“Home Depot Sucks”

Item: Home Depot Sucks: Tell Us Your Worst Store.

This has been our experience as well. The last straw being a three-week delay on scheduling installation of a prepaid project, culminating in the installer missing the installation appointment we had to fight them tooth and nail to schedule. While we were in San Francisco.

They said they would do something, got their money up front, and then failed to do it.

On the same day one of our new tenants demonstrated that she is unclear on the concept of a lease contract. Namely, that when you sign it, you agree to do what it says you have to do: Live in the place for the prescribed period and pay rent.

If you do not want to live in the place for a year, you do not sign the lease. Undoubtedly someone else will want to. Everytime we list the place on Craig’s List, we get vast message traffic within 15 minutes of clicking “publish.”

Maybe we will write our Home Depot up for the Better Business Bureau and see what kind of action — or lack of it — we get.

This Web site — the top Google result on the search string “Home Depot sucks” — has announced that it has discontinued its forums because they “got too ridiculous and off-topic.” Sample kvetches;

New York Store # 6175 NY Many employees are rude, Special order came 3 weeks late told that store has “logistics problems”

I believe ours is #10061, on DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn. They have pulled every trick in the book on us. I think this because my wife does not speak good English, so they think they are dealing with someone who was born yesterday.

The national hotline is extremely well-run by polite operators — who, it is increasingly clear to us, have absolutely no actual ability to straighten things out. They are only there to mollify you. They are good at that, up to a certain point. But at a certain point, the lack of results speaks louder than call-center scripts.

The whole thing reminds me of a report Gary Weiss did when he was at BusinessWeek, on crooked dealings at New York City auto repair shops. The regulatory framework being so perverse that shop owners could not make a living being honest, and really had no incentive to be.

Interesting perspective. Not much consolation to the consumer, though.

The Brazilian tax system suffers from the same dynamic, to a degree, though what seem like some sensible reforms are in the pipeline to be voted when the hysterical virgins stop hogging the valuable time of the legislature with the transgressions of the “sex Senator,” Calheiros of Alagoas.

Exaggerating for humorous effect:

New York City NY 684,796 customers in store at a time. 6 employees, 5 of which are hung over, on personal phone calls.

Risk management takeaway: There are people in this world who, if you pay them in advance to something, will just keep your money and not do what they said they would.

Go figure.

So look to do business with people who have a track record of being compensated on the basis of the results they get. In theory, those people should prosper while the others go broke because they are angling for your return business.

Sure, you can rip me off now for a one-time score and go blow it on crack.

But if that counter-top and flooring job had gone well, we might even have thought of doing something fancy to our bathroom. Neuza has always dreamed of a lion-legged bathtub. We have a back yard we would like to make a pleasure-garden out of. We have a storage space we would like to organize with shelves, maybe a work bench.

Over the years, we might have wound up putting somebody’s kid through a year or two of college.

Our master carpenter back in Sâo Paulo, Marcão, gets that. Marcão works purely na informalidade, on the honor system.

Marcão performed prodigious feats for us, on time and on budget, at a price that he explained thoroughly. He lined up other contractors for finishing and side projects that were also totally competent and de confiança.

In a world ruled by the efficient market hypothesis, Marcão would be the CEO of Home Depot, and a corporate culture of competence and fair dealing would emanate from his spiritual leadership.

But no.


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