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Interesting (bad) experience at HD today.
Old 06-15-2021, 07:20 PM   #1
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Interesting (bad) experience at HD today.

Went to Home Depot today and all I can say is Wow. What an experience. First, I did my homework and shopped online to ensure they had what I wanted and to get the location of the things I was after. Then, when I get to the store I am surprised how busy it is (late morning) for a weekday. When I get in the store, it looks like a storm hit it. It looked like there was no one cleaning up or restocking shelves. Things were strewn all over the place. There was also a noticeable lack of stock. Not just lumber but I'd guess the store had 1/2 to 2/3 the normal inventory. And of course, they didn't have what I was after even though their web site said they did.

Overall, it was a bit depressing. Running through my mind was that they couldn't get help (employees) and can't get stock and the place looked a mess. All that while the store was full of people shopping. I certainly hope this isn't the new normal. Shopping was never something I'd call fun, but going through HD and picking up what I need along with a few extras certainly wasn't a bad day. This experience made me not want to go back anytime soon.

Fortunately, I did manage to get things to complete my project. Not exactly what I wanted, but they worked out. One thing required me getting on a big ladder and opening up a box that was there but not opened and shelved properly for sale. I was just glad the scan worked at the self checkout. Because other than one register being opened, self checkout was all they had. The register that was open literally had the light on but no one was there. Ugh.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:23 PM   #2
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Felt the same way at our HD. Item not where its should be. No one to cut trim. Etcetc

Lowes was worse. Extremely crowded and my paint was not in the pickup locker as it should have been. Instead of standing in long line I called and was told it was in the locker. No its not. You either
Put it in the wrong locker or never put it there. Fix it. Without me standing in line. I got so aggravtated I had to go to the car.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:27 PM   #3
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That does seem abit odd. Normally the Home Depot and Lowes near to us are very clean and well stocked.

I digress abit......
Just yesterday, for the first time, I picked out several items online and had them all sacked up and ready to Pick Up and Pay for at Lowes near our house. That was smooth and easy and we will definitely use that service again.

Here is Tip for the Online thing for non compooter skilled folks..... be dam sure that the store you do all your Online Shopping at and paying for to pick up is at the Store near to your house.....
Last night ms gamboolgal and I had to drive a extra ~10 miles as I had "shopped" at the wrong Lowes vs the one right near the house.....
ha !

Worked out well though as we found a local resturaunt that served some fantastic grilled Red Fish and Sea Bass

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Old 06-15-2021, 07:31 PM   #4
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I have been to a few local HD and Lowe's stores recently. Nothing out of the usual. Perhaps the problem with lack of workers some businesses experience is not a widespread one.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:36 PM   #5
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We needed some 2x8's cut in sections to make "stands" for the display cabinets in our new kitchen. Went to HD about 0730 on Saturday. The parking lot was already filling; fortunately, the lumber dept. wasn't yet mobbed. Found someone fairly quickly to pick the lumber off the rack and cut it as requested. The biggest shock was the price - $63.00 for four 2x8's of the lowest quality they had. Still, the carpenter who worked on our kitchen had already warned me about huge hikes in material costs.

The biggest difficulty, all year, has been landscape supplies. Peat moss is unobtainable. I reserved/paid online for two bales (all that will fit in the trunk) at Lowes; when we got there two days later, the peat moss had been sold to someone else and there was none to be had. Neither Lowes nor HD has gotten any for months. And neither of them will deliver mulch (in previous years, we had 60 bags delivered each spring).
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:37 PM   #6
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I haven't noticed anything unusual with Lowes or HD here either, but it's been a couple of weeks since I went in either one. I do hope what Jerry1 ran into was an anomaly.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:45 PM   #7
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I will put some of the problem on lack of employees...

In Houston they had a new article about someone who wanted to open up 4 restaurants and was not able to because he cannot find any workers.. he said he did pay well...

My sister went to an IHOP and there was only ONE person working the whole store... she said she was not doing the whole menu as she could not do everything by herself...

Maybe when the extra unemployment stops things will start to get back to normal...
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:52 PM   #8
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My visit to the local HD this afternoon was fine. Picked up a few items, all in place on the right shelves, short line at the self checkout, in and out in less than 10 minutes.

Everyone had masks on, even though this is the first day they are not required in California, if you're vaccinated.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:55 PM   #9
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Lumber pricing should be headed down soon. Futures off 40%(?)

I had the same experience today as OP shopping for nice (cheap) shoes. I walked into DSW & the men's section was destroyed. 1/3 of the wall displays were empty & the shelves were off the wall. About 4-6 sizes on many shoes.
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:00 PM   #10
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I was in both HD and Lowes today and nothing unusual. Not may people there (4 pm or so)... seemed to be well stocked thought HD did not have the garden stakes that I wanted but Lowes did. One of the benefits of living in the boondocks.

I had my mask on but they had a sign at the door saying that no mask was required if you were fully vaccinated so I took it off.
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:10 PM   #11
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Bummer dude. Yup, covid times. Get it while ya can and get your wallet out.

Been there done that.
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:51 PM   #12
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I think it has more to do with $Trillions being printed by Fed+Treasury. Not so much to do with Covid.. because vaccinated employees would be going back to work by now if it was just covid.

- People who had $1m in their savings last year, are now sitting on $2m in saving. Just like magic. Allowing more people to leave workforce. They feel way richer now than last year.

- House flippers and land-lords are suddenly sitting on pumped up Real Estate and thus much higher net-worth. So they are also suddenly way more rich than just last year.

- Enhanced child credit payments are about to begin (starting July). More money in people's pocket.

- SeekingAlpha crowd is raking it in. Everyone, their Uncle, their Aunt, their nephews and their uber drivers are buying cryptos and Tesla, NVDA, AMZN and FB. They make more money that way than what lousy work can pay. Allowing some more people to quit in this category. Because market always go up now (Thanks Fed)

- Reddit crowd is getting their fair share of fun & money as well. At least so far. And who knows how long this can last. Markets can stay irrational longer than someone betting against it. So this crowd is also not that desperate for menial job at HD answering nagging questions from pesky customers.

So if you see labor shortage in a town or HD near you.. its because money printing is allowing higher % of people to leave their jobs and fewer people are available to replace them.

And $15/hr is almost de-facto lower bar of the acceptable wage now. Expect people to keep churning (another employer offers $1/hr more and person leaves) at a higher rate for a while.

Having said that.. my local HD is no worse or better than before. Employees still wander around away from customers, avoid eye-contacts with customers but are usually very knowledgeable when you can get hold of one. So that means there are fewer employees and more customers (than ideal ratio).

Loews has more employees in the store nearby. Haven't noticed any big change there either. But state I am in has very stingy unemployment benefits.. so maybe that is a deterrent?

I definitely don't blame people who are taking a break or enjoying their life with all this new prosperity. Blame Fed and politicians in DC who keep kicking the can down the road.
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:05 PM   #13
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We are actually rehabbing a rental in the DC metro area to sell and have been going to HD and/or Lowes at least once a day, sometimes 4 times in one day over the past 2 weeks.

Supplies have been limited, but generally ok. However, we have had the worst experience in the HD closest to us, mainly with the staff they had. They clearly hated being at work! I keep swearing to not return, but by Trip #3 in one day, an extra three miles to cross the Maryland to Virginia border is just too hard!

Glad Im not alone!
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by gamboolman View Post
That does seem abit odd. Normally the Home Depot and Lowes near to us are very clean and well stocked. ...
Yes, I have not had the experience of the OP. We just moved, and are just minutes away from both an HD and a Menards, and I'm there several times a week to outfit our home the way we want, get my workshop set up, etc.

It's been fine. Yes, lumber is costly (good to see the futures are down at least), but the supplies are OK. Staff has been helpful - no complaints.

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Old 06-15-2021, 10:33 PM   #15
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We have been at either Home Depot or Lowe’s a lot remodeling my condo for the past 2 months. No issues at either one.
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Old 06-16-2021, 04:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
I haven't noticed anything unusual with Lowes or HD here either, but it's been a couple of weeks since I went in either one. I do hope what Jerry1 ran into was an anomaly.
I've been in HD several times a month for the last year and everything has been entirely normal.

However, I notice that nearly every store of every kind around here has a "Now Hiring" sign in the window, so my guess is that this problem was due to being shorthanded.
I thought growing old would take longer.
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Old 06-16-2021, 05:04 AM   #17
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As a chronic builder in ER, I'm at Lowes & Home Depot a couple of times a week.

Both stores are somewhat generic. One uses sodium vapor (orange) lighting where the other uses mercury vapor lights. One has gray shelving where the other has orange shelving. Lowes does a better job with appliances, but that's about it for the differences.

Even before the pandemic, Lowes had a program to cut back dramatically on employment. I had not heard the same of Home Depot. Seems like many of H-D employees are people in Early Retirement looking for a bridge job until real retirement.

Many of those stocking the shelves work for the manufacturers--at both stores.

I was in a Lowes store yesterday, and I noticed how well merchandised and full the cleaning supply section was. Also looked at light bulbs, and they were fully stocked--albeit at very high prices.

The quality of any big retailer comes down to management at the local level. And their ability to hire quality people to do the job. Both vary at each store and at each market.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:13 AM   #18
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Thanks. Sounds like this is probably an isolated case. There’s is another HD not too far and a Lowe’s. I’ll go to a different one next time. I went to this one mainly because the web site said they had what I wanted. Oh well, I won’t fall for that again.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:47 AM   #19
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I haven't noticed any difference around here, but I do think there is a labor shortage, not just from covid relief packages:

A number of workers have dropped out of the workforce: Become home care givers or home schoolers, vs. going back to work. Decided not worth it for low wage jobs when daycare costs half their check anyway. Budgeted/adjusted, not going back.

A lot of tipped employees have decided that work is too volatile and not protected with PP or UE (if your base rate is $2.98 an hour...)

Another bunch are taking advantage, in a good way, of the labor shortage to upgrade. They don't have to work on their feet all day for $9 an hour when they can get $15 at other places, or more.

None of these categories are in the millions, but every little shift adds up. And none of it is surprising, but all of it is very interesting to watch. A motivated worker is in the best position in decades.
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Old 06-16-2021, 07:26 AM   #20
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In the past week I’ve been in HD in two states. Both were clean, well stocked and had floor employees offer assistance. I suspect the mess observed in the OP may be a local management or location issue.

The most recent JOLTS report shows employees are quitting at record rates and in retail it hit a new high.
In April, the quits level and rate increased to series highs of 4.0 million and 2.7 percent, respectively. Quits increased in a number of industries with the largest increases in retail trade (+106,000), professional and business services (+94,000), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+49,000). The number of quits increased in the South, Midwest, and West regions. (See table 4.)
Employers need to put more thought and effort into hiring and retaining.
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