Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Home Depot Customer "Service" and How Much It Sucks

I've been looking for a blueberry plant as a companion to the one already in the yard. Wouldn't want the old one to get lonely, now would I?

I found this one at Home Depot. It was nicely shaped, and absolutely burgeoning with buds. Even though there was no varietal name on the label, the recipe for muffins on the label made me think it might be a self-fruitful variety, and I do have the older blueberry (which is self-fruitful, but could act as a pollinator), so I wasn't worried.

And dang, in spite of the sign in front of the display, this little darling was marked $6.88, a great price compared to the $8.98 on the sign. I snatched it up, thrilled to save two dollars.

But wait, when the cashier rang up my purchase, the price came up as $8.98! I turned the plant around and noted to the cashier that the price marked on the label was $6.88. She shrugged. "Those labels are always wrong."

Now, I've worked in retail, and learned at my mother's knee in her nursery/greenhouse, "The Customer Is Always Right." Even 40 years later, working for Orchard Supply Hardware, the same rule applied. You have it labeled wrong, you go with the price on the label. You ring up a customer, they quarrel with the price, you get a manager there ASAP and the customer get the price on the label. And afterward the manager goes and adjusts the barcodes and signs and gets it right. Every store has a computer system to generate correct barcodes. You go to the computer, punch in the UPC, set the price, and print out the new labels, which you then put on the product. Easy. Shrugging off a customer doesn't make it.

"Wrong answer," I replied.

She said not another word, handed me the receipt, and turned away.

Naturally, when I got home, I took the survey Home Depot invites you to take, and explained what had happened. They sent an automated response saying that someone from the store would call me at my convenience, did I receive calls in the morning, afternoon, or evening?

Morning, of course.

The next evening while no one was at home, I did receive a call, purportedly from the Store Manager, and he did leave a message. A very generic message, which meant he obviously had no idea why he was supposed to be calling, and he did leave a number to call him back ... but I could not make out what the last digit of the number was, and frankly, didn't feel like bickering with him and having to make another trip out of town to get to Home Depot for a lousy $2. It would have taken an hour to get there and back, and I don't work for $2/hr.

But, as it turned out, four days later we were in Home Depot again, to pick up a part that had finally come in. I headed out to the nursery to see if, at least, they had fixed their little boo-boo.

Signage still said $8.98. And on the labels of all those blueberry plants in the display, their little barcode and price said:

Home Depot didn't give half a shit about a customer complaint. They didn't give a shit about setting their store display correctly. They didn't give a shit about correcting things. Well, in fact, I've never known them to give a shit about anything customer. The only reason we were in the store in the first place is that they said they had the part we needed for our sink, because otherwise, they're a disappointingly lousy operation.

Alex wanted me to file complaints with the Better Business Bureau and with California Department of Weights and Measures, but those few days, I just didn't have time. That's what places like Home Depot count on, I guess. Best I can do is not shop there again.

And I won't.

No comments: