyway. I think that it is charged by the Visa/Mastercard companies for using the service. Around here the store would prefer offering debit to their customers. I also suppose I am fortunate, for now, that our Home Depot is less than a year old and so there are plenty of helpful employees around.
Jeribelle I am really sorry to hear of your experience, there isn't a customer that I can imagine that should be treated as you had been.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 3:02AM
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Stores are charged when the customer uses a credit card. I have been charged when using a Debit card and my credit union advises to have it run as a regular credit card.

I would think the stores factor in their charges when pricing....just as they do for their wages, bags, utilities etc. They just make more when we use our Debit cards as such. We pay more when we don't use them as a Credit card. My charges have been fifty cents per transaction.

Either way...we're becoming a paperless society.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 1:19AM
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sandrakclev(zone 5 OH)

MOST credit/debit cards work out of one account - the only differences being that 1. for credit purchases the activity shows on the account immediately, but debit purchases take a day or two to show, and 2. in some cases the cardholder will be charged a bank fee for using a debit card at a retailer that uses a different bank.

Of course, the cashier should always ask if there's a preference, but usually it makes no difference in the end. There's no way I would carry one card for two accounts - that's asking for disaster. All it takes is a simple request that the bank issue separate cards - a debit card for the checking account and a separate credit card. An extra card is a small inconvenience to deal with for peace of mind and avoiding those kinds of fees.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 3:02AM
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Crafty_Canuck(W Canada)

Hello Friends:

OMG the fact that this thread has been going for nearly 2 years now speaks for itself!

We do not have either Lowes or HD in our city, we have a Rona's which I guess is a Canadian version of those types of stores but I still prefer to go to the family owned hardware stores in town reason being, there are employee's (or associates or whatever the heck they are called now!) that work in the 'building supply' section that I know have absolutely no experience in this area at all! They hire people whose only experience even remotely related to their area is the fact that they once fixed their toilet or replaced a light fixture or some such thing, they give them next to no training and lets be honest, some 18 year old kid is going to help a customer figure out what materials he needs to buy to build a deck from 'scratch' without any training..not going to happen!

I will keep going to the folks that have years of experience on me and at least have a clue what I am talking about!


    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 1:14AM
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I personally am a "garden center" worker with a huge name store.
I can relate to everyone on every level as I also buy my products from this store.
Please understand, that we are all under alot of pressure to get our "stuff" done for the day. As an experienced horticulturist, I find alot of trouble telling the "higher ups" what needs to be done and what "should" be done.
I am a single mom with four kids, and need the pay, however, I really try hard to help my customers out with such stuff.
I have gone as far as giving customers bug spray for trees that are being sold with "apple tree rust", giving out free replacement plants when our crappy ones fail, etc.
Our cashiers only go by what they are told, please dont snap on them.
As for the weather,....... we are out in the may snowstorms, freezing until 9pm when our shift is over, trying to preserve the plants, we are out in the pouring rain, like today, soaking wet feet and freezing, we are loading your cars/trucks with dirt/plants/bricks/ and whatever else your fancy entails.
I have had customers swear at me.....demand that I help them when I am helping someone else, worked through severe weather and even worked through a `black out``
I would like to ask everyone to please take a little more consideration for your `local garden center worker``
Please , give us a little bit more consideration.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 8:38PM
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Melissa, I understand your frustration. I shop at a local HD garden center only because I know one of the gals who works there. She is a certified advanced master gardener and works her butt off. When I see other people sitting on their tushes ringing up purchases, not even getting off the stool to help the customer and not even bagging the items for the customer, I get very angry. I always call the store manager first and then the regional manager. There are too many good people out of work to even hire these kinds of people and I demand that they fire the lazy ones. I also will call the store manager when an employee goes above and beyond and gives me great service. I would like to see more employee recognition for those who go above and beyond. I know the frustration as I was a cashier in a gas station and saw it all!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 9:23PM
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ladycraft(6b MO)

I really think it depends on what part of the country you are located in. Sadly I think it is alot of "society" teaching. The work ethic has changed alot. Then add the throw away world we live in. And the wages/benefits they are willing to pay employees. Respect isn't taught like it use to be. I know it is not everyone and there are those that try their hardest only to get catagorized by the ones that don't care. One bad experience gets more attention than 100 good deads. If you want individual, helpful people that aren't controlled by the regional people, shop the hometown stores.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 2:02PM
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At our HD store the customer is responsible for swipping their card and choosing debit or credit. Simple. We don't touch the cards unless they do not swipe. Even then if we have to swipe your card the computer automatically will prompt for a pin and then the customer would have to enter their pin on the pad located on the counter. If they ask for credit they have to sign the pen pad. There is no room for error.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:40PM
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