Monday, October 17, 2011

The reason for the death of big box stores.



When I woke up this morning and saw that Lowe's was starting to close stores and lay off people, I thought - what took them so long? With their isles of stale merchandise, and barely proficient checkers.

To be fair, Lowe's has the nicest barely proficient workers out there. I even got a hug with my last experience. Which was nice. Still it took two days and five checkers to get out the door. With a call the next day to get the order placed. It seemed no one knew how to get sod delivered to my door. I think the girl put it best when she called me the next day. She said "sometimes the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing".

This is after buying sod at Home Depot all summer. I had to do my back yard in stages. I eventually tired of going to Home Depot because I could never get someone with the forklift to put it into my truck. It would always take me an hour to get my sod and be out the door. I'd have to load it - sometimes with another girl. The forklift was never to be seen. It burns half your energy.

Both of these stores seem fairly ambivalent to selling you anything.

Contrast that to my experience this weekend with an old timey lumber store. I had to find some quarter inch double sided melamine. The big box stores didn't carry it. They only carried one sided melamine.

After I found my sheets, I needed to have them cut down so I could transport them. Normally at Home Depot you would have to track someone down, who would call someone.

One of the roving workers asked if we found everything. I asked about having the sheets milled. He stopped right there whipped out a ticket, and drove us straight to the milling department. I thought I'd die. The only time this happens at the big boxes stores is if you accidentally catch someone at the machines.

And I drove 45 minutes to have this experience. Which was every minute worth it, because normally I would just be sitting in home depot waiting for someone to mill these sheets.

The other nice thing was they had things I'd never seen. All these exotic hard woods I'd never heard of like cocobolo wood. Pictured at the top. They had this wood that was cut in 2x2x12 inch pieces, and it was every bit as heavy as a similar sized piece of steel. I'd never seen anything like it.

You know what is even sadder? I don't want to give the lumber yards name because they have all those exotic hardwoods and that whole Gibson thing is going on. I'm sure they are legit - but who needs to get anyone harassed?

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