No good deed goes unpunished, Home Depot edition

Following up on my previous blog posting, I just sent this letter to The Home Depot (pay special attention to the part I’ve emphasized in red):

October 2, 2009

Store Manager
The Home Depot
615 Arsenel Street
Watertown, MA 02471

To whom it may concern:

This letter concerns a purchase whose receipt bar code is labeled “[elided]”.

Last Sunday, I visited your store to purchase a large piece of outdoor carpet. I told the sales associate who was assisting me that I wanted to buy a twenty-foot length from a standard twelve-foot roll.

After that associate and another one rolled and wrapped the carpet, one of them took out a calculator, tapped on it for a moment, announced that I was purchasing 1.44 square yards of carpet, and then went to get me a cart. The other associate dutifully wrote this on the roll.

There are some people who would have let this pass, but I am not one of them. I took out my own calculator, worked through the correct calculations, and informed the associate that the correct figure was 26.6 square yards. He thought about this for a moment and then crossed out the incorrect amount and wrote mine down in its place. I don’t know if he was actually convinced I was right, or merely saw nothing wrong with overcharging a customer who volunteered for it. In any case, I paid for the carpet and a spool of rope, used the rope to tie the carpet to the roof of my van, and then took it home.

Yesterday, when I unrolled the carpet to put it down in my back yard, I discovered that it was only fifteen feet long, not twenty feet, as I’d told the associate several times and he’d repeated back to me. Although this made the carpet unsuitable for its intended purpose, I cut and installed it anyway. I was on a tight schedule and did not have hours to roll it back up, load it back onto my van, return to the store, find a manager to talk to about the problem, unload the bad carpet from my van, get new carpet cut, load the new carpet onto my van, and return home.

At around 2:30pm today, I called your store to speak to a manager about what had happened. The associate who answered the phone put me on hold for a while and then returned and said, “I’m sorry, all the managers must be in a meeting right now or something, because none of them are answering their pagers.” It’s outrageous for a customer who calls a huge store like The Home Depot in the middle of a weekday and says that he has a problem and needs to speak to be a manager to be told, “Sorry, you’re out of luck.”

Here is what you are going to do to remedy this situation:

  1. You are going to refund to my credit card the $39.00 I was overcharged for 60 square feet (5 feet x 12 feet) of carpet I paid for that was supposed to be on the roll but wasn’t.
  2. You are going to refund to my credit card a 10% discount on the rest of the carpet, $11.70, to compensate me for the fact that the piece of carpet you sold me was actually unsuitable for how I intended to use it, but I had to use it anyway to avoid the hassle and delay of returning it.

I hope that you will find a way to improve your training for associates so they can accurately measure carpet and calculate how much is being bought. Aside from that, I hope you will adjust your procedures so that when a customer calls with a complaint asks to speak to a manager, he actually gets to speak to one.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Kamens

CC: Frank Blake, CEO
The Home Depot, Inc.
2455 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30339

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2 Responses to “No good deed goes unpunished, Home Depot edition”

  1. [...] Something better to do Musings of an indignant mind « No good deed goes unpunished, Home Depot edition [...]

  2. abbasegal says:

    It would have been particularly ironic had you been given 1.08 x 12 feet of carpet…. ;-)

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