Take a look at this picture. What's this Home Depot shopper doing?

Let's make this multiple choice:hdcustomer

  1. She's carefully reading the instructions on the side of a box to make sure that she has the skill and tools needed to install/use the merchandise.
  2. She's comparing the features of two different brands to see which most closely meets her requirements.
  3. She's stealing two of the "interlocking double-helix side vernacular screws" because you can't buy them individually and the box she has at home was missing them.

Of course you know that the answer is 3. She'll steal those two screws and then the next customer will have to come back to steal two, until eventually someone gets fed up and just returns the incomplete merchandise. That's when logic takes over because a Home Depot employee gets involved. Unlike a stupid customer, the HD employee won't just put the incomplete box back on the shelf for the next unsuspecting purchaser. No, the HD employees are much more sophisticated. They'll carefully take inventory of the box (this is accomplished by scanning the barcode with lasers), then they'll close the box, put tape on the box, and ONLY THEN will they put the incomplete box back on the shelf for the next unsuspecting purchaser.

hdproThis is why people don't treat HD like a store. People treat the Depot like a potential store. Any of the things inside might potentially be merchandise, but one must not assume. It's common to walk through Home Depot and see someone picking through an entire shelf of potential merchandise looking for one item good enough to buy. People camp out near the bundles of 2x4's, waiting for an employee to cut the steel straps so they can pick through 1024 boards to find one that's straight. It won't be straight by the time they get it home, but the dream of a straight 2x4 is enough for some.

Walk into a Home Depot and it's like you're auditioning everything there to see if it will be purchasable. That's okay though, at the same time Home Depot is auditioning you to see if you're good enough to be a customer. They have signs on all the best parking lots designating them for "Pro Customer Parking." What are they going to do if any old schmoe parks there? Arrest them? Tow? I figure I'm a "Pro" just because I've figured out shopping there is generally a bad idea. 

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