Lowe's Customer Service - another horrible consumer experience

Sound is not great, but it is the heart of what this portends.

We Are Heading Towards Idiocracy

So I went to Lowe's the other day. I managed to knock a hole in the wall at my house (it’s a long story, just accept that I am a moron and move on), so I needed to fix it. It was a reasonably large hole and I have never done that sort of work before, so, after watching a video that showed me how to repair it (God I love the Internet), I went to Lowe's to get the items that I now knew I needed for my little home repair project.

I went in and was promptly ignored by the entire staff as is their custom now that they and Home Depot have crushed all the small hardware stores that used to provide service to their customers, and so I spent some time wandering around with my head up my consumer ass. It was great.

I found the aisle with the huge stacks of wallboard. They were enormous. The stacks were six and eight feet tall, and the sheets of sheetrock were like four by twelve or some hideously large dimension that no human that does not occur in a Homerian epic could lift, and there were no “tape knives” as I had learned such things are called, nor were there any rolls of tape, small buckets of “mud” or little red trays to hold my mud in. There was nothing. Just giant stacks of wall board that only one of the Transformers could lift.

So, being a modern consumer used to this sort of experience, I stood there like a dumbass for a while, staring at my little list and shrinking a little every time I glanced up and about hoping that someone in that red vest and blue shirted Lowe's ensemble would amble up and say those beloved words, “Can I help you, sir?”

Alas, no such thing happened. I got close. One Lowe's employee walked by and glanced up at me. I gave him my best helpless-but-too-male-to-just-come-out-and-admit-I-am-lost-in-a-hardware-store-so-please-ask-if-there’s-anything-you-can-do-for-me look.

No luck.

That look has done as much for me as my hey-hot-chick,-do-you-want-to-do-dirty-stuff-to-me? look used to do in high school. Oh well.

So, I wandered around a little. I was getting pissed. There were like, NO, employees. Where the hell did they go? Did they scurry under the shelves when I walked in like cockroaches do when you turn on the lights in the ghetto?

I ended up in lamps and toilet seats before I knew I was avoiding the issue.

I ambled back the direction I came from. I craned my neck and kept reading the big signs that compartmentalize the aisles. Bathroom. Siding. Doors and Windows. Well, there I am again. Drywall. Up and back I had gone.

There has to be tape knives and stuff, right? I mean, the guy that made the video was not just screwing with me? He looked so nice. You know?

So I made a loop and ended up back in the toilet seat aisle. Man, I really wished I needed a new toilet seat right now. Majestic rows of seats in lots of cool textures. Two screws is all that’s required to be a home repair GOD. But no.

So I wandered back to drywall again. But then, in a stroke of luck, I spot an end cap with lots of weird stuff in it. I am sort of befuddled by the whole experience, my confusion, frustration and feeling of inadequacy is making me even less perceptive than I might otherwise have been, but, at least it’s small stuff. I focus on the small stuff. Hey, there’s the tape they were talking about. Shit, how did I miss this? I grab it. OMG, look the tape knives too. SWEET!

Another guy that works there walks by. He probably had bad eyes and thought the slum lord had turned off the lights again, making it safe to come out, but he clearly didn’t see me, so, yeah, his eyesight must be really horrible. I felt very bad for him and was suddenly grateful for my good eyes even though I have to wear glasses. All things in perspective, you know?

I went through and found most of my stuff.

Still no little bucket of mud though. How could that be?

I went back round to the wall of giant person materials. There was no little buckets of mud. There were some 50 lb. stacks of mud dust mix. But I didn’t really think my little hole would require 50 lbs, even if it was a very big, little hole.

There were big 5 gallon buckets too. Same deal. Way overkill. I finally grabbed a red-vested cockroach. "Dude, my video suggested there exists buckets of wall mud that serve for one or two jobs. Have you such things?"

"Yeah. Aisle two."

Aisle two is "Paint" for those of you who do not know. Drywall is aisle 846. It's a long walk. I lost 7 pounds. :)

The 2 quart bucket of mud is $5.95. The 5 gallon bucket is $6.49. I sighed. At least I got some exercise.

I quibbled with myself for a while. Suffered existential misery, worried about the size of my genitalia, lots of stuff. Finally I decided: I’m just going to take what I have, buy a 5 gallon bucket and a piece of wallboard the size of half my house and get out of here.” I was feeling very small; I needed to get out of there before I vanished.

Walking back, I notice a little box with some 2’ x 2’ wallboard squares. It was a plain white box and had no labeling on it. It was a total accident I noticed it. I was overjoyed. I grabbed one. SWEET!

I got to the counter and gave the kid who had been sitting there with his thumb up his ass probably watching me with mine in mine the whole time and let him start ringing me up. He got the wallboard square, the little mud pan, the smaller of the two putty knives. He stopped at the 8” knife.

“Uh, you know the item number on this?” he asked me.

“What?”

“You know the item number on this?”

“Why in god’s name would I know something like that?”

“I need an item number. The tag is gone on this one.”

“Well, don’t you have a book or something?”

He fumbled around for a while.

I waited. I was sure that he, being roughly 20 and clearly a fine physical specimen, would just run back to where they were and get the item number for his customer.

He looked up at me. “Can you go get it?”

“What?” said I.

“Can you go get it.”

“Um,” I was in shock. “Well, I could. But… don’t you think you should. Me being the customer and all?”

“Well, I uh…” I thought he might actually drool. He clearly wasn’t leaving.

“Fine,” I said and gave him a spurious and piercing gaze that was completely lost on him because, according to all the anthropology texts I have read, the neanderthal people had neither sarcasm nor spuriousness as a visual reference. So, I went and got it myself.

God. What is wrong with me? Unfortunately, my only option was Home Depot, where his brother works I’m sure, so why bother?

So, I got it. Walked my old, fat ass back there and got a new one while his young, spry ass sat there with a reinserted thumb.

He rang me up and bid me farewell.

He forgot to ring up the square of wallboard.  He forgot because he had done it the first time and had canceled out the bill when he sent me, in lieu of his young self, to get the 8” knife while he sat there and dyed his fingernails brown under the pretext of potentially needing to ring up another customer (that never came, by the way). I actually had to tell him to charge me for it.

"You didn't charge me for the wallboard," I said, looking at my receipt, certain that a simian of this magnitude would have screwed it up... and I was right. This one had. (The upside is that God must laugh, and, it serves as evidence not only that there is a God, but that He has a sense of humor, because evolution cannot produce such idiocy. It defies the very premise.)

"Oh, yeah," he mumbled. He took my small 2x2 wallboard and proceded to peel the sticker off the back, intending to scan it. It was stuck... have you ever tried to peel a tag off of a book or some other paper surface? Yes, well, he really did battle with it. Clearly the complexity of adhesives combined with the fact that wallboard is essentially chalk held together by a layer of paper, was complicated, and, well, the poor boy just really had a time of it. He finally got it loose, but in doing so he tore through the protective layer of my wallboard. I couldn't help wondering why he hadn't done that the first time, but it was a riddle too lost in the storm of my general "WTF, where am I, how does this happen in America" moment to be asked aloud. I debated demanding another piece, but I knew even as I thought it that I would only cost myself another 20 minutes of misery, so I concluded, despite never having done any drywall work before, that, as a redneck, born and raised, and quite despite my having learned to read since, that I could probably save my drywall square with duct tape. I paid him, a separate bill, for my drywall, and left.

So, yeah. Lowe's sucks. And America is doomed.

Comments 76 comments

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

Customer service is pitiful in most places. I enjoyed this Hub.


The10DollarMark profile image

The10DollarMark 6 years ago

I never go to Lowe's but I always get help at Home Depot. Seriously, all I have to do is walk around and it's always "Can I help you?" "Can I help you?" "Do you need anything?".

Guess it depends on the store.

Why didn't you try asking a cashier to call someone to help you? I don't know about Lowe's, but most big stores have phones by cashiers so they can ask for stuff. Maybe he could have found you some help...Or not. After all, he could have called in for a price check for that untagged knife.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

So right! No one with any construction knowledge is going to work for "Lowe" pay there when they can make much more contracting.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I guess all my years in sales, including 8 in retail, have made me just expect to be asked. I just get so nasty and pissy inside thinking that I have to ask for help. Your HOme Depot sounds great. Where do you live, Elysium?


Faybe Bay profile image

Faybe Bay 6 years ago from Florida

This is perfect! I just applied to Home Depot over the weekend. If they give me the job I should be ruling the world in a week or two. I know I am smarter than the average clerk. If I get the job, I'll let you know, and you can just phone it in. LOL :)


Tari profile image

Tari 6 years ago from New Zealand

Kinda like my DickSmith Electronics exeprience. I just wanted a memory stick for my son's phone. We walked in and looked in each clearly marked section for said item and of course it wasn't there. My son asked me if I should ask an attendant. I looked around and had to reply.. 'I would son, but I think I'd interupt their conversations'. Everywhere I looked there were groups of employees, leaning on counters chatting to each other like employees surrounding the watercooler. Not one of them looked like they were working. My son and I went back to search for the item ourselves and eventually found it.

Btw.. we have Bunnings in lieu of Lowes and they are brilliant. You can't walk 10paces before some guy that looks like he built the hardware outlet pounces on you and asks if you need assistance. One time, when pounced upon by one of these guys I produced a very small screw and said 'I need more of these' the guy took it from my fingers, peered at it and said.. 'right, you want more of the no.5'- this way please' and lead me directly to the nuts, bolts and screws section. I was so impressed when he had spouted the number. I thought 'wow, he knows his stuff!'.... that was until I was waiting to purchase and looked at the screw. A tiny number 5 had been stamped into the head. Still.. great service!


naturalhealthchat profile image

naturalhealthchat 6 years ago from Greater Philadelphia area, PA, USA

Sorry about your frustration, but this is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Makes me want to go to Lowe's just to wander among the toilet seats. Real life--how can you beat that for comedy material?


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Ah, the wonders of retail. I'd be willing to bet you won't be putting any more holes in your walls, though.

See Ya!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Faybe, you would have to have a lobotomy to lower yourself to management level. I've read your forum posts.

Tari... the electronics store.. yeah, I hear ya. The hardware place, just wait. Once they destroy the little guy, they don't have to have good service anymore, so they fire all the extra people and jack up the prices because there's no competition any more.

Naturalhealthchat - I know, right? lol. I have as much fun ranting about stuff as I get pissed of by it. Probably more. What's life if not a source of comedy... tragedy? I think I'll keep trying to find the humor. :)

Lorlie... let's hope I don't.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

As usual a hilarious anecdote that had me in fits of laughter. Just got back from Egypt where they take customer service to the other extreme, every shop assistant has three key lines, "what is your name?, where are you from?" and "I give you very good price". Okay and polite the first few times, but really annoying after that, as coming from Guernsey involves complicated explanations of where Guernsey is in the world, and once you try to say it is "an island" they assume you are saying you are from "Ireland" which involves even more explanations. Some time later after having explained you are "near France", and "in the English Channel" and "part of Britain, but NOT the "UK", you might be lucky and get some understanding, but kind of frustrating when you know they don't really care, but are simply following some kind of staff training.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Tell them Guernsey is a cow and that you are a bovine nation just east of the Lactate border with Holstein, a major ally of the US, the UK and China. :)


MordechaiZoltan profile image

MordechaiZoltan 6 years ago

"Welcome to Costco, I love you", that is an awesome line! Your Guernsy line is classic as well. Again, SB for president!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Funny stuff!


Kerry43 6 years ago

I am impressed that you were able to make such a painfully obvious turd of a day, something funny for us to read.

Good one:)

Kez


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Kerry, it was either find the humor in it or doing something regrettable, so, yeah, went with the humor.


cosette 6 years ago

i can't believe i never read your hubs before. this is hysterical. i don't know where you live but over here they are all super friendly at lowes' and homedepot. in fact they descend on you as soon as you walk in the door, which is helpful when you want that sort of thing but kind of annoying when you don't. great hub. really money ;)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

LOL @ Money. I even get that now. :D And yeah, maybe where you live, but not here.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

It's true that customer service is awful. Most often they act like they are doing you a favor. I get furious about it. I have experienced the problem at Lowes and Home Depot, but fortunately, I love hardware stores and enjoy looking around. Consequently, I know mostly where to get what I need. Or you can try shopping with a hawt, scantily-clad female. You'll have lots of assistance.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

I must try that next time Shades, although I am also tempted to get a T-Shirt printed up in Arabic that simply says "My name is Cindy, I am from Guernsey and thanks for the very good price but I am just looking". also tempted to wear an Ipod and simply smile sweetly and point at my ears as if to say "sorry, but I can't hear you".


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Dude, they should send hawt, scantily-clad females to assist me. I shouldn't have to bring my own. That's the problem with this country... they've even slowly began to blind YOU, a man with a writer's eye to how it SHOULD be.

Misty, the Ipod thing is so awesome, isn't it? You can have it off and they'll never know, and people even let you be rude with them in, like, it doesn't occur to them that politeness dictates you take them out, because they are the kind of people who would leave them in and ignore you if they could, which is why they give such crappy service. They are fine with you not caring because they don't really care anyway. They respect your apathy towards their approach. Sad.

I think I'm going to go cut myself now.


IvyCrenshaw profile image

IvyCrenshaw 6 years ago from USA

Around here, there is a little Ace hardware. If you want help, you have to ask or look like a stranger. Since I know most of the people working there, I always have to ask. :)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

That's different. That sounds like Mayberry or something. I could live with that. I grew up on a town where it was like that.


getmyback 6 years ago

Imagine a world, where customer service meant customer service or even customer service

Great Hub

Thank You

billY


Dobson profile image

Dobson 6 years ago from Virginia

Nice placement of humor. I too, am frustrated by the self service mentality of most hoem improvement stores. We just got a new Lowes near my home and I enjoy not having to drive the hour to and from, even though I still usually have to search for what I need.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Yes, unfortunately, Getmyback, that is precisely what i have to do, imagine.

Yeah, Dobson, I too was happy when it first arrived, when it offered more than all the small hardware stores did. They had service back then too. Now all the little guys are out of business because they couldn't compete on price, so the big guys can fire all the people that they used to have giving service and raise their prices. It's brilliant corporate strategy, great capitalism, just horrible for the consumer.


NikkiDrake89 6 years ago from Salem, OR

Next time, get online and find out if there is a True Value in your area. I promise, they are so much better than big box stores. I work at a True Value in Oregon, so I know for a fact that they are privately owned, small hardware stores. Plus, anything they don't have on the shelf, can be ordered from their warehouse, which takes a max of 3 days where I work. Of course, you may still find that one store in the state filled with 20 something idiots, but in my experience thus far, most True Value stores have great customer service, reasonably priced items, and nice staff who will stop and talk to you about ANYTHING for fifteen minutes if that's what you want.


MordechaiZoltan profile image

MordechaiZoltan 6 years ago

Just returned from Loews. I went to purchase a stud finder, and well I found one and attempted to purchase it. Turns out it had no price ticket and the overfed underachiever asked me to go find one that did. Well, armed with prior knowledge of this hub I declined that suggestion and insisted that he remove the remnants of the fried twinkie from his mouth and go get it himself. And that is why tomorrow morning, I am returning to Loews to purchase a stud finder.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Nikki, there is a True Value hardware where I live, it's about fifteen or so minutes further away (one way) so I keep going back to Lowe's. Plus, they are more expensive (I bought some plywood there once and it was a lot more expensive)... but, I guess this is where I have to decide what is more important to me. Clearly I can't have both good prices and good service. I need to stop being stubborn and thinking I can, but it vexes me that it has to be that way.

Mordechai: Did they throw you out for pointing porky in the direction of your stud-finder?


sunflowerbucky profile image

sunflowerbucky 6 years ago from Small Town, USA

Holy crap, "with my head up my consumer ass" cracked me up! I love this hub, and your sense of humor! At the Home Depot and Lowe's in my town, their number one rule of customer service is AVOID EYE CONTACT AT ALL COSTS. This was hilarious, although I have to say I'm shocked you didn't get more hate mail! I wrote a hub about the lack of customer service and had people who had NEVER commented on my work before sending me serious meanness. Now you need to write a hub on how you put the hole in the wall!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

"Now you need to write a hub on how you put a hole in the wall!"

Yeah, keep dreaming. I'm letting the "accept that I am a moron and move on" stand. :)


TheGlassSpider profile image

TheGlassSpider 6 years ago from On The Web

It's sort of like a modern-day No Exit in there, isn't it? I'm glad you made it back alive. Are you going to be okay? ;-)

I love this Hub!

Be well.

Spider


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I'm not sure if I will be okay. My therapist can't see me until next week. We shall see.

lol.

:)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Clearly one more testament to the need for American's to search, search, and search some more. Support local operations whenever possible, and if you don't know of one that exists off-hand, LOOK for one! Lest us truly all be doomed or damned or both. :)

Here we have Menard's as a 3rd large alternative, and they are pretty good. Still not the same service and knowledge I remember getting at an Ace or a True Value though.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Such a wonderful read. You somehow make the most boring tasks sound intereesting.

I am now ifficially jeallous :D


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Yeah, Springboard. That's the proof in the bitchy pudding. If I'm going to hate that experience, I have to go vote with my dollars and pay higher prices at the little stores. I think it's another losing vote like most of my political ones are, but, hrmph. Dunno on this one.

De Greek, Thank you, kind sir. I appreciate that. :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

More and more I think we have to vote with our wallets, and that includes voting American made products. Let's just hope we can get there. People have a lot of habits, and it's hard to break those. One big bad habit is saying "Oh well, what can one do?"

The answer is a lot. But we'll have to work at it, and sacrifice a little. But we can do a lot if we really want to and if we have the guts to try.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Congrats Shades, you are currently showing a 100 profile score!


SirDent 6 years ago

I feel for ya Shades, but I love Lowes myself. Of course building is what I know a lot about. Next time you need help come ask me.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Yeah, big "if" Springboard, but I hear you. I wonder if we will.

Hi Misty! Yeah, it hits 100 every once in a while. Never stays for more than a day or two tho. Not sure why it fluctuates so much, but, whatever. :)

Thanks, SirDent. I might take you up on that. And for what it's worth, I like Lowes as far as what they sell. It's cool to have that much crap in one place. Just hate being treated like crap too. Oh well. It is what it is.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

What a great hub about American people!! LOL Seriously it is hard to get help at Lowes and never try to purchase cabinets. It was serious then when we first ordered ours and the job got all botched up, but very funny now. Lowes is crazy. I think tha is why I go into Lowes to get something for the house and end up coming out with something for the garden instead. Lowes is my favorite store too.

Sir Dent is gret and I have asked him many questions about construction too. I just wish he lived near me!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi Lady Guinevere, nice to see you again. :) And, yes, this is a reflection on the American people, isn't it? That's why I started it out with the Idiocracy vids. That movie is NOT comedy. I can't believe it didn't do better than it did. I can only assume it's because it is already true so people felt that looking in the mirror was not entertaining enough to constitute a "hit" movie. :D


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

LOL So true. Maybe I should write a hub on our Lowes cabinets story although I don't think it will be a big hit either. Some of the people in this country think that we owe them something and are down right lazy. Now you got to think just how those are going to be like as adults--any age here.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Yeah, there's an entitlement attitude out there. I had another experience at WalMart not that long ago where I could tell the gal behind the counter was completely put out by having to get the ITEM I WANTED TO PURCHASE FROM THE STORE out of the glass cabinet. She ticked at me, a snarl on her face the whole time, kept trying to continue the conversation with the gal across the aisle working the other counter, and when I gave her my money she LITERALLY threw my change on the counter towards me from about two feet away. Obviously she feels that Walmart should just pay her for her awesomeness, and that delivering customer service or even just products to customers is beneath her dignity and not really an essential part of what she gets a check for. Maybe she thinks they should pay her more first, and then she'll consider giving good service.


philip carey 61 6 years ago

I have an idea for a new big-box superstore: ApatheticMart (notice the clever squeezing together of two words--too lazy to use the spacebar). 'Service Associates' in the store will all have round shoulders from shrugging when asked questions, and discarded plastic bags will litter the countryside for miles around. Ah, the American way!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Haha, for sure. That actually sounds like the store I invented in another hub "Just Pay Us Superstores." I think I was equally pissed back then. Wish I'd thought about the round shouldered thing - that would have been a nice touch.


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 6 years ago from australia

Wow you just wait til I go into Lowes again LMAO. Honestly how can some people work in retail, they really belong in funeral parlours or something similar.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hah, I know. But then, imagine them in a funeral parlor:

Dude at the front counter says in a bored, flat tone, "Hi, welcome to Gary's House of Death. Can I help you."

Me, "I've lost someone very dear. What do I do?"

Dude, "Uh, we can box him up or toast him. Toast is $899.99, Boxes start at $1400."

Me, blinking. "I... uh..."

Dude, "Boxes are over against the wall. Go find one you like." Looking behind me at the old woman walking through the door. "Next."

[sigh]


Crazdwriter 6 years ago

Dang Shades! So not cool! I am so sorry that you had to deal with that kind of stupidity. I hope you don't have to go through all of THAT again.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Well, Crazdwriter, on the upside, if I do go thru it again, I'll be able to write about it again. (I realized a few posts up that this is my second flame out about Lowe's, so, they're really serving to inspire me.)


LegendaryHero 6 years ago

Excellent stuff! I really like your writing style.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks! I really like your taste in writing style!


lxxy profile image

lxxy 6 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Welcome to the end result of grand capitalism at it's finest.

It's always discouraging to hear such shameful service by an employee who...well, is pretty much hired to be of use in the event a customer needs help.

Luckily, there's still a good number of smaller ma and pa stores here in Cali. And Ace Hardware is generally on the ball customer service wise.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Yeah, Ixxy, there are. Here in Sacramento, there's a place called Emigh Hardware that has really good service, like old school pre 1960 service. I wish they were closer.


myownworld profile image

myownworld 6 years ago from uk

I don't know about the customer service where you live (you obviously haven't lived in france you see: now that's another sophisticated level of surliness and inefficiency altogether!) but as I said before, I absolutely love the way you write. I wonder if you've ever read Jerome K Jerome? Your writing style so reminds me of his short stories... the same tongue in cheek humor and understated wit.

And yes, sorry about the whole experience, but I am so glad you decided to write about it! Hope the wall got fixed though.. :)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I haven't read Jerome K. Jerome, but I'm going to Google him here when I'm done and discover someone new. I love tongue-in-cheek, understated wit. I've never been to France either but it's been one of those semi-goals to maybe someday go live in Paris for a year or two. Maybe I will, and I'll get treated so poorly, especially bad for being a "fat American" 'cause I know they hate that, that I'll come home and be suddenly over-joyed to be sent to get my own price-checks at acres-wide super stores. :)


lightning john profile image

lightning john 6 years ago from Florida

Either you are really poor, or you just have a not so top shelf home, that you don't have a professional come do the repairs. Isn't there somthing else that you could be doing to better use of your time than experience this learning curve of poor service at Lowes, and then actually doing drywall finish work yourself! Like teaching a class or something.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I believe it was pennance. I won't go into details, but that's what motivated me I think. Looking back on that decision that, like you, it does stand out as an odd one though, I'll admit. I can say, however, that it was actually sort of fun from a writer's stand point. Sort of an adventure in home repair, a moment in the acts and skills of other men, men unlike me, physical beings for whom life can be built, can be shaped with strong hands and useful knowledge of practical things. It was fun, in a way.


lightning john profile image

lightning john 6 years ago from Florida

Im glad that in the end, you were able to turn a negative into a positive. And after all, these days it is hard to even find a repair person that you can trust in your home, let alone the fact they may do a messy job or even break something else while performing the task! I enjoyed reading of your experience. Sorry for your bad day at Lowes! I totally understand.


consultjtr 6 years ago

LOL it is funny I should come across this particular hub, since those Lowe's commercials make me laugh something terrible. I'm in that store once a week and I usually have to hunt down employees...then I sometimes have to wait for them to finish their cell phone conversations or their conversations with each other if they are in a group.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Ugh, doesn't that just irk the crap out of you? I was actually at a Burger King and the chick taking my order was ON HER PHONE while taking my order. I was getting these one-word things, like: "Drink?" and "That'it?" I was just, like.. wow. Cell phones are the snip pulling the thread out of our social fabric...but, alas, I risk a whole new rant. lol. Thanks for the comment. :)


must65gt profile image

must65gt 6 years ago

Great Hub, I have had the opposite experiences with Lowes and Home Depot. Home Depot made my remodel a nightmare and Lowes solved most of my problems. I will say that many of the stores have suffered a serious manpower cutback due to the recession, and that makes Customer Service personnel more difficult to find. Hope your Repair was a success....thanks for the smiles.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I Must65gt (nice car, btw). You may be right about the cutbacks but it seems like they should simply be reflecting the level of business. So, less customers means less personnel, which means the ratio of help to customer should not really change. (And the store was empty anyway) lol. Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy and want good service that no longer exists, but, like you said, you do get it sometimes. I think the bottom line is that the big mega-chains can't control consistency like a small shop with an actual owner who cares about that one location prowling the aisles making sure his people are doing what they get paid to do.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and am glad you got a grin or two out of my little rant. :)


Someone that Hates Customers 6 years ago

Can anyone actually say.... "I have never talked to anyone, about anything other then work.....at work". Until you understand that question..... Please stop making retail workers your slaves. I understand that when you walk into a store, you want someone to help you. But understand that they are not your personal shoppers. They are not there to do EVERYTHING that you want. They are there to help the customer. They do their job. Yes there are some that shouldn't be there and the other employees just to take up the slack. When you yell at a employee you just make them want to never help you again. Trust me...... we know when you come in if you are a regular shopper. If you just remember the old saying "Treat people how you would like to be treated" the world would be so much better.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I can feel the frustration of a retail employee dripping from your rant there, Someone that Hates Customers. You kind of remind me of my teenagers when they get mad... some logical disconnects going on. But I think we agree on some points anyway. Having spent 10 years in retail and another 15 in wholesale sales, I can totally and completely say I know exactly what it is like to deal with the public.

To address your concerns:

1) You are correct on the first part. Nobody can say they never talk about anything other than work at work. That would be a ridiculous claim. I'm sure we both agree on that.

2) I'm not sure how number 1 translates to "stop making retail workers your slaves." I can only assume that you got yelled at or disciplined by customer or manager for chatting with a co-worker (or worse on your phone) while a customer wanted some assistance. If this is the case, you deserve whatever you got and it's your attitude that sucks, and you are the problem my article refers to. However, if that is not the case, and you are complaining about customers treating you like a slave in general principle, I'm still not sure where the chatting comes in. You shouldn't be chatting with your co-workers at all if there are customers wanting assistance. Period. The slave part, I'm also not really following. If you mean making you work, going and fetching things for them, carrying things etc., that is not being treated like a slave. That is called "work." That's why you say, "I'm going to work," in the morning or whenever you leave. You see "work" requires effort and is typically not fun. Doing work is not the same as being a slave. Being a slave means you don't get to go home. You don't get paid. You might actually get beaten or raped on a daily basis. You are sold with no concern for your opinion or the fact you have family and friends that you will not see again. THAT is a general description of being a slave. Having to do stuff for customers while being paid, even if they have a bad attitude, does not constitute slavery. I constitutes having "a job." A situation millions in America wish they were in. Be grateful you have one.

3) Employees are not my personal shoppers. But it would be nice if they'd put down their cell phones or stop leaning against the stack of plywood watching their clock move towards quitting time and ask me if, on my sixth pass by, if there might be something they could help me find.

4) Who said anything about yelling at anyone? I'm with you on this. There is no reason why a customer should yell at an employee. If an employee deserves to be disciplined for being a rude, lazy, layabout, that conversation should be had politely with the manager, who can then discuss the sloth and worthlessness of the bad attitude employee with that employee privately in the office.

5) Yes, you do know the regular customers. But perhaps you don't realize that regular customers are made out of new customers who come in and are treated well and then decide to come back. That's a tip from an old timer, no charge. :)

6) I totally and completely agree with you about treating people as you would like to be treated. Hopefully you demand a high level of courtesy and motivated service from the businesses you patronize.


Mumzy 6 years ago

Well said.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks. :)


Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Shades: You are so entertaining; not only do I love to read your Hubs, but I am compelled to read each and every reply to comments and so I am taking forever to go through one of your Hubs!

The Lowe's experience is similar to what most of us experience in many retail outlets; so thanks for expressing the frustration in such an funny and entertaining way! Grrreat Hub!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi Scribenet, thanks for saying such a nice thing. You are clearly a fan of sarcasm. :) And I am so totally with you on the comments thing. I swear, some of the stuff people say is soooo funny, it's really rewarding to toss something up and get such colorful and entertaining remarks from people. There's some funny people that hang out at HP. (Some weird ones too, lol. But that's just as fun as the regular funny ones.)


Knigtrider70 5 years ago

Why didn't you just go to a local hardware store ????? The people here always ask if you need help. And usually know a thing or two about what your doing. AND WILL GLADLY HELP YOU. I never go to the home centers. NO ONE SHOULD


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

Well, that's definitely the take-away from that experience; I can't argue with you, Knigtrider70. Next time. :)


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

Hey Shades, it appears you had a wonderful time at Lowe's. I commend you on NOT ripping out his eyes and pissing on his brain. I mean, if you had, it might have jump started some of the brain cells that might be laying dormant. LOL! It isn't any fun anymore going shopping in almost any retailer, because customer service isn't a priority anymore, like it was back when these companies were much smaller. They hire just about anyone for almost any position. The funniest part of the whole experience with retailers is that, usually when people are promoted(like in the military), then they lose brain cells(marbles, if you would like) the higher they go. With your experience, the nitwit you had to deal with at checkout, should give you an idea that him might actually be brain-dead enough to run the company! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! Awesome hub! As always, packed full of laughter from the beginning to the end.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

Yeah, Cags, you're probably right. I today's world, that guy is probably a top customer service icon and will be, at the very least, a trainer soon, spreading his genius customer service grasp to the incoming swarm of roaches, teaching them the fastest way to dodge the light of some poor customer's help-seeking gaze. lol


Jason 5 years ago

Shadesbreath...Really?

Allow me to sum up in one paragraph what seems to have been a book for you.

I dumbass. I put hole in wall. I youtube. Hole patch kit, Putty. Lowes.

You go into Lowes expecting good customer service, me too. They walked right by you because you were too chickenshit to grab that high school kid by the scruff of the neck and say where's the fucking putty. But yet your brave enough to spend an hour bitching behind your PC about a 30 second segment of your life. If we continue to accept poor service, that is what we'll receive. So what do I do? You tell that associate it is not ok to just walk by and not acknowledge you. Forget the managers, they could care less because your still going to spend the money. By not speaking up, you are the roach hiding from the light. I've got much to say about this, but have already wasted 4 minutes of my life here.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

Hi Jason. Perhaps you are right. Or, perhaps you just don't appreciate the essence of exaggeration for the point of point making. That said, I do agree with you that, as consumers, we get what we deserve in not demanding good service. I'm sure had I summoned up my inner barbarian and grabbed the lad and shaken him, and demanded that he go get the putty for me, he would have gone and gotten it for me. However, doing so would not have fixed the problem at Lowes. This article, however, showing up as it does in search engines quite nicely, floats to the attention of the corporate heads (and trust me, they see this kind of thing, and this one in particular even. You found it; so do they). It's the old "pen is mightier than the sword" idea. You grab neck scruffs, I'll write. Maybe between us we can get service back into American business.


AnonymousOne 4 years ago

I just got a customer service job at lowes and I intend to reverse this issue. This sounds like a very horrible experience and I am not scared to ask someone if they need help. I am surprised he had this happen because lowes has the long interviews and a very long 85 question test about pretty personal stuff. It was like nothing I have experienced before.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 4 years ago from California Author

Well, I'm sure your customers will appreciate the service, AnonymousOne. Let's hope you can keep it up in the face of working day after day with a public that has some pretty ugly elements in it. And this assumes management is supportive and not dictatorial and focused on spreadsheets and margins all the time. I wish you luck. You seem to have the right attitude.

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