What on earth IS it with people? Is there a reason to believe you’re in a my-loot-or-my-life competition when you’re wandering around a Home Depot in the middle of a weekday and there’s hardly anybody there? No kidding. Get this amazing Shopping Adventure…
So I finish a project and to reward myself for chugging through writing a difficult proposal by midday (!), I decide to run up to Home Depot. Needed are the following:
• Citrus fertilizer
• Miracle-Gro (I know, I know! it’s NOT organic!!!!)
• Trees: consider what if anything might replace the remaining Devil-Pod Tree on the west side of the house, which makes an unholy mess even though it doesn’t drop its mess into the pool
• Sample of the darkest burnt-umber brown paint I can find
• Quart of glaze in which to dilute the above paint
• Swimming pool acid
• Sprinkler gadget for irrigation system, to replace the ones Charlie has eaten
• One common pine or fir board, 77.25 inches x 12 inches
At the front door, they’ve parked their special of the day: desert willows (fragrant with blooms) in giant boxes, just $89. Oooooh! Very nice.
Get a flatbed cart. Order up the paint. Pick up a can of glaze and a sponge to use for my ingenious craft project (more about which someday).
Roll the cart toward the lumber department, where I need to buy a board to extend a shelf in the storage-room closet. Start to search for an employee.
The lumber dept has three aisles. Search all three aisles. Go back and search again. No sign of life. Nowhere. No how.
Disgusted, give up. Go back to retrieve my flatbed cart.
Uhmmmmm…. Where IS the flatbed cart??? Search around, again hiking through all three aisles. Finally I spot it: two fat people, male and female—apparently a matched set—have snabbed it and are loading pieces of baseboard moulding onto it. They haven’t even bothered to throw my goods onto the floor!
Guess they figured when they got to the check-out they’d just tell the cashier they’d changed their collective mind, eh?
Figuring I’m never going to find a guy to help wrangle a giant board and saw it to size, I walk over to these clowns and collect my paint, sponge, and glaze off my former cart. The two don’t even bother to say “oh! is that YOURS?” They just stand there and look smug.
I am effing furious. As I’m marching toward the front of the store in an obvious rage, I’m accosted by not one, not two, but THREE salespeople. Ohh, what could be the matter? What might I want to buy? How can we help?
Grrrrrrrrrrrr. “All I want is to find a checkout that doesn’t require me to jump through the self-service hoops and does not require me to hike halfway to Timbuktu to pay and then halfway back from Timbuktu to get to my car!”
“Right this way, ma’am” (don’t you hate it when they call you “ma’am,” in recognition of your advanced and much disdained age?). He directs me to the returns desk.
“She’s not gonna take my money,” I say. “She’s the returns lady!”
“Oh, I promise you, ma’am [arrhgh! KILLLLLL], she’ll check you out.”
“I’m sure she will. Thanks very much.”
I remember that I also need pool acid and tree fertilizer, and so march past this obsequious soul, headed for the outdoor department.
Nab a grocery cart; throw the armful of junk into it. Study the tree fertilizers. Citrus? Ordinary tree? Which is cheaper? Which is better? Decide that the made-for-Arizona citrus fertilizer is the best choice, because it will make the orange and lemon trees happy and probably will not annoy the other trees much. Plus at $19 for 40 pounds, it’s a pretty good buy.
A guy is standing there with me, also perusing the tree fertilizers. He grabs a 40-pound bag of the fertilizer. And then another. And then another. And then another.
He loads the ENTIRE INVENTORY of 40-pound citrus fertilizer bags onto his rolling flatbed cart!
Well. At least this one hasn’t stolen my cart.
Not one bag of the almost reasonably priced fertilizer is left. The choice is 20-pound bags of wildly overpriced fertilizer or nothing. I opt for nothing.
I pick up the pool acid and roll my grocery cart toward the garden department checkout stand. As I’m rolling up to the cashier, only one of whom is on duty, some guy comes racing up and CUTS ME OFF!
YES. He charges in front of me. He’s gotta get there FIRST!
God forfend that he not win in the Great Competition That Is Shopping at Home Depot.
Usually I hate shopping at HD because of the sometimes shoddy goods, the occasionally flakey staff, or (as in the lumber department today) the utter absence of any staff, competent or not. It’s a rare day that I hate shopping at Home Depot because of its clientele. But today, it must be said, truly took the cake.
About two of every three visits to Home Depot, I come away asking myself why do I shop in this place? The answer is obvious, of course: they’ve forced all the local merchants, who used to provide consistently quality goods and consistently excellent service, out of business. HD is now the only game in town, except for a sad Lowe’s some miles away or the occasional Ace Hardware that may or may not carry what I need. That notwithstanding: I do hate shopping at Home Depot.
Et vous? Ever wish those fine old locally owned hardware and lumber stores were still with us? What do you miss most about the good old pre-Box days?