Is Home Depot shafting shoppers? "Home Depot is a consistent abuser of its customers' time."

Discussion in 'Building Construction' started by Stephen Blackpool, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. March 8, 2007
    Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215

    By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.

    By Scott Burns

    Sixteen years ago, I sent my wife a love note. It went like this:

    Carolyn: I've gone to Our Store. Be back soon. Love, Scott.

    We called Home Depot "our store" because we spent a lot of time there
    back in 1990. We're house freaks. Wherever we go, we imagine living
    there, owning a house or a condo. We like to remodel houses. In the
    past 16 years we've done major work on three houses in Dallas and two
    houses in Santa Fe, N.M.

    But I have a confession to make. I still love my wife, but we don't
    shop much at Home Depot anymore. Indeed, we generally try to avoid it
    and grieve for the loss.

    We're not alone. Last month Home Depot announced a whopping 28%
    decline in earnings for the fourth quarter. Even more striking, same-
    store sales were down 6.6% from the previous year. This had never
    happened before, not in all 28 years of company history. Once a growth
    darling, "the new Wal-Mart (WMT, news, msgs)" and a stock that sold at
    twice the market multiple, Home Depot is now widely discussed as a
    potential private-equity buyout candidate because it earns 22% on
    shareholder equity and has lots of assets to hock. Today it sells at a
    below-market multiple of 14.4 and offers an above-average dividend
    yield of 2.2%.

    Much of the recent disappointment in the stock is due to the slowdown
    in housing and the reassessment many are making of homes as an
    investment. With home resale prices flat to declining, many homeowners
    are reconsidering the kind of home-improvement projects that make for
    multiple visits and big spending.

    Home Depot rival Lowe's reported an earnings drop of 12% for the
    fourth quarter.

    Some of the less recent disappointment in Home Depot shares is due to
    the egregious compensation of its former CEO and his high-handed
    treatment of shareholders.

    Consistent abuser of customers' time.
    ========================

    But I'd like to suggest a much bigger reason that Home Depot has
    become a troubled and unloved company. I call it time abuse.

    Home Depot is a consistent abuser of its customers' time. Let me
    explain.

    Back in 1990, when my wife and I loved Home Depot, the stores were
    staffed with well-trained, knowledgeable and helpful people. If you
    had a question, even a silly one, it was easy to find someone who knew
    the answer. Home Depot had an amazing inventory. It also had a staff
    that helped you access that inventory and make choices.

    Though it didn't have employees waiting at the door, as do high-
    service stores such as Elliot's in Dallas and Big Jo in Santa Fe, you
    could make a purchase quickly at Home Depot.

    But that was then.

    Today, it is difficult to find a staff person at a Home Depot.
    Personally, I've left the store empty-handed after a hopeless wait.
    During one long wait shortly before Christmas, I commented to a worker
    that the store was so busy they must be getting lots of overtime.

    "No way," the employee said.

    My wife has gotten so frustrated waiting -- while trying to buy
    carpeting for an entire house -- that she has taken her business
    elsewhere.

    I know we're not alone. One of my friends started to seethe when I
    mentioned Home Depot. He'll buy things almost anywhere, except Home
    Depot. He hates having his time abused.

    Add people to the payroll
    ================

    That's what Home Depot does by short-staffing. It abuses our time. We
    can't get the help we need, and we can't make our purchases quickly.
    The result is that a once iconic, wonderfully American store has
    become an aggravation rather than a blessing.

    Home Depot is not unique. Many supermarket chains and some of the
    large department stores appear to have decided that short-staffing is
    the way to meet their profit plans, hoping to drop more dollars to
    their bottom lines by stealing our time at the checkout counter or
    elsewhere.

    My bet is that a few years from now someone will give this a clever
    name, like "millennial myopia" or some other phrase suitable for the
    Harvard Business Review. Until then, the investment bankers will be
    working on different ways to solve the share price problem with
    financial moves.

    Let's hope the board of directors at HD takes the time to learn what's
    obvious to ordinary people who do a lot for themselves and need to
    make good use of their time.

    The solution is to add people to the payroll rather than reducing both.
     
    Stephen Blackpool, Mar 9, 2007
    #1
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    Stephen Blackpool, Mar 9, 2007
    #2
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  3. "Stephen Blackpool" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > March 8, 2007
    > Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    > http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215
    >
    > By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    > the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.



    Let me get this straight: Brain-dead customers can't figure out how to open
    the yellow pages and find a hardware store, lumber yard, plumbing store,
    lighting store, or garden center, any of which will give better advice and
    often have better prices than Home Despot, and this is Home Despot's fault?
    Not the fault of brain dead parents who were too busy watching 200 channels
    of cable to to get off their fat, lazy asses and teach their kids how to
    find a merchant in the phone book?

    They live with their kids for 18 years or longer, and no time to teach
    something easy like this?
     
    JoeSpareBedroom, Mar 9, 2007
    #3
  4. Stephen Blackpool wrote:

    > March 8, 2007
    > Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    > http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215
    >
    > By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    > the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.
    >
    > By Scott Burns


    I think that they're trying to be more like Lowe's, where the staffing
    is thin (ten minutes to get help, even during lax periods) and the
    training almost nonexistent (three employees didn't know where the
    room air conditioners were stocked -- in July -- in Phoenix). Home
    Base did that when they tried to copy HD, and they're gone now.
     
    larry moe 'n curly, Mar 9, 2007
    #4
  5. "Chris Friesen" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > JoeSpareBedroom wrote:
    >
    >> Let me get this straight: Brain-dead customers can't figure out how to
    >> open the yellow pages and find a hardware store, lumber yard, plumbing
    >> store, lighting store, or garden center, any of which will give better
    >> advice and often have better prices than Home Despot....

    >
    > Around here, HD has the best prices on pretty much all electrical/plumbing
    > stuff.



    Hopefully, nobody interprets this to mean "everywhere", because it sure
    isn't the case here. And, even if the stuff is more expensive elsewhere, one
    must consider the rest of the equation: Walk into a good plumbing store,
    walk out with the right thing in 8 minutes. Walk into HD, and *maybe* you
    can find someone to help you get the right thing. Maybe you buy 5 things,
    knowing that one of them will be right, and you have to make another trip to
    return the other 4. Time is worth something, too.
     
    JoeSpareBedroom, Mar 9, 2007
    #5
  6. Stephen Blackpool

    Matt Barrow Guest

    "JoeSpareBedroom" <> wrote in message
    news:IIiIh.4581$...
    > "Stephen Blackpool" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> March 8, 2007
    >> Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    >> http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215
    >>
    >> By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    >> the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.

    >
    >
    > Let me get this straight: Brain-dead customers can't figure out how to
    > open the yellow pages and find a hardware store, lumber yard, plumbing
    > store, lighting store, or garden center, any of which will give better
    > advice and often have better prices than Home Despot, and this is Home
    > Despot's fault? Not the fault of brain dead parents who were too busy
    > watching 200 channels of cable to to get off their fat, lazy asses and
    > teach their kids how to find a merchant in the phone book?
    >
    > They live with their kids for 18 years or longer, and no time to teach
    > something easy like this?


    You've never run a business, have you?
     
    Matt Barrow, Mar 9, 2007
    #6
  7. "Matt Barrow" <mbarrow@site_fill.com> wrote in message
    news:v7kIh.15238$...
    >
    > "JoeSpareBedroom" <> wrote in message
    > news:IIiIh.4581$...
    >> "Stephen Blackpool" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>> March 8, 2007
    >>> Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    >>> http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215
    >>>
    >>> By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    >>> the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.

    >>
    >>
    >> Let me get this straight: Brain-dead customers can't figure out how to
    >> open the yellow pages and find a hardware store, lumber yard, plumbing
    >> store, lighting store, or garden center, any of which will give better
    >> advice and often have better prices than Home Despot, and this is Home
    >> Despot's fault? Not the fault of brain dead parents who were too busy
    >> watching 200 channels of cable to to get off their fat, lazy asses and
    >> teach their kids how to find a merchant in the phone book?
    >>
    >> They live with their kids for 18 years or longer, and no time to teach
    >> something easy like this?

    >
    > You've never run a business, have you?



    Matter of fact, yes. How do you feel your question relates to the fact that
    some people somehow reach adulthood with virtually no resources?
     
    JoeSpareBedroom, Mar 9, 2007
    #7
  8. Stephen Blackpool

    tom Guest

    "larry moe 'n curly" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > Stephen Blackpool wrote:
    >
    > > March 8, 2007
    > > Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    > >

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppe
    rs.aspx?GT1=9215
    > >
    > > By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    > > the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.
    > >
    > > By Scott Burns

    >
    > I think that they're trying to be more like Lowe's, where the staffing
    > is thin (ten minutes to get help, even during lax periods) and the
    > training almost nonexistent (three employees didn't know where the
    > room air conditioners were stocked -- in July -- in Phoenix). Home
    > Base did that when they tried to copy HD, and they're gone now.


    Water finds it's own level. I suspect they'll soon go the way of Handy Andy
    and Builders Square for the same reasons.
     
    tom, Mar 9, 2007
    #8
  9. "Chris Friesen" <> wrote in message
    >
    > Around here, HD has the best prices on pretty much all electrical/plumbing
    > stuff.
    >


    Glad I don't live "around here" where you are. I guess you didn't see my
    post from last Saturday about big box store pricing. My Taco circulator
    would have been $86 from HD, but was $61.48 from the plumbing supply house.
    A light fixture that was $10.99 at HD was $8.99 at a local
    hardware/lumber/home store.
     
    Edwin Pawlowski, Mar 10, 2007
    #9
  10. Notan wrote:
    > larry moe 'n curly wrote:
    > > Stephen Blackpool wrote:
    > >
    > >> March 8, 2007
    > >> Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    > >> http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215
    > >>
    > >> By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    > >> the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.
    > >>
    > >> By Scott Burns

    > >
    > > I think that they're trying to be more like Lowe's, where the staffing
    > > is thin (ten minutes to get help, even during lax periods) and the
    > > training almost nonexistent (three employees didn't know where the
    > > room air conditioners were stocked -- in July -- in Phoenix). Home
    > > Base did that when they tried to copy HD, and they're gone now.

    >
    > Maybe it's just 'cause they're new in our area, but I find Lowe's to be
    > cleaner, the salespeople are more helpful, and they actually have sales.
    > (Sales with prices that are lower than everyday prices, at both Lowe's
    > and Home Depot.)


    Lowe's looks nicer, and at first I thought that their people were
    less
    competent because they lacked experience, but they've been open
    here for at least 2-3 years, and they're still making the same
    mistakes --
    can't find products, don't know much about the products, lots of
    mismarked
    prices.

    Me: "What's the battery warranty on this cordless drill? The box
    doesn't say anything."

    Lowe's: "Uh...uh...hmm...it doesn't say. I don't know."

    HD: "90 days. The whole drill is warranted for two years. This one
    uses plastic
    gears, that one metal."

    I've yet to get an intelligent answer from Lowe's, except in their
    lighting dept.
     
    larry moe 'n curly, Mar 10, 2007
    #10
  11. Stephen Blackpool

    George Guest

    Re: Is Home Depot shafting shoppers? "Home Depot is a consistentabuser of its customers' time."

    JoeSpareBedroom wrote:


    >
    > Hopefully, nobody interprets this to mean "everywhere", because it sure
    > isn't the case here. And, even if the stuff is more expensive elsewhere, one
    > must consider the rest of the equation: Walk into a good plumbing store,
    > walk out with the right thing in 8 minutes. Walk into HD, and *maybe* you
    > can find someone to help you get the right thing. Maybe you buy 5 things,
    > knowing that one of them will be right, and you have to make another trip to
    > return the other 4. Time is worth something, too.
    >
    >


    Its the same where I live. It you want a good selection of stuff and you
    want to be quickly in and out and have the right stuff the first time
    you go to the real plumbing supply house.
     
    George, Mar 10, 2007
    #11
  12. Stephen Blackpool

    George Guest

    Re: Is Home Depot shafting shoppers? "Home Depot is a consistentabuser of its customers' time."

    Stephen Blackpool wrote:
    > March 8, 2007
    > Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    > http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215
    >
    > By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    > the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.
    >

    I am surprised that anyone is surprised. Big box stores are interested
    in wiping out all of the small stores. To do that they had to make
    themselves look like good guys at first. Once they decimate the small
    stores they can cut way back on staff and raise prices.
     
    George, Mar 10, 2007
    #12
  13. Finding the keyboard operational
    larry moe 'n curly entered:

    > Lowe's looks nicer, and at first I thought that their people were
    > less
    > competent because they lacked experience, but they've been open
    > here for at least 2-3 years, and they're still making the same
    > mistakes --
    > can't find products, don't know much about the products, lots of
    > mismarked
    > prices.
    >
    > Me: "What's the battery warranty on this cordless drill? The box
    > doesn't say anything."
    >
    > Lowe's: "Uh...uh...hmm...it doesn't say. I don't know."
    >
    > HD: "90 days. The whole drill is warranted for two years. This one
    > uses plastic
    > gears, that one metal."
    >
    > I've yet to get an intelligent answer from Lowe's, except in their
    > lighting dept.


    I have 4 HDs within 5 miles and 2 Lowes withi 7. I get the best service at 1
    of the HDs but any questions involve a little English to Spanish work but it
    is always the right answer. The other reason I use that one is that the
    sales tax is only half what the other must charge.
    I only use the big boxes if I can't get what I want at the local hardware.
    BOB
    --
    --
    Coffee worth staying up for - NY Times
    www.moondoggiecoffee.com
     
    The Other Funk, Mar 10, 2007
    #13
  14. Stephen Blackpool

    Mitch Guest

    At least you have choices. In my small town, all we have is a
    Menard's. Staffed only by retarded teenagers who avoid customer
    contact at all costs.
     
    Mitch, Mar 10, 2007
    #14
  15. "Mitch" <Mitch@...> wrote in message
    news:...
    > At least you have choices. In my small town, all we have is a
    > Menard's. Staffed only by retarded teenagers who avoid customer
    > contact at all costs.



    If the manager is near suicide daily, it would be understandable. :-(
     
    JoeSpareBedroom, Mar 10, 2007
    #15
  16. "Edwin Pawlowski" <> wrote in message
    news:%wpIh.6471$...
    >
    > "Chris Friesen" <> wrote in message
    >>
    >> Around here, HD has the best prices on pretty much all
    >> electrical/plumbing stuff.
    >>

    >
    > Glad I don't live "around here" where you are. I guess you didn't see my
    > post from last Saturday about big box store pricing. My Taco circulator
    > would have been $86 from HD, but was $61.48 from the plumbing supply
    > house. A light fixture that was $10.99 at HD was $8.99 at a local
    > hardware/lumber/home store.
    >


    You shouldn't expect much from big box store employees. Those stores get
    the quality of employees they pay for, and then treat them poorly.

    I worked at Lowe's part-time for awhile. Scary thing is they have trouble
    hiring because about 60% of people who apply can't pass the employment test!
    But with what they pay and the insane way they schedule shifts, I'd say the
    fact that they can attract any employees who can walk and talk is amazing.
    Getting people who actually care would be a miracle. But, unbelieveably,
    they do have ongoing required training - it's just that many of the
    employees don't give a damn.

    I also worked at HD full-time for a VERY short period. Their employment
    practices make Lowe's look great! I was on the floor for two weeks with NO
    training, and it took over a week to meet my department manager. They're so
    nuts about overtime that they have employees lined up at the time card
    machine 10 minutes before their shifts are over so that they don't go 5
    minutes over their regular time.

    --
    nj_dilettante
    in the words of the immortal Sgt Schultz:
    ~~ I know NOTH-THING ~~
     
    justadilettante, Mar 10, 2007
    #16
  17. "justadilettante" <> wrote in message
    news:iOAIh.15$...
    >
    > "Edwin Pawlowski" <> wrote in message
    > news:%wpIh.6471$...
    >>
    >> "Chris Friesen" <> wrote in message
    >>>
    >>> Around here, HD has the best prices on pretty much all
    >>> electrical/plumbing stuff.
    >>>

    >>
    >> Glad I don't live "around here" where you are. I guess you didn't see my
    >> post from last Saturday about big box store pricing. My Taco circulator
    >> would have been $86 from HD, but was $61.48 from the plumbing supply
    >> house. A light fixture that was $10.99 at HD was $8.99 at a local
    >> hardware/lumber/home store.
    >>

    >
    > You shouldn't expect much from big box store employees. Those stores get
    > the quality of employees they pay for, and then treat them poorly.
    >
    > I worked at Lowe's part-time for awhile. Scary thing is they have trouble
    > hiring because about 60% of people who apply can't pass the employment
    > test! But with what they pay and the insane way they schedule shifts, I'd
    > say the fact that they can attract any employees who can walk and talk is
    > amazing. Getting people who actually care would be a miracle. But,
    > unbelieveably, they do have ongoing required training - it's just that
    > many of the employees don't give a damn.
    >
    > I also worked at HD full-time for a VERY short period. Their employment
    > practices make Lowe's look great! I was on the floor for two weeks with
    > NO training, and it took over a week to meet my department manager.
    > They're so nuts about overtime that they have employees lined up at the
    > time card machine 10 minutes before their shifts are over so that they
    > don't go 5 minutes over their regular time.



    The idiots who manage those stores are too cheap to do something free and
    simple: Tell new hires to NOT put on their little vests for the first 15-20
    minutes of their shifts, so they won't be distracted by anyone who needs
    help. Now, pick an aisle and browse slowly. Some of these employees don't
    know which END of the store has certain things, much less which aisle.
     
    JoeSpareBedroom, Mar 10, 2007
    #17
  18. Stephen Blackpool

    curmudgeon Guest

    Re: Is Home Depot shafting shoppers? "Home Depot is a consistentabuser of its customers' time."

    I work for Home Depot, and the article is correct. The dickhead who
    just left the company ( Nardelli) made his quarterly numbers by cutting
    costs anywhwere he could....and "store Hours" was a major point of cutting.
    Every store is given a budget of "man hours" they can spend in any given
    week (based on prior sales, time of year, time of day etc)...and
    particularly on week days that means entire departments without coverage
    by at least one employee. Often you have one guy covering two
    departments...like appliances and plumbing.
    Right now - weekdays in the winter - HD is at its lowest hourly store
    budget. And that means customer service is at its worst.
    The founders built the chain on that knowledgeable service. Bob
    Nardelli trashed it in just a few short years.
    The interesting thing though is how many customers come in complaining
    about Lowe's (and their corporate flagship store is right across the
    street). Lowe's pay less, hires young kids who don't know their ass
    from their elbow, and who actually turn and walk the other way when
    they see a customer coming. I hear that story 10 times a week.
    Bottom line is that you can't tar either chain with a single brush.
    Reagrdless of corporate policies, every store is different and each one
    a reflection of what that store manager feels is most important.
    Some stress customer service and some stress paint cans perfectly aligned.
    Some place HD wins and some Lowes. But the customer always has the
    final word.
    My 2 cents worth.

    Stephen Blackpool wrote:
    > March 8, 2007
    > Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    > http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215
    >
    > By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    > the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.
    >
    > By Scott Burns
    >
    > Sixteen years ago, I sent my wife a love note. It went like this:
    >
    > Carolyn: I've gone to Our Store. Be back soon. Love, Scott.
    >
    > We called Home Depot "our store" because we spent a lot of time there
    > back in 1990. We're house freaks. Wherever we go, we imagine living
    > there, owning a house or a condo. We like to remodel houses. In the
    > past 16 years we've done major work on three houses in Dallas and two
    > houses in Santa Fe, N.M.
    >
    > But I have a confession to make. I still love my wife, but we don't
    > shop much at Home Depot anymore. Indeed, we generally try to avoid it
    > and grieve for the loss.
    >
    > We're not alone. Last month Home Depot announced a whopping 28%
    > decline in earnings for the fourth quarter. Even more striking, same-
    > store sales were down 6.6% from the previous year. This had never
    > happened before, not in all 28 years of company history. Once a growth
    > darling, "the new Wal-Mart (WMT, news, msgs)" and a stock that sold at
    > twice the market multiple, Home Depot is now widely discussed as a
    > potential private-equity buyout candidate because it earns 22% on
    > shareholder equity and has lots of assets to hock. Today it sells at a
    > below-market multiple of 14.4 and offers an above-average dividend
    > yield of 2.2%.
    >
    > Much of the recent disappointment in the stock is due to the slowdown
    > in housing and the reassessment many are making of homes as an
    > investment. With home resale prices flat to declining, many homeowners
    > are reconsidering the kind of home-improvement projects that make for
    > multiple visits and big spending.
    >
    > Home Depot rival Lowe's reported an earnings drop of 12% for the
    > fourth quarter.
    >
    > Some of the less recent disappointment in Home Depot shares is due to
    > the egregious compensation of its former CEO and his high-handed
    > treatment of shareholders.
    >
    > Consistent abuser of customers' time.
    > ========================
    >
    > But I'd like to suggest a much bigger reason that Home Depot has
    > become a troubled and unloved company. I call it time abuse.
    >
    > Home Depot is a consistent abuser of its customers' time. Let me
    > explain.
    >
    > Back in 1990, when my wife and I loved Home Depot, the stores were
    > staffed with well-trained, knowledgeable and helpful people. If you
    > had a question, even a silly one, it was easy to find someone who knew
    > the answer. Home Depot had an amazing inventory. It also had a staff
    > that helped you access that inventory and make choices.
    >
    > Though it didn't have employees waiting at the door, as do high-
    > service stores such as Elliot's in Dallas and Big Jo in Santa Fe, you
    > could make a purchase quickly at Home Depot.
    >
    > But that was then.
    >
    > Today, it is difficult to find a staff person at a Home Depot.
    > Personally, I've left the store empty-handed after a hopeless wait.
    > During one long wait shortly before Christmas, I commented to a worker
    > that the store was so busy they must be getting lots of overtime.
    >
    > "No way," the employee said.
    >
    > My wife has gotten so frustrated waiting -- while trying to buy
    > carpeting for an entire house -- that she has taken her business
    > elsewhere.
    >
    > I know we're not alone. One of my friends started to seethe when I
    > mentioned Home Depot. He'll buy things almost anywhere, except Home
    > Depot. He hates having his time abused.
    >
    > Add people to the payroll
    > ================
    >
    > That's what Home Depot does by short-staffing. It abuses our time. We
    > can't get the help we need, and we can't make our purchases quickly.
    > The result is that a once iconic, wonderfully American store has
    > become an aggravation rather than a blessing.
    >
    > Home Depot is not unique. Many supermarket chains and some of the
    > large department stores appear to have decided that short-staffing is
    > the way to meet their profit plans, hoping to drop more dollars to
    > their bottom lines by stealing our time at the checkout counter or
    > elsewhere.
    >
    > My bet is that a few years from now someone will give this a clever
    > name, like "millennial myopia" or some other phrase suitable for the
    > Harvard Business Review. Until then, the investment bankers will be
    > working on different ways to solve the share price problem with
    > financial moves.
    >
    > Let's hope the board of directors at HD takes the time to learn what's
    > obvious to ordinary people who do a lot for themselves and need to
    > make good use of their time.
    >
    > The solution is to add people to the payroll rather than reducing both.
    >
     
    curmudgeon, Mar 10, 2007
    #18
  19. Any idea what HD pays their managers?


    "curmudgeon" <> wrote in message
    news:VvBIh.3008$...
    >I work for Home Depot, and the article is correct. The dickhead who just
    >left the company ( Nardelli) made his quarterly numbers by cutting costs
    >anywhwere he could....and "store Hours" was a major point of cutting.
    > Every store is given a budget of "man hours" they can spend in any given
    > week (based on prior sales, time of year, time of day etc)...and
    > particularly on week days that means entire departments without coverage
    > by at least one employee. Often you have one guy covering two
    > departments...like appliances and plumbing.
    > Right now - weekdays in the winter - HD is at its lowest hourly store
    > budget. And that means customer service is at its worst.
    > The founders built the chain on that knowledgeable service. Bob Nardelli
    > trashed it in just a few short years.
    > The interesting thing though is how many customers come in complaining
    > about Lowe's (and their corporate flagship store is right across the
    > street). Lowe's pay less, hires young kids who don't know their ass from
    > their elbow, and who actually turn and walk the other way when they see a
    > customer coming. I hear that story 10 times a week.
    > Bottom line is that you can't tar either chain with a single brush.
    > Reagrdless of corporate policies, every store is different and each one a
    > reflection of what that store manager feels is most important.
    > Some stress customer service and some stress paint cans perfectly aligned.
    > Some place HD wins and some Lowes. But the customer always has the final
    > word.
    > My 2 cents worth.
    >
    > Stephen Blackpool wrote:
    >> March 8, 2007
    >> Is Home Depot shafting shoppers?
    >> http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/HomeDepotShaftingShoppers.aspx?GT1=9215
    >>
    >> By cutting back on employees, the home-improvement retailer is putting
    >> the screws to the people it needs most: its customers.
    >>
    >> By Scott Burns
    >>
    >> Sixteen years ago, I sent my wife a love note. It went like this:
    >>
    >> Carolyn: I've gone to Our Store. Be back soon. Love, Scott.
    >>
    >> We called Home Depot "our store" because we spent a lot of time there
    >> back in 1990. We're house freaks. Wherever we go, we imagine living
    >> there, owning a house or a condo. We like to remodel houses. In the
    >> past 16 years we've done major work on three houses in Dallas and two
    >> houses in Santa Fe, N.M.
    >>
    >> But I have a confession to make. I still love my wife, but we don't
    >> shop much at Home Depot anymore. Indeed, we generally try to avoid it
    >> and grieve for the loss.
    >>
    >> We're not alone. Last month Home Depot announced a whopping 28%
    >> decline in earnings for the fourth quarter. Even more striking, same-
    >> store sales were down 6.6% from the previous year. This had never
    >> happened before, not in all 28 years of company history. Once a growth
    >> darling, "the new Wal-Mart (WMT, news, msgs)" and a stock that sold at
    >> twice the market multiple, Home Depot is now widely discussed as a
    >> potential private-equity buyout candidate because it earns 22% on
    >> shareholder equity and has lots of assets to hock. Today it sells at a
    >> below-market multiple of 14.4 and offers an above-average dividend
    >> yield of 2.2%.
    >>
    >> Much of the recent disappointment in the stock is due to the slowdown
    >> in housing and the reassessment many are making of homes as an
    >> investment. With home resale prices flat to declining, many homeowners
    >> are reconsidering the kind of home-improvement projects that make for
    >> multiple visits and big spending.
    >>
    >> Home Depot rival Lowe's reported an earnings drop of 12% for the
    >> fourth quarter.
    >>
    >> Some of the less recent disappointment in Home Depot shares is due to
    >> the egregious compensation of its former CEO and his high-handed
    >> treatment of shareholders.
    >>
    >> Consistent abuser of customers' time.
    >> ========================
    >>
    >> But I'd like to suggest a much bigger reason that Home Depot has
    >> become a troubled and unloved company. I call it time abuse.
    >>
    >> Home Depot is a consistent abuser of its customers' time. Let me
    >> explain.
    >>
    >> Back in 1990, when my wife and I loved Home Depot, the stores were
    >> staffed with well-trained, knowledgeable and helpful people. If you
    >> had a question, even a silly one, it was easy to find someone who knew
    >> the answer. Home Depot had an amazing inventory. It also had a staff
    >> that helped you access that inventory and make choices.
    >>
    >> Though it didn't have employees waiting at the door, as do high-
    >> service stores such as Elliot's in Dallas and Big Jo in Santa Fe, you
    >> could make a purchase quickly at Home Depot.
    >>
    >> But that was then.
    >>
    >> Today, it is difficult to find a staff person at a Home Depot.
    >> Personally, I've left the store empty-handed after a hopeless wait.
    >> During one long wait shortly before Christmas, I commented to a worker
    >> that the store was so busy they must be getting lots of overtime.
    >>
    >> "No way," the employee said.
    >>
    >> My wife has gotten so frustrated waiting -- while trying to buy
    >> carpeting for an entire house -- that she has taken her business
    >> elsewhere.
    >>
    >> I know we're not alone. One of my friends started to seethe when I
    >> mentioned Home Depot. He'll buy things almost anywhere, except Home
    >> Depot. He hates having his time abused.
    >>
    >> Add people to the payroll
    >> ================
    >>
    >> That's what Home Depot does by short-staffing. It abuses our time. We
    >> can't get the help we need, and we can't make our purchases quickly.
    >> The result is that a once iconic, wonderfully American store has
    >> become an aggravation rather than a blessing.
    >>
    >> Home Depot is not unique. Many supermarket chains and some of the
    >> large department stores appear to have decided that short-staffing is
    >> the way to meet their profit plans, hoping to drop more dollars to
    >> their bottom lines by stealing our time at the checkout counter or
    >> elsewhere.
    >>
    >> My bet is that a few years from now someone will give this a clever
    >> name, like "millennial myopia" or some other phrase suitable for the
    >> Harvard Business Review. Until then, the investment bankers will be
    >> working on different ways to solve the share price problem with
    >> financial moves.
    >>
    >> Let's hope the board of directors at HD takes the time to learn what's
    >> obvious to ordinary people who do a lot for themselves and need to
    >> make good use of their time.
    >>
    >> The solution is to add people to the payroll rather than reducing both.
    >>
     
    JoeSpareBedroom, Mar 10, 2007
    #19
  20. Stephen Blackpool

    clifto Guest

    Mitch wrote:
    > At least you have choices. In my small town, all we have is a
    > Menard's. Staffed only by retarded teenagers who avoid customer
    > contact at all costs.


    I have to say that the Menard's stores near me have people who go out of
    their way to make sure you're finding what you're looking for, almost
    to the point of wishing they'd ignore you.

    Almost. :)

    --
    Martians drive SUVs! <http://oregonmag.com/MarsWarm307.html>
     
    clifto, Mar 10, 2007
    #20
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