Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My trip to hell (the hardware store)

Yesterday afternoon I went down to the Home Depot. I had to pick up the counters that we special ordered. They called about a week ago to tell me it was in... So in I go, to the special order counter. They look up my paperwork, have me sign something and tell me to go to the contractor check-out to pick it up.

There I am in my pink wool sweater, with my fabulous little denim jacket and my pink flower brooche, and every other person in the place has either very dirty pants or an orange apron on. I knew they weren't going to pay attention to me. Sure enough, I walk to the loading area, and every man there pretends I don't exist. Now, I'm not shy about asking for customer service, so I walk up to a tall guy with glasses and show him my little white piece of paper.
"If I give you this, can you get my counters and load them up for me?"
He says nothing.
Just wipes his nose on his sleeve and walks away with my piece of paper.
I holler after him, "I'll go bring my car up to the loading area."
He grunted as he disappeared around the corner.
I went out to the parking lot, started my car up and pulled it into the loading bay, behind all sorts of deisel trucks with construction company logos on them. One guy smiles at me from under his hat.
I wonder about the pants all these men wear. Where do you buy these baby poop brown pants that are made out of that canvas-sy material? They look so rugged. And their boots. Forget about it. So cool. I'm beginning to feel really stupid in my pink sweater and my loafers.
It's extrememly cold in the loading bay. I lean up against my car and watch the poopy pant men load their trucks. Several of them are in and out of the loading bay before I realize I've been standing there for twenty minutes. Wandering inside, I ask the twenty something gal behind the counter,
"Is there a standard amount of time it takes to find a special order? I've been waiting twenty minutes..."
"You have? Who helped you?"
"Tall guy. Glasses."
I don't think any of the employees had name tags on.
"That's Chris. I'll page him."
After another ten minutes, Chris saunters up the aisle.
"I can't find it."
I'm thinking, perhaps it would have been nice if he could have come out and checked in with me to let me know, instead of literally leaving me out in the cold for twenty minutes.
Well, somehow Chris passes the buck to a woman in a red sweater. I'm assuming since she's not wearing an orange apron that she's higher up the Home Depot ladder... she seems really official. She has a really big walkie talkie on her belt.
She barks out to several people. One guy behind the counter tells her he's on hold. I'm watching all of this with amazement. Whatever the opposite of a well-oiled machine is, I'm watching it at work. Turns out, the guy behind the counter is on hold with the service desk at the other end of the store. He wants to find out what they know about my missing countertops. He stands there on hold for FIVE MINUTES.
I ask myself "Why not hang up the phone and walk to the other end of the store?"
At this point, it's been a good half hour. I've had to go out and move my car several times so the big contractor types (who belong there) can get by. I eventually move it the the outskirts of the loading bay, where it won't be in anyone's way. My really cool Chevy Trailblazer looks really lame and feminine next to all the big trucks.
Red sweater lady appears. She's mumbling under her breath. I listen carefully for clues, since no one talks to me. She's saying "It said, waterfall (a type of edging on countertops) - if I'd known it was laminate..." as she walks into the special order storage area.
There are big signs that say "Home Depot Personel Only" on the gate to this area. But I can see into the storage area, so I watch her. She's looking at large rolls or laminate flooring, trying to find my name on one of them.
"IT'S A C-O-U-N-T-E-R, LADY!!!" I'm yelling at the lady in the red sweater. I cannot believe she is looking at flooring.
"Oh," she says.
After looking again through the entire storage area, she disappears.
Another lady comes up to me. I only know she's a lady because I looked very carefully at her chest to see if that would give me an indicator of her gender. She is the first person to address me directly. She also is sans orange apron.
"I've printed off a copy of your original order."
O-kay...?
"So."
I resisted every urge to say "WHAT'S YOUR POINT?"
I'm thinking she's going to tell me the counter was never ordered or something earth shattering like that.
"We're looking for your countertops."
Gee, thanks.
I glance over to the storage area, and notice Red Sweater pulling out a tall cardboard covered counter-top-resembling item.
Still, no one says anything.
She passes it off to a loading grunt, who follows me to my car.
"There you go," he says as he closes my back hatch for me. "Have a nice day."
It's been forty minutes since I pulled into the loading bay and handed my piece of paper to Chris, who hasn't been seen for a LONG time. I think he went on break.
"Umm," I say. "There are supposed to be two of them."
Blank stare. Loading grunt turns and walks back into the store.
I follow him. He goes and talks to the girl with the copy of my order form.
She walks over to me. "Here's a copy of your order."
"Yes," I reply. "I'm supposed to have a six foot counter AND an eleven foot counter."
She looks at me with a meaningless expression on her face, then at the papers. "Hmmm." She wanders off.
I figure while I'm waiting I'll ask if they have comment cards. The cute twenty something checker gal says no, they did away with them awhile ago. (I wonder why?)
She nods at a poster on the wall.
"You can call the store manager."
I look at the poster. There is a picture of the manager. He's not wearing an apron.
I see his name on the poster. "So I should ask for Chuck?" I ask the girl.
She laughs out loud. "Yeah, ask for Chuck."
For some reason my saying his name really cracks her up.
I notice more wandering into the storage area. More confusion.
Finally, I see someone pulling out a very tall boxed item.
My eleven foot counter.
As they head for my car, paperwork lady yells after me "You blabbedy mumble bumble geppy your Trailblazer?"
I ignored her. I have no idea what she said. Which is par for the course.
Loading grunt gets the countertop into the car, only after I explain to him that I'll drive home with the back window open so it can fit.
"There are some things we have no control over," he says.
What that was supposed to mean, I have no idea.

7 comments:

  1. Gorgeous snow pictures!!!! It makes me want to go see the snow! Where I live we never get to see an authentic White Christmas!

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  2. I cannot EVEN believe that story. No wonder we all want to stay home and play with our nice bloggy friends. Gah.

    Nice pics though. It was actually warm here yesterday... xo

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  3. Your discription of H Depot is too funny and soooo true!! I've had a good laugh today :)

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  4. Brooke5:32 PM

    I read your blog at work when I'm slow. I'm always laughing out loud, workers are always asking me why I'm laughing....that is such CRAP that you had to go through all of that with Home Depot.

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  5. I'm so glad my Home Depot doesn't treat me like that! I already feel distinctly incapable and unprepared when I walk in there- attitude from them to reinforce that would be no good.

    As soon as they see the whites of my eyes, they KNOW. They know I am lost, forlorn, feeling all girly and well, really lost in there. Like, get me to the plant section.

    So, they ask me right away, "Can I help you?"
    They just know it'll be a lot less stress on everyone if they just take care of the little lady before she goes into hysterics in the paint chip aisle....

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  6. You just described my idea of hell. What a yucky experience. I'm laughing over your cute attire though - sounds like something I would like!

    Do you have Lowes in your area? Once Lowes moved in, we boycotted Home Depot altogether. Shopping at Lowes is like shopping at a Nordstrom home improvement store. Compare it to Wal-mart vs. Nordstrom... that's Home Depot compared to Lowes. I hope a Lowes moves into your area real soon. Of course, by then, you won't have counter tops on your "need to buy" list.

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  7. Yup, that pretty much sums up Hell for me, too!! Home Depot is evil. One HD here in Milwaukee actually arrested a very well-respected contractor for leaving the store without paying for a saw blade -- when it was the cashier's fault for not ringing it up with the rest of his rather large purchase. They actually pressed charges against this dude, and wouldn't back down despite the huge community uproar!! I try not to frequent them any more.

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