My house when I first bought it.
No, screw it, I'm just going to vent about one of the many crappy experiences I've had there. Let's face it, we all go there, but the experience lacks a certain Je ne sais quois. Oh wait, I DO know what it is. It's basic employee knowledge, and very basic customer service. I'm generally not the type to write angry emails to businesses, or to post nasty stuff on Yelp. Most of the reviews I leave online are quite positive. If something goes wrong, I usually either approach the biz directly, or chaulk it up to an off night. But, honestly, I'm frustrated with this Home Depot. I can't tell you how many friends/neighbors have shared similar experiences. I felt compelled to write an email. You can read it after the jump.
I visited your Rhode Island Avenue store tonight to buy paint for the exterior of my home. After selecting Behr colors, and cans of Behr paint, I approach the paint counter at Home Depot. The man at the counter plugs the color into the computer, and says that the computer told him to use a different base. I brought up Behr Premium Plus, and the computer called for Behr Ultimate Premium Plus. I went along with it, figuring a paint/primer combo might make more sense. I also planned to paint my trim, so I next gave him a can of semi-gloss exterior paint for tinting (saying I need a gallon of this in semi gloss). He plugs it into the computer, grabs another can of paint of the shelf. I assume it’s an exterior semi-gloss from the same line. It’s not. It's a flat masonry paint (I'm painting wood, and metal trim). After he mixes it, I see it, and tell him I wanted semi-gloss because I'm painting trim. He then refuses to make eye contact, and avoids speaking to me while mixing the rest of my paints. Did I commit some unknown paint counter faux pas?
I live in an older rowhouse in DC, so I visit this Home Depot very frequently. Probably about once a week if you include items I ask friends and contractors to purchase for me there. It’s never exactly had the best customer service. Although there was a young employee prowling the paint section, and eagerly searching out any customers who might possibly need help (big smile, and friendly demeanor). Sadly, that young employee is more the exception than the rule at this store. The problem at this store is so bad that I make a habit of frequenting the Lowe’s Hardware in the suburbs when I can, or visiting Frager’s Hardware (if I need assistance of any sort, or something specifically for older houses). That’s sort of crazy, when you consider that this Home Depot is a five-ten minute drive from my house.
I was not remotely rude to this man. I did not raise my voice, or insult/berate him in any way. I thanked him for each can of paint, despite the fact that he refused to look at me, or acknowledge me beyond saying exterior semi-gloss/exterior flat. He even made a point of, not only waiting on every other customer behind me first, but also cleaning the area for five minutes before dealing with me again at all. I don’t know if you consider that acceptable customer service, but I do not. As someone who has both worked retail, and waited tables, I have dealt with difficult customers with a smile. I was not a difficult customer tonight, but your employee failed to provide adequate service.
It seems to me that there are two basic issues here. The first is a lack of proper training. I assume that this employee believed he was doing the right thing by mixing my requested tint with masonry paint. Obviously, I can’t see the results on the computer he is using. I can only assume that he close the first available option of many. I doubt that Behr only suggests mixing any given tint with masonry paint regardless of the intended use. That makes no sense.
The second issue is that no employee should ever treat a customer like that. Part of working retail is putting on your happy face. This guy screwed up, and sought to punish me for his mistake. As a result, I probably spent an extra 20+ minutes standing at the paint counter. I don’t know your policy for waiting on existing customers, versus new customers, at the paint counter, but I doubt it includes placing a customer’s final can of tinted paint under the counter, seeing to any new customers, cleaning for five minutes, and then giving the customer the paint. Perhaps I am misinformed about your policies, and this is the standard. If so, let me apologize, and pledge to frequent other stores.