grumpy about Home Depot

I hate Home Depot. So I can’t explain why I called my local Home Depot this evening to find out if they carry a random orbital floor sander. The Home Depot website says I can rent one from locations that carry rental tools, and I really want to rent one to refinish the fir-like softwood floors we just exposed upstairs when we ripped out the wall-to-wall carpet.

Home Depot’s tool rental info page had a spot where I could enter my zip code and it would tell me which nearby locations had this particular sander in stock. But I was on my iPhone and here’s a news flash: the zip code widget didn’t work. Not to worry. I decided to just call the store. How long could it take them to tell me if they have a random orbital floor sander in stock for me to rent?

Here’s how the call went. More or less. It’s hard for me to remember all 33 minutes verbatim (my finger did not twitch and accidentally hit that number key twice), but I have the sequence of events exactly right:

Br-r-r-ringgg, br-r-r-ringggg.

“Thank you for calling Home Depot. If you know your party’s three-digit extension, please dial it now. Please listen to the following options, if you are trying to reach a department. For flooring, press one. For kitchen and bath, press two. For gardening and outdoors, press three. For lumber, please press four. For additional options, please press the star button.”

I press star.

“For electrical, press five. For plumbing and heating, press six. For windows and shutters, press seven. For tool rentals, press eight.”

AHA! I breath a sigh of relief and press 8.

Br-r-r-ringgg, br-r-r-ringggg. I count five rings. There’s a pause, and then two more rings.

“Thank you for calling Home Depot. All of our customer service representatives are currently helping other customers. Please stay on the line and a representative will be with you shortly.” Eighties rock-style music kicks in with an emphatic, macho male voice overlay. He says all sorts of exciting stuff along the lines of, “you want to fix your house, and we want to help. LET’S DO THIS.” I’ve stumbled into a monster truck rally. It’s a repeating loop.

Click. “Hello, this is Mary. How can I help you?”

“I’m trying to find out if your store carries random orbital floor sanders that I can rent.”

“Oh, you need the rental department. One moment please.” Click.

Damn. I know exactly what she’s doing, but she moved so fast I didn’t have time to stop her. She’s transferring me back to the rental department.

Br-r-r-ringgg, br-r-r-ringggg. I count five rings. There’s a pause, and then two more rings.

“Thank you for calling Home Depot. All of our customer service representatives are currently helping other customers. Please stay on the line and a representative will be with you shortly.” Rock-style music kicks in with macho male voice overlay saying stuff empathically along the lines of, “you want to fix your house, and we want to help. LET’S DO THIS.” Monster truck rally continues.

Click. “Hello, this is Mary. How can I help you?”

“Hi. It’s me again. Still trying to find out about the random orbital floor sander.”

She speaks cheerfully. “Oh, I’m sorry. I know they’re back there. They must not have picked up. Hold on.” Click.

DAMN. Too fast. I know exactly what she’s doing.

Br-r-r-ringgg, br-r-r-ringggg. I count five rings. There’s a pause, and then two more rings.

“Thank you for calling Home Depot. All of our customer service representatives are currently helping other customers. Please stay on the line and a representative will be with you shortly.” Rock-style music kicks in with macho male voice overlay saying stuff empathically along the lines of, “you want to fix your house, and we want to help. LET’S DO THIS.”

I breathe.

Click. “Hello, this is John. How can I help you?”

This is new. I must have finally gotten through. “Hi John! I’ve been on hold a long time. I want to know if you carry random orbital floor sanders to rent.”

“Hold on, I’ll transfer you.” Click.

GAAAH.

Five rings, pause, two rings.

“Thank you for calling Home Depot. All of our customer service representatives are currently helping other customers. Please stay on the line and a representative will be with you shortly.” Rock-style music kicks in with macho male voice overlay saying stuff empathically along the lines of, “you want to fix your house, and we want to help. LET’S DO THIS.” 

I breathe some more. Also I groan and start pacing.

Click. “Hello, this is Melanie. How can I help you?”

I can’t hide my irritability. “Melanie. You’re the third person I’ve talked with. I just keep being transferred and put on hold. I think they’re trying to send me to the rental department. Who were they, and who are you? Where are you in the store?”

Melanie laughs. “I’m at the customer service desk, ma’am. What can I do for you?”

I grit my teeth and speak politely, because I know it’s not Melanie’s fault and I’m not irate yet. “I want to rent a random orbital floor sander. I’m trying to find out if you carry them in this store. My phone tells me I’ve been trying for 12 minutes. Please don’t just transfer me back to the rental department, because they’re not picking up.”

Melanie is relentlessly polite. “I’ll transfer you to a manager.”

Br-r-r-ringgg, br-r-r-ringggg. A gruff, rushed, and self-important sounding voice answers. But the man is not clear-spoken. “hewwo ths ess Brfs, wu cu I dfya.”

I can’t make out his name. It doesn’t matter. I figure out that he’s asked me what I need. I tell him.

“You need the rental department.”

“I know. They’re not picking up.”

“I know they’re there. They’re probably helping other customers. I’ll walk back there ma’am, with you on the line. Hold on.”

I wait. I continue to hear human sounds, and the macho man truck rally doesn’t come back on, so I’m happy. Sort of. The human sounds are muffled, as if the manager is holding the phone against his body as he walks, so I can tell he’s got a mobile piece. There’s a lot of talking, but I can’t tell if he’s talking to me, so every 20 or 30 seconds I say hopefully, “hello? Hello? Are you talking to me?” I can’t tell if I’m getting a reply, because all the noises are incoherent. After about 7 minutes of this (the iPhone call timer does not lie), suddenly there’s silence.

I wander into the kitchen and mutter to Anthony, who’s doing dishes. “I think he hung up on me.” Huh. But the iPhone doesn’t think the call has ended. I put the phone back up to my ear, just in time to hear…

“Thank you for calling Home Depot. All of our customer service representatives are currently helping other customers. Please stay on the line and a representative will be with you shortly.” Rock-style music kicks in with macho male voice overlay saying stuff empathically along the lines of, “you want to fix your house, and we want to help. LET’S DO THIS.” 

Now I’m irate.

Click. “Hello, this is Melanie. How can I help you?”

“Hello Melanie. I’m back. I’m trying to rent a random orbital floor sander. You transferred me to the manager. I have no idea what he’s doing.”

“Oh. Did you speak with him?”

“Yeeees. He said he was walking to the rental department.”

“I’ll get him again for you.” Click.

BP meds kick into action on my end, stopping the stroke I can feel rising up in my brain.

The manager answers the phone again. I remind him who I am. He’s practically nonchalant, and this is when it all falls apart, in my mind at least.

“I’m sorry ma’am. I was helping a customer. What is it you need?”

“A random orbital floor sander! If you had been listening the first time we spoke, you would know that!”

He’s still nonchalant, and apparently indifferent to the fact that we’ve travelled this path before. “I’ll walk back to the rental department right now.”

“That’s what you said you were doing last time I spoke with you! What were you actually doing??”

“Ma’am, a customer on the floor needed help. I stopped to help that customer.”

“With me on the line? What am I?? Aren’t I a customer??”

“Ma’am,” he says suavely, as though he’s explaining to me how to wipe my ass, “I had to help the customer.”

My decibels are rising now as I sass back at him. “You could have at least told me! I was just waiting on this line listening to you help another customer?? No wonder your staff act like this!! WHY DIDN’T YOU AT LEAST TELL ME?? YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS. YOU’RE HOME DEPOT. I’ve been listening to your stupid macho man recording tell me over and over again that LET’S DO THIS!! Are you gonna DO THIS??? COME ON! YOU CAN DO BETTER!! YOU’RE THE HOME DEPOT!!!”

And so on. Manager maintains his dignity. He finds the rental department and we settle down to business. Then it goes wrong in a whole new way.

“Do you want the sander with a round sanding pad or a square sanding pad?”

???

I don’t know what to say, so I reply as clearly as I know how. “I don’t know what the pads look like. I know I found the product on your website. It’s called a random orbital floor sander.”

We go back and forth in a completely senseless conversation that I can’t even repeat here, because I can’t remember it clearly. It’s like we’re speaking different languages, but eventually I decide the manager is trying to unload a drum sander on me. But it’s really hard to tell. What IS clear is that the manager is full of shit and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’ve completely lost it by now (though I’m not yelling anymore, yay for therapy!), so I speak in my best suave and didactic voice, as though I’m explaining to him how to pick his nose. “There’s a drum sander, which is too aggressive because I have soft wood. There’s a buffer, which is too light because it’s really just for touching up floors. And then there’s the random orbital floor sander, which is just right in the middle. I don’t want a buffer, I don’t want a drum sander, I want to rent a RANDOM ORBITAL FLOOR SANDER. It’s sort of TRIANGULAR. Do you have something that’s TRIANGULAR?”

There’s a long moment of silence.

“We don’t have it in stock tonight.”

“You don’t carry it?”

“No, we definitely carry it! It’s just been rented out.”

Yeah right. I try to hide my snickering and I end the call as fast as I can.

I hate Home Depot.

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4 thoughts on “grumpy about Home Depot

  1. I prefer to get right up front and personal with hardware stores. Then can see just how they have pushed me over the limits of my medications. 🙂

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