LJWorld.com weblogs Shop Talk with Jenn and Julie

Home Depot floored me with their lack of knowledge


My husband and I have decided to replace the carpeting in our living room and dining room with a hard surface floor.

Over the past few weeks, I have been looking at different surfaces and getting estimates from floor stores. Yesterday, we decided to go to Home Depot to check out the store’s selection and to schedule someone to come out for an estimate.

I am a bit of a novice when it comes to purchasing flooring. In our 20 years of home ownership, I’ve only had to purchase carpeting once. We’ve been very fortunate in the homes we’ve purchased in the area of flooring/carpeting. We’ve refinished hardwoods, but never purchased it.

Now when I went to the floor stores, I had no problem getting help or talking to someone who knows the different flooring products. I had lots of questions about selection, durability, what would look good with our current hardwoods in adjacent rooms, etc. I had a certain look that I was interested in, but wasn’t sure how to achieve it. The floor stores were great in answering all my questions.

The trip to Home Depot proved differently. First, we had to find someone to help us. We asked one employee who then went to get another employee who could help us in flooring. When that person came, she actually could not help us because she was new. The gentleman who could help us was cutting shades, so we had to wait.

When he was finally available, he really was no help. I asked questions about the products I was interested in, but his answers were vague. So I chose two products I liked, and asked if someone could come out for an estimate. He began taking my information and then informed me there would be a $50 non-refundable fee. I know that Home Depot hires contractors to do these “jobs” for them, but I was not expecting a fee for an estimate that I got for free from two local stores. I asked the Home Depot employee if I could bring in my room measurements and get an estimate that way. Well of course, he said he could give me an approximate estimate, but someone would still have to come out to take the exact measurements, and thus I would have to pay the $50 fee.

I don’t know how you would feel, but this experience at Home Depot was a turn off. I’m not a big fan of the Home Depot. It’s rare, in my experience, to find someone that can actually help you. There are lots of employees that can tell you where to find an item, but really can’t help you if you have any questions about how to do a job or about the details of a product. Don’t get me wrong, over the years we have spent our fair share at Home Depot, but when you're looking for advice or detailed information about product, this retailer can be inconsistent.

So, in the case of my floors, Home Depot had cheaper prices, but had poor service. The floor store prices are higher, but I feel much better dealing with people who know their industry and explain the product and service.

My quest still continues to find the exact flooring I want, but unfortunately, I’m still looking for some answers.


gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 9 months ago

Isn't this more suited to a "complaint to the manager" letter rather than something on the local paper's website? I find your advertorials unhelpful, but I haven't gotten my own article to complain about you.

otto 6 years, 9 months ago

+1 Home Depot is designed for a do it yoursrlfer. You are obviously needing a full service store. This same thing happens in the automotive field and many others. Do you take your own steak to the restaurant?

Eric Neuteboom 6 years, 9 months ago

People who know better don't shop at Home Depot. This is just another reason to shop at and support local businesses.

pace 6 years, 9 months ago

I enjoyed the details and hearing the reasons. But the question is why do the carps swim in this pool? What a bunch of loser whiny babies. I have a suggestion. guess what it is?

pace 6 years, 9 months ago

I didn't understand what you were trying to say. In case you are curious about accurate details about me. I am very competent and can do most home improvement work, carpentry, roofing, tile, floors, drainage issues, good at using heavy equipment, etc. I am ok on electric but have had bad luck doing my own plumbing or car stuff. I don't like the idea of being told if I wait someone who knows the subject will be available then finding that not to be true. I have had such dismal service at Home Depot I was amazed. There should be enough construction workers looking for a job, they could hire someone. I actually had to explain what the term 4by4 meant to one sales person, and what I meant by treated.

5thgeneration 6 years, 9 months ago

These stores are a problem. They sell items for wholesale cost, and sometimes less than wholesale............ and can't provide info...................... or support when it comes to dealing with their merchandise. They cut out the Wholesalers, and the Retailers. You might be better off going to McDonald's and asking about flooring. I'm sure one of the waitresses/waiters there knows as much about the product as the employee you asked.........................

Just another indication as to why the economy went belly up. The top of the food chain make the profit, and NOBODY else gets it. YAY INTERNET SALES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Turn every town into Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and franchised restaurants/bars.

Cut out the middle men................................... and cut out the segment of society that made their blue collar living from that sale.


Now my profession isn't as lucrative as it was once was. I hope that soon we can buy cars and gas for wholesale prices. Houses too for that matter............... I'm directly affected by this............ and I know I'm not the only one in this town. The only customers that I have that recognize the problem, and move through the normal channels are local small business owners/retailers. They understand how this used to work.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 9 months ago

YOU LOVE............. OVERUSING........!!!!...... PUNCTUATION!!!!!!

RoeDapple 6 years, 9 months ago

As a custom cabinet builder it was common to make five or six house call/estimates for "on the fence" home owners only to have them decide custom cabinets for their remodel at $10,000 or more was too high so "Chuck's Imported Cabinets and Yard Art" down the road would get the job for half. Leave it to a coupon cutter to want premium service for nothing. You wouldn't have been satisfied with the difference in quality anyway. On second thought, you probably would.

muttonchops 6 years, 9 months ago

So many people these days don't live in one place forever, though. Seems like young professionals are moving so frequently, it's hard to justify spending so much on something like cabinets.

Although, I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for."

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 9 months ago

Kitchens in most European countries are also NOT provided at the time of sale. When people leave they literally rip out their sinks, cabinets and counters and take them with them. They are considered "furniture" and not part of the room. They may no longer expect to live in the same place forever but they certainly expect to live with their cabinets. This being the case, it's no wonder they expect, and will pay for, good furniture craftsmanship.

BruceWayne 6 years, 9 months ago

How much does Home Depot pay the LJW to include their sales ad every week? Seems to me you just bit the hand that feeds you. I have never had an issue with Home Depot. I am glad they are here in Lawrence, I am there often and 9 times out of 10 they have what I want. Maybe instead of trying to get something for nothing you could learn to read a tape measure.

BorderRuffian 6 years, 9 months ago

Home Depot is a retail establishment. Period. Its sole purpose is to sell what they have there. Expertise of any sort is beside the point. They hire low-paid workers to sell. Expertise has nothing to do with it. Expertise is not something they can put a price tag on, nor is standing there discussing the fine points of home construction much of a money-making enterprise. Their main goal is to get you out the door with a bag full of stuff as quickly as possible. The only ones who are worse are the kids they hire at Best Buy. But that's another story yet to be told.

trinity 6 years, 9 months ago

i beg to differ re the best buy point. i've always had friendly helpful "kids" assist me at that particular store! in addition, a young man who i know very well&have mad respect for is just the tops at what he does in his department at bb; knows the whole schmeer inside&out and could answer pretty much any question pertaining to his area of expertise. knowing what you want and what to ask for really helps when shopping; vague questions about what widget goes where when with what model usually result in poor experiences.

gsxr600 6 years, 9 months ago

Best Buy is terrible. The knowledge the sales associates give is ignorant and often inaccurate. I only purchase when the price is lower (which 99.5% of the time it isn't). Just the other day I saw they were selling the exact model of monitor I purchased over 2 years ago (Acer H233H) for more. Lol wut

Matt Schwartz 6 years, 9 months ago

what kind of car do you drive? or where are you getting gas?!?!

Mike Edson 6 years, 9 months ago

This article is less about the flooring and more about the quality of customer service in Lawrence. The Home Depot has one of the lowest levels of customer service and product knowledge in this town. Customer service in Lawrence is at a premium. That is why as a consumer it is important to exercise the one power we do have which is to vote with our dollar.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Forget supporting Home Depot and shop the local Mo-Kan home boys and girls instead.

McCray Lumber and Millwork has been supplying all your construction needs for new ... Lawrence, KS. 785-843-3270.

Cottins has good help

Your local flooring people: Paradise Carpet One Kring's

justforfun 6 years, 9 months ago

You forgot the Merrill house of wisdom found on nearly every article in the LJW!

Kontum1972 6 years, 9 months ago

T-mobile is now AT&T..they got swallowed up.....

Bassetlover 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget Martin Floor Covering in North Lawrence.....best prices in town and terrific customer service. Great selections too. We paid almost $1200 less there than the quote from Paradise for almost the identical kind of carpeting.

mom_of_three 6 years, 9 months ago

I think you all missed the point. She came to home depot last to get an estimate and to look at their product. The local stores gave free estimates and she wasn't expecting another store to charge, especially if she brought in the measurements. For a store who is supposed to be helpful and inexpensive, that is a little off putting.
as far as our inexperiences lately at home depot, we want lowe's to come to town.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Just for a little reality:

Local flooring stores like Kring's charge about 2x as much as HD for carpeting.

So it's a bit more than "a dollar".

mom_of_three 6 years, 9 months ago

i am not clueless, you nimrod. I know exactly what I want. i want what stores advertise - friendly, knowledgable people. And I usually have to go to a big box store to afford what I want, so between the two, I want a lowe's. Never had a bad experience at one in Olathe.

Bucker00 6 years, 9 months ago

Bingo on this. Home Depot does have an install option where they send an experienced and knowledgeable crew to do the work for you. Or you have the option of buying the materials and doing it yourself at a cheaper cost if you think you have the skills.

My father works at a Home Depot in the flooring department in Missouri. He's past retirement age, so this job suits him perfectly since he was a tradesman in tile, carpet, and vinyl among other things when he was younger. So he is a wealth of information in his store.

Once you buy the materials yourself, you're stuck with them. Not all of the people hired to direct you to the proper product in those stores will be experienced or skilled in whatever field you've decided to do yourself, since it was made to look so easy.

When work was scarce for me a few years back, I installed a number of laminate floors for custumers who decided on the diy method, got home, and realized they had no clue how to start the project, let alone know all the little tricks of the trade that allow you to do it properly. And the thing is, once you've bought the materials yourself, the option of using their installers is off the table.

They also have an installer to replace entry way doors, and a brand new, high quality storm door to go along with it. Not the cheap, pre-hung type of storm door, but Larsons and Andersons which are top of the line, but difficult to install without practice. he injured himself a few winters back, and had a number of storm doors that I was paid to install, as he had installed the entries and had had the storms on order.

I was lucky to be an independent with a connection that winter, and also happened to possess the skills to complete those jobs while they had my number. Because once you've bought it yourself, it's really your baby and they can't do it for you. They'll help wherever they can with advice, but many of these personnel were hired to direct the customer to the product they seek. You're lucky if one actually has experience and skills in any of these areas related to the product you've bought. If you decide to "do it yourself" to save money, you can hardly complain that Home Depot won't come do it for you when they advertise the warranteed installation, but you didn't like the price.

MrMister 6 years, 9 months ago

The price difference between HD/Lowes vs a store like Krings is where the free estimates come from. When I had a tile job to do, I took the free tile class at Home Depot.. But I had Kring's come out to verify my measurments and even draw up a layout. I did all the work myself. I was happy to pay a few dollars more for the tile at Kring's. That is how they get paid for the customer service. The cut rate prices at the box stores mean that there is no free service. That includes Lowe's. When we needed a new furnace, we called several heating contractors. One of them gave us a quote, but then realized that he had given the Home Depot price (they have to pay a fee to be a HD subcontractor). He gave us a new quote for 20% less and ultimately won our business. Not the cheapest, but gave us great advice and great service.

otto 6 years, 9 months ago

If you have the measurements you should be able to figure out how much flooring you need. Then you multiply that by the price on the tag in the store. Hence the whole DIY concept. Don't want DIY? Shop a full service local store.

kernal 6 years, 9 months ago

Julie, you get what you "pay" for.

I rarely go to Home Depot anymore. If I need hardware or filters, I go to Cottin's or Ace Hardware. If I need lawn care products, I go to Ace, Cottins' or a nursery.

As far as I'm concerned, Home Depot carries a bunch of crap that won't last more than two years. But then I'm just a homeowner, not a contractor taking shortcuts, so I don't matter to Home Depot.

Oh, and Buck, few builders in the U.S. still build homes to last a lifetime. And that's a whole other story that really needs to be told.

fewopinionsshared 6 years, 9 months ago

I, too, have had many frustrating experiences at Home Depot. Not just the Lawrence store, either. I no longer go there unless I know exactly what I need because I've found that most of the people there don't know any more about their products/installation than I do, and it's hard to find someone to help when you need it. The folks at Westlake on 6th have served me well for household stuff, and Home Depot doesn't even compare to my old hometown hardware store owner who helped me through several plumbing-type projects over the years - priceless knowledge. "You get what you pay for" seems fitting for this industry! I'm slowly learning that shopping more locally usually pays off in the end. And for the critics of not expecting to pay the $50 fee - How many companies charge you to come out and make a bid on a project?! That's ridiculous. Home Depot does it because they 'can' - as people justify it in their heads because they're paying less for the materials.

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 9 months ago

What you, and people who think like you, are not getting is that while other specifically flooring stores might not charge you a "fee" for estimation services the fee is getting charged. It is reflected in higher prices for everyone who actually buys product from the flooring store.

Home Depot doesn't specialize in flooring, it isn't intended to be a one stop solution to all your flooring needs. It provides a wide variety of materials for contractors and DIYers for reduced prices. To provide an estimation, Home Depot has to get a local contractor out to your house, and do you think the contractor is going to go do that for free? Especially when so many people (like the lady who wrote this article) have no problem just going around to multiple places getting "free" estimations done.

The really problem in this article isn't Home Depot having poor customer service but the author being a huge cheapskate and expecting way more then she deserves for the price she is willing to pay.

sourpuss 6 years, 9 months ago

Um, I thought Home Depot was a bottom-price warehouse for contractors to buy bulk materials? This isn't a place for homemakers to pick out wallpaper. Why not go to a design boutique if you don't know what you're doing? This is why Home Depot charges for anything extra. If you don't know what you are doing, then you can't do things on the cheap, period. Why not shop at a local store and keep a family in Lawrence going?

SuperJenn 6 years, 9 months ago

My husband is often irritated at the lack of knowledge the "specialists" at Home Depot have.... when he wants details on a product he intends to buy for our DIY's ... I did find that when we bought our appliances there the staff in that area were VERY helpful and had a lot of information for me. When they didn't have that info, they called the manufacturer and got it for me.

As for flooring, we re-carpeted several rooms in our last home before we put it on the market and found that Paradise Carpet One was the most helpful (the owner came by our house one evening to do an estimate bc it was more convenient for us) and the best price. The carpet was great, the men who put it in were great... we will go back there when we are ready to put new carpet in this house!

mom_of_three 6 years, 9 months ago

We did buy a washer at Home Depot a few years ago and the salesclerk was very helpful and knowledgable about the products. But for DIY stuff, i agree, its lacking considering that is what they advertise.
We plan on new carpet or flooring one of these days, and will check out paradise one.

impska 6 years, 9 months ago

If you think that Home Depot is a bottom-price warehouse for contractors to buy bulk, then their marketing has failed utterly on you. Every advertisement is geared toward DIY: they are actively targeting individuals with small projects.

In fact, any time I've had a large project for which I've hired a contractor, very little, if any materials come from Home Depot. Local stores offer contractors deeper discount and better selection to contractors.

When I'm building something for my garden or changing my own ceiling fan, I go to Home Depot. When a contractor finished my basement, I chose carpet, paint, lighting and windows at individual local stores who had deals with the person I had hired. He also bought his lumber from a specialty location.

Given that their marketing is targeted at homeowners with DIY projects, their service and knowledge is abysmal. Often, their prices are not even that much cheaper than local stores, to boot.

This all said, the one thing we can be certain of is that Home Depot does NOT specialize in installation. They don't generally come to your home for anything. Jenn, you were always going to be better off going to a local store for that, where you would find knowledgeable specialized employees and individual help if anything went wrong.

Katara 6 years, 9 months ago

Very much this. Generally, if I am working on a DIY project (and one that I already know how to do or have a fairly good idea on how to do), then I go to Home Depot or to Lowe's to get what I need.

If I need something installed or a project that is beyond my DIY abilities, I get recommendations from friends and family members & then make a bunch of calls for bids. I've never had to pay for a bid on whatever work I need done though.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Economic Value of Independent Businesses

"a 2003 economic impact study in Austin, Texas by Civic Economics (commissioned by the Austin Independent Business Alliance), concluded for every $100 spent at a chain, $13 remained in the community while $45 remained when spent with hometown businesses."

It's time to consider the real costs to a community that loses its locally owned business base. Independent local businesses employ an array of supporting services. They hire architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers and contractors for construction. Local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, advertising agencies help run it. Local retailers and distributors also carry a higher percentage of locally produced goods than chains, meaning more jobs for local producers.

In contrast, a new chain store typically is a clone of other units, eliminates the need for local planning, and uses a minimum of local goods and services. A company-owned store's profits promptly are exported to corporate headquarters.

Dollars spent at community-based merchants create a multiplier effect in the local economy, meaning that from each dollar spent at a local independent merchant, three or more times as much typically goes back into the local economy compared to a dollar spent at chain-owned businesses.

For example, a 2003 economic impact study in Austin, Texas by Civic Economics (commissioned by the Austin Independent Business Alliance), concluded for every $100 spent at a chain, $13 remained in the community while $45 remained when spent with hometown businesses.

Ensuring Choice and Diversity Retailers sift through competing goods and services to find those appealing to their customers. Though a single local shop may carry a smaller selection than a big chain, a multiplicity of independent retailers creates great diversity. When thousands of independent book and music shops serve their local tastes and each owner's preferences, the result is demand for a wide variety of ideas and music. This makes accessible controversial books or music from new artists with the expectation that a market exists somewhere within a variety of stores.

As fewer giant corporations dominate production and sales, our options—determined by a powerful few—dwindle.

Our freedom of choice is imperiled when a few buyers from national chains choose what reaches customers—perhaps moderately disturbing for most goods, but truly frightening when you consider the impact on our choice of news sources, books, music and other expression modes.


Steve Jacob 6 years, 9 months ago

The article is weird to me also. Cheap and good customer service together in Lawrence is rare. Shop local if you want someone to help (and pay more).

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 9 months ago

This comment said it best:

"Leave it to a coupon cutter to want premium service for nothing."

Home improvement is not grocery shopping. One who expects craftsman expertise or anything more than general advice from a Lowes or Home Depot is terribly terribly naive.

bmoody51 6 years, 9 months ago

Does anybody remember all of the controversy in getting Home Depot there in the first place? Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

As I recall, the coming of Home Depot was the answer to ALL of our home improvement needs. I have yet to hear anybody speak highly of this store. My own experience has mirrored many of the same concerns expressed here. No assistance, no expertise, and precious few "bargains". Hence, no more. I will not shop at Home Depot. Be Vocal, Buy Local!! Home Depot is not local.

Russell Fryberger 6 years, 9 months ago

The Home Depot advertises that their employees are knowledgable about their products so Julie has a valid point on her complaints. I also had an issue with their carpet dept. a few years ago. It was so bad that I stopped going to The home Depot for over a year. By that time 75% of their crew had been replaced. They got a little bit better but that carpet dept still needs to be flushed, then refilled with people that want to do a good job.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

My understanding is that they outsource their carpet installation to an outside company.

Russell Fryberger 6 years, 9 months ago

I put in my own carpet. It was their ordering that was terrible. Plus the lies that followed to cover their butts, and the manager even lied to cover also.

John Sheppard 6 years, 9 months ago


Katara 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't have a problem with that overall but I would expect you to know which employee does have that knowledge so I could find them to ask whatever question I need to ask.

cowboy 6 years, 9 months ago

So you go in having no idea what you want then expect Martha Frigging Stewart to be working part time in the flooring department.

mom_of_three 6 years, 9 months ago

Its pretty obvious some of you do not shop around for the best price, best deal or best service. And we have shopped at some of the local hardware stores to get the best diy advice because you can't always find it at home depot where they advertise it.

LadyJ 6 years, 9 months ago

I too stopped going to home depot for after I went in to rent a floor sander. I knew which one I wanted but their "knowledgeable staff" insisted I didn't know what I needed. Told me I would ruin my wood floors if I used the heavy duty sander and need the lighter one which would do what I needed. So I rent it along with the pads and try to sand the varnish off the floors. Several pads latter with hardly any results I load it all back up and took it back to get the other one. Well they said they would have to refund the money first and then rent me the other one but a supervisor had to sign off on it which she refused to do. Now bear in mind I came in for the other one and they insisted it was the wrong one. Left and went to Cottins and rented a machine there. They lost a lot more money in future bussiness than the cost of returning my money. If I can't get what I need at Cottins or Ace, I drive to Lowe's.

seagull 6 years, 9 months ago


I would NEVER again use Home Depot Home Services no matter the difference in price. They did such a bad job installing a couple of double double hung windows for me (and could have cared less) that I spent the money to have them replaced by Mel Raynes, a local contractor, who charged me not much more than the Home Depot expensive mistake and did excellent work. I have never heard anyone say anything good about Home Depot Home Services. I assume you've checked Martin Flooring in North Lawrence. When they've given me estimates they have always been lower than some others and my friends and colleagues speak highly of their work. People have recommended flooring outfits in Topeaka as well for hardwood.

This is NOT an argument for a Lowe's. I've heard their installation services are just as bad.

RoeDapple 6 years, 9 months ago

HA! A former employee of mine now works for HD! I picked him up from work today so he could help with yard work while I am recovering from surgery. His words,"I've been dealing with idiot customers all day who want ME to have all the answers for them without having seen their project! And our installers are the same ones most of the specialty stores use!" Clip your coupons. Stay out of that which you cannot grasp. Or . . .

"What you see here requires skill and could be dangerous. We are professionals. For your safety do not try this at home."

geekin_topekan 6 years, 9 months ago

A little off topic, I know but--That Mexican joint on 9th has the kind Chorizo/Egg Burros.

whats_going_on 6 years, 9 months ago

Yeah...unless you talk to one of the guys who actually does "dirty work" at Home Depot (like the guys who cut wood), you aren't going to find much help with anything.

I thought this was common knowledge.

If you ever go there and feel like having some fun, ask one of the idiot sales guys a really technical question that you already know and watch them try to explain it (and then get it totally off). It's entertaining.

LoveThsLife 6 years, 9 months ago

Julie this is a very valid complaint. At one point in time Home Depot used to employ master craftsman and pay high wages for it so people could come in and ask questions and get real answers. In fact, that is one of the ways they were able to build a successful brand. A while back they got a new CEO who decided to increase profit by cutting wages and benefits and those people with the experience ended up leaving and getting replaced by minimum wage workers. Anyway, while cutting wages etc. was a short term solution it has created some long term problems for the company. In fact, Home Depots missteps are one of the reasons Lowe's has really been able to cut into their business. I wouldn't use them unless you really know what you want and know how to do your project yourself. I would be very weary of using them for any type of installation service. When it comes to hiring out home projects you usually get what you pay for.

Blue_Falcon 6 years, 9 months ago

I was always told to seek professional help for hardwood problems lasting more than four hours.

Kontum1972 6 years, 9 months ago

i had the same experience...a couple of weeks ago....@ Home Despot...

go to Krings for floor stuff Brett's a great guy..known him for 20 years.

he_who_knows_all 6 years, 9 months ago

You must be pretty close since his name is Brit not Brett.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

Except then the Home Depot store in Lawrence was new, I have had quite good service and the sales people have generally been quite knowledgeable or have tried to find someone who is. I have also had good service in Olathe and Wichita. Sometimes it is hard to find a sales person, but then that's why they can sell cheaper.

When I was floor shopping, I took a measured floor plan of my house and HD was able to give me a rough estimate. I believe the price for somebody to come out and give an estimate would have been subtracted from the final price. I ended up going with a place that was dedicated to floors because they had what I wanted, but I was not happy with their installation and certainly not with their extremely snotty installers who, among a number of things, damaged a newly painted wall because they insisted on bringing the flooring roll in through the garage which was not as wide as the roll, when they could more easily have brought it straight in through French doors. Their refusal to talk to me caused them to make a lot of extra work for themselves in cutting the edge to another floor. Also the product is not what it was cracked up to be. The sales person was very friendly and most helpful until the sale was made and they had my down payment, then he could have cared less.

The final estimate was much higher than the one they gave me from my floor plan---even though it was exact, somehow the sales person missed a large area. I don't remember for sure, but I don't think their estimate was free either if you didn't make the purchase.

So going with local, dedicated services doesn't always mean you get good service either.

Danielle Brunin 6 years, 9 months ago

All of these comments about poor customer service remind me of that commercial where the two prisoners break out of jail, they consistently get bad service everywhere they go, and finally break back into prison. As much as I want a house someday, all of these stories make me glad I'm not a homeowner at this point in my life.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

Owning your own house has a lot of rewards, but it's not for everybody at all points in time. Do your research before buying---and you will still be in for a lot of surprises. It will be more work than you anticipate.

From my own experiences and the horror stories I have heard from many others, I would say that about 80% of repairs/renovations end up with at least some dissatisfaction on the part of the homeowner. And just because you get good service from somebody one time doesn't necessarily mean the next time will turn out well.

The best service I have received is from a handy man who prefers cash (I didn't ask any questions) and takes pride in his work. I always tip him well as I feel he under charges.

One constant complaint I hear and have had myself is that often the renovator has their idea about how something should be done and doesn't want to do what the homeowners wants. Unless they have a very good reason for not wanting to do something your way, don't let them get away with changing your plans. I have been told something wouldn't work when the contractor just didn't want to do it and certainly regret it every day.

gphawk89 6 years, 9 months ago

Totally agree with your last paragraph. I've only owned a house for five years and already can't count the number of times a contractor has basically said "You can't do that" and proposed something completely different. Retaining wall, attic ventilation, stormwater drainage, drywall work, electrical repairs, ductwork, central vacuum, termites, plumbing, etc. Every time I've either found a different contractor that will do what I want or more often just done the work myself. Just need to be sure that what you're doing meets all of the codes and that you get the right permits.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

"I think one big thing to emphasize, is that any work should be well documented and signed off on. Some of the mistakes made are "verbal" mis-understandings."

Definitely. I thought I had written everything down, but missed one thing and although I had talked about it a number of times, when I went back and looked at what I had written down, it wasn't there. Consequently I am living with 1/8" grout lines in my kitchen counter when I wanted credit card size grout lines. And that is a B I G negative.

gphawk89 6 years, 9 months ago

I wouldn't expect the produce manager at local grocery chain to be able to tell me how to make a bierock. I wouldn't expect a guy at Best Buy selling me a computer to know much about setting up a web server. So no, I don't expect HD employees to know much about installing their products either. HD is a good place to get a good deal on some but definitely not all DIY home improvement products. Often it makes more sense to purchase a particular specialty item elsewhere. It's not a one-stop store for sure, and definitely not the place to get expert advice.

The one time I had a HD person come to my house was for a roofing estimate. The guy came VERY close to falling backwards off the roof. I ended up having a local guy do the job, using better materials, for less than half the price of the HD estimate.

Liberty275 6 years, 9 months ago

If you need your hand held, go to krings. They have nicer stuff anyway. Casa Depot is for DIYers that mostly know what they are doing.

For instance. I can make two measurements and know how much carpet and padding to buy as well as a good idea of how many tack strips I'll need.. Unfortunately, we are doing slate, so I'm putting the room into autocad and drawing a matrix of tiles + grout lines so I'll know how many tiles I'll need and where to put the centerlines for the most aesthetic look.

SpeedRacer 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm a DYI'er, and Home Depot is perfect for what I want. I have actually used specialty stores in Lawrence before with great disappointment. Once I arranged to have carpeting installed throughout the house with the understanding that furniture would be moved by the installer and old carpet removed - for which I paid extra. The retailer contracted it out and ONE person showed up to do all of this. I had to call friends over to do the furniture moving and pulled the old carpet myself while the contractor cut carpet.

I now do most of the work myself or look for a decent local small projects guy to do it, most of whom do a great job.

LadyJ 6 years, 9 months ago

I am actually in need of recommendations for roofing. Anybody have any recommendations or warnings on roofers?

RoeDapple 6 years, 9 months ago

English speaking at the very least . . .

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

You may be speaking about the same group that did my neighbor's roof. I don't know the name of the company, but the owner hardly ever, if ever, appeared on the job site and none of the workers spoke English. They did appreciate the appearance of another neighbor---who did not appreciate their attention. Neither neighbor was a happy camper.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

In my experience, the difference between Home Depot and Lowes is that they have some different products. I haven't noticed a difference in customer service. I've had people at HD (Wichita stores) go way out of their way to help me find a product and give me ideas when I wasn't sure exactly what I needed. One spent quite a bit of time online finding a particular switch plate for me so I could order it.

One should not expect stores to be good at something they're not meant to be. The tile at HD seems to be much less expensive than at specialty stores, but there doesn't seem to be a difference in quality.

I've managed to do quite a few things myself with advice and help I've gotten from HD and I am definitely not handy or knowledgeable.

Tom McCune 6 years, 9 months ago

Look at their signs next time. "This Is a Working Warehouse" is one of their safety warnings. Warehouses are for lots of stuff managed by people who know what they are looking at. You shouldn't expect to get professional services at a working warehouse.

DillonBarnes 6 years, 9 months ago

A lot of people go into THD expecting the kind of service and knowledge they may get from a specialty store. THD cannot offer that kind of knowledge, even though it may be advertised that way. The average employee may be responsible for some 10,000+ products in his/her department alone, and expecting that individual to know intimate details about every single one of those products in absurd. You may go into the store and expect someone to know every in and out of a particular law mower (where was it manufactured, how long do they last, why is this better than that), while at the same time another customer may expect that employee to know what will get rid of the little black bugs on her tree ("they're just little, and black, and they're on my tree!"), and yet still, another customer wants to know where the mulch came from, was it from a sustainable source. Acquiring that kind of knowledge about products takes time, and it would take years of training before THD could even put them out on the floor.

There are some very smart people at THD, and there really are some experts who can give you some great advice, but it might not always be the first person you run into. If an employee tells you "I don't know," that's a good thing; that means he/she isn't going to lie to you about their knowledge. Hopefully there will be someone available to come answer your question more thoroughly.

Generally, don't set your expectations too high, and realize what kind of store this actually is. If you are looking for that screw that fell off your mower you bought 10 years ago, you're probably not going to have much luck finding it at THD. However, if you're looking for some easy seed to patch up those holes in your yard, someone can point to that aisle and recommend a couple options based on your yard. It's Do It Yourself; not You Do It For Me (the rarely heard YDIFM acronym).

Also, never underestimate the power of being polite, patient and kind to the sales associate. It will pay many dividends.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

"Also, never underestimate the power of being polite, patient and kind to the sales associate. It will pay many dividends."

Never were truer words spoken.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

From a Huffington Post article:

"A handcuffed suspect in Florida escaped police custody and fled to a Pensacola Home Depot, where he was spotted shortly after shopping for bolt-cutters. . . . After allegedly failing to cut off the cuffs, Scott, apparently sensing he might have attracted some unwanted attention, fled out the back of the store. . . . When police took him into custody, he was still wearing the handcuffs that had been placed on his wrists earlier that day. Authorities also found a small nail file and a screwdriver -- items Scott had allegedly stolen from Home Depot to try to get the cuffs off, Maddison said."

No further comment.

2and2is4 6 years, 9 months ago

I suppose "Scott" was upset he had to "do it himself" ... No further comment indeed

2and2is4 6 years, 9 months ago

The estimate "fee" is refunded back to you when you purchase your flooring. If you don't purchase, the fee is not refunded... Makes sense to me. That's not mentioned in her article, which isn't surprising. And of course, by all means, since she was disappointed in this one experience, in this one department, I'm sure she'll "never shop in home depot again." How ridiculous. There are so many associates in that store who know the merchandise and do everything they can to make their customers (contractors and homeowners) happy. I agree with the comment that this should gave been a letter to the store manager, not a whiny article in the ljworld. And I could not agree more with the most recent comment regarding the way you treat associates. The majority of that store knows me by my first name, that's good service... I've never been in a specialty store where they know me from Adam. Big box nothing.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Stop being cheap... The flooring stores train and pay to keep knowledgable employees. Between that and the warrenties is why flooring cost more in flooring store. Home Depot, and the like cut prices by having uneducated dummies on the floor.

Their is no free lunch. The "free" measurements are paid out of the salesmens pocket in flooring stores. Nothing is free.

countrygal07 6 years, 9 months ago

If the local stores gave her free estimates than she should of already had the measurements. I shop Home Depot and have no problems.

RoeDapple 6 years, 9 months ago

2and2is4 (anonymous) says… "And of course, by all means, since she was disappointed in this one experience, in this one department, I'm sure she'll "never shop in home depot again."

True. At least there will be one less person in the check out line ahead of me saying "I need to run back to Plumbing Supplies to get adhesive. What does it look like?"

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

Home Depot just got a lot of free advertising. Probably more than enough to make up for losing one customer (who probably rarely if ever bought anything there anyway).

Oh the irony.

Mike Hatch 6 years, 9 months ago

When people start to rag on the coupon ladies, I'm usually on their side...but not this time.

This is like someone going to Checkers and writing a blog about being appalled that they had to bag their own groceries.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

The carpet installation service at HD is too complicated, and they outsource it as well.

When we were looking for new carpet, we looked there as well as at some local companies - the costs were harder to analyze, because they charged separately for everything, but seemed about 1/2 as much as a local company.

However, we were told that they make a number of mistakes, so we went with the local guys.

Ironically, they made a mistake (minor), and then didn't do much of anything to make up for it that worked for us - the owner failed to call (having said he would), and didn't return my phone calls.

So we paid 2x as much, didn't get a mistake-free experience, and didn't get great customer service. Fortunately, the carpet is nice, and the installers did an excellent job.

But, I would have expected better given the high prices and local nature of the company.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

One would expect Home Depot,Lowe's or any other home improvement type store to hire people who can help anyone regardless of their knowledge. These employees should be able to detect whether or not a customer is a complete idiot or a fine crafts person. Then the level of service can proceed accordingly.

These stores are hyped to be the place for homeowners ...... never has it been said that homeowners should be experienced in flooring,framing, remodel, rehab etc etc etc.

McCray Lumber & Millwork 785-843-3270 has helpful people. Not a flashy store.

Cottins Hardware is quite helpful. Cottins can special order most any brand power tool at competitive prices if not available in their store....

Julie has a legitimate complaint. She is far from the only one that has this perception of our Home Depot.

CHEEZIT 6 years, 9 months ago

Ding1 Ding! Ding! Ding!Ding! Ding! Ding! You win because you know the policy. As for an expert I'm pretty sure you don't become one until you've done it a while. The person who helped this lady while not an expert has done many DIY project's including flooring. How many different types of flooring do you suppose HD offers???? We have this thing it's called the internet! Maybe you could look it up before attacking the salespeople for their so called lack of knowledge. Not you None2. The people who did the article!!!

2and2is4 6 years, 9 months ago

I've been a contractor most of my life and I shop this particular home depot store on a weekly basis. I have witnessed countless employees being degraded by their customers and it's sickening. I myself could not possibly retain the patience that these store associates have. Hence the reason I am self employed. CHEEZIT, you are 100% correct about the internet.. people should do their own research before assuming all home depot associates should be experts in every field. How horrible that home depot associate must feel having this article written about them...

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

McCray Lumber & Millwork 785-843-3270 just said they would spend as much time as necessary even if one is a complete idiot.

Lamps and other lighting or rewiring and electrical supplies/tools: Electric Supply Lighting 724 Connecticut

Ernst Hardware downtown can sometimes be a great connection in spite of the unusual stocking technique.

mae 6 years, 9 months ago

This article is terrible. So are some of the posters. I opened that store and managed paint, electrical and flooring for years. There's only enough money for one pro per department and several other regular people. Imagine how hard it is to find a pro willing to work there? It is a diy warehouse, and a heckuva lot better than Lowes. People like you took up some time while we helped you out. The next customer has to wait. Every weekend we put on demonstration classes instead of getting our paperwork done. This was for people like you and is clearly posted outside the front door.

So grow up and learn what you're talking about before you speak next time.

christopherhess 6 years, 9 months ago

Unless there is something at stake besides actual customer satisfaction, these comments are best directed to the business in question and not a broad swipe on the bulletin board. A commenter must know that a swipe in public will raise defensiveness (as you would react to "this person came in today and..." posted by the company). Start with the smallest circle of influence. Work outward as needed.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

"Thanks for pointing that out. If they refer to some customers as "complete idiots", then I'll know not to go there again."

McCray did NOT choose that terminology "idiot". I did.
I framed the question to a store like: "If a customer is a complete idiot or a fine crafts person can McCray's help? The reply was "We'll spend as much time as necessary with any customer."

I have been well satisfied with service from McCray's,Cottins,Ernst and Electric Supply Lighting.

DillonBarnes 6 years, 9 months ago

I've had bad experiences at McCrays, Ace, and The Home Depot. It depends who you run into, what kind of day you are having, what kind of day they are having, it's a lot of factors.

It's pretty dumb to judge an entire store, usually making judgments about every single employee's intelligence from your encounter with one person. You run into one employee who can't answer your question and suddenly all 100+ employees at that store are idiots.

People have their preferences, I really don't care for Ace anymore, though I've had both good and bad experiences there, everyone seems very depressed there.

camper 6 years, 9 months ago

Get with it ladies. Your coupon hunting ways and expert salesman expectations are a thing of the past. Today we buy in bulk, Wal Mart big store fasion. Like it as you may, these days are long gone when you could expect good service. It is all about wholesale, foreign made, cheaper prices. If you get good service, it is because you were lucky to get a kid who is not jaded by the world (thank god for them because they will have to clean up our mess), or a retired person who wants to work a part time job. Your comments and article are snobbish and condescending. Go take a walk.

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

Knowledge of products and services is clearly NOT a prerequisite for hiring at Home Depot. Given the quality of the available labor pool in Lawrence, I would suspect the pricipal concerns would be whether or not the person can be depended on to show up to work and not have a felony arrest record. The fact the person was able to provide a vague answer to a customer's question probably exceeds managements expectations for most employees.

I try to shop at Ace Hardware and pray for the day Lowes builds a store in Lawrence. Competition is the only way to fix whats wrong with our Home Depot.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.