Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Trip to Home Depot

Whoa!!! I know what you are thinking. Everyone's 2nd favorite Donald Duck (mom always liked him best) has run out of things to blog about. Never fear, fair readers, this evolves into a mildly amusing story and a rant about a big corporation. ~ Pato

I avoid Home Depot as much as possible. Big, ugly, and orange, the stores leave me cold with their ignorant staff (I know as much about hardware as most of them do)and poor customer service. In our store, there are 15 check-outs but usually only 1-2 are manned. Of course I am buying a light bulb and 2 screws and the person in front of me is buying enough material to build a house. They do have everything in stock, which to me is their only saving grace.

I also dislike how the big box stores rely on the largesse of taxpayers to build their monsters everywhere and drive away other businesses. Kansas City has given away enough tax dollars to rebuild the whole city just to get Wally World and Home Depot and others to build or stay. Can anyone say "blackmail"?

When I was still an HR type, I interviewed for an HR job at a Home Depot in St Louis. Every store has an HR manager and I thought I'd be a shoe-in handling one location after juggling up to 20 in my career. The annoying application began with a lengthy on-line application and then a telephone screening done by a contract firm. Then if you passed that, you got to interview with the regional manager. I got lucky.

Arriving and going in the back of the store, I was ushered in by a casually dressed young fellow who chatted to me about how things were, what I was here for etc. Imagine my surprise when he joined in the interview as the main fellow's assistant. I always wondered if I said something silly.

The head guy was a cocky, surly fellow (we would have clashed, I am sure) but the interview progressed as well as expected. I was then taken to an unoccupied room and given a set of essay questions to complete and told I had 30 minutes to complete them. 30 minutes went by, 40, 45, 50... so I got up and looked out in the hall. No one was there and went to the door where the interview took place. The two fellows were still there and were engrossed in a telephone conversation about an issue at a store. I listened for a bit. The person on the phone must have asked how the interviews were going. "Heh..." the main guy sighed, "not a damn one has come in that has impressed me yet." Cut your losses man. I retrieved my notebook and ducked under the window of the door and left. Sorry, boys, it was I who was not impressed from the start. First and only time I ever walked out before an interview was completed.

So with that baggage in tow, I went to Home Depot as we wanted some new large palms for the pool. Home Depot does have a fair selection of reasonable priced plants, although many are in poor shape. I bought an orchid there once (in my pre-hate days) that infested the rest of my orchids with aphids. So I took the Queen Mary and proceeded to the store. I found two nice palms that appeared to be $26.95 each so I went off to find a cart (all were in the parking lot) and took them to the check out. Not a long wait, luckily.

The man behind me was admiring the palms, which at about 5 1/2 ft tall and in a cart were hard to miss. "You keep them outside in the winter?", he asked. "No, they stay indoors, I have an indoor pool". "Oh...." thinking I was Ritchie Rich. I enjoyed the ruse and found it odd how people's attitude change when they think you have money!

With palms all paid for, I wheeled the cart out, looking much like Artie Johnson peeking thru the shrubs on the old Laugh-In Show. I ran into a few people along the way but caused no real injuries.

The Queen Mary being a Lincoln from the 80s is a cavernous auto thus I was not really worried about getting two 5 1/2 ft palms in her. The people in the parking lot were not so sure. I attracted quite a crowd as I placed the first palm in the front right footwell and gently bent the fronds to fit in. The second one was relegated to the back seat. She slid in the left back foot well and went across the seat, angled slightly to the front. Viola! Two palms in a Lincoln. I got applause. Getting home was without incident, although I felt I was in a jungle. Arriving at the Towers, I thought how the audience at Home Depot would have loved to watch as the palms magically sprung from the car to their full glory, much like a troupe of circus clowns piling out of a Volkswagen. The splendid palms were significantly taller than the Queen Mary.

The palms look lovely in the pool room, the Queen Mary needs a trip to the car wash to vacuum out a bit of dirt and my trip to Home Depot was a success.

With all that baggage and drama, no wonder I am not a frequent shopper!

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