San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor Did the San Carlos Home Depot finally get the message? | The White Oaks Blog

Did the San Carlos Home Depot finally get the message?

by Chuck Gillooley

I hate shopping at the San Carlos Home Depot.

There — I said it. (I feel better already.)

And from what I gather from talking to others, I’m sure I echo their sentiment as well.  Don’t get me wrong — I am a huge fan of having a “big-box” home improvement store in San Carlos.  One of the things that gives San Carlos so much charm is that its residents generally take meticulous care of their yards,   so landing a Home Depot in San Carlos is a real coup for this town.  So why do I dread going to this particular store?

Customer (Dis)Service…

Having lived in San Carlos for nearly 20 years, we’ve spent quite a few weekends (and paychecks) at the local Home Depot.    But going to this store has never been a pleasant shopping experience.  The one exception? The paint department does a phenomenal job with the Glidden Team Colors line.  Granted, I admit that I’m an impatient shopper (make a list, get in, get out = happy shopper.)   But as sure as the sun will rise, one of the following will likely happen when you shop at this store:

  1. They won’t have what you’re looking for.
  2. If you need help finding something, good luck getting help.  Finding someone in an orange bib is as likely as finding a 6.5″ roof vent cap (I struck out on both counts last time.)
  3. If you do find what you came for, you’ll be in line for a long time to pay for it .. and don’t get me started on items without price tags.

What perplexes me is that I haven’t had this experience at other HD’s.  At the Home Depot in Roseville, they actually have a greeter at the door who will point out which aisle your item located, and the store is well staffed with helpful people — this might have something to do with the fact that there’s a Loews just a few blocks away.  But even the locations in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara are generally better stocked and staffed.

Has something changed?

Yes.  Despite how it may appear, the purpose of this post isn’t to bash Home Depot.  On the contrary, I’m congratulating them….because it’s very evident that they are making big changes.   The past two times that I (reluctantly) went into the store, it was VERY apparent that the store has increased their staffing significantly.  I saw more orange bibs in one visit than I have saw in an entire year of shopping, and there were more registers open.

But what’s more important is the mindset of the store.  If I had to guess, I’d say there has been a whole bunch of customer service coaching going on behind closed doors, because employees now really seem to go out of there way to help you find what you’re looking for.   (Before, you almost felt like a panhandler when you approached someone in the store.)    I am absolutely thrilled to see this change.

They still need to get their arms around their inventory problems, but after years of getting bashed on sites like Yelp, Home Depot is finally making some welcome and necessary changes, and for that I applaud them.

They clearly got the message.

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Comments 7
  • Wow, Chuck, that IS good news. But it’s bad news for Orchard Supply Hardware in Redwood City. I’ve been driving to OSH from San Carlos for years rather than go to HD because of OSH’s superior customer service. I believe I actually spend less time–even including driving time–finding what I want because the OSH staff are so helpful. And I leave OSH happy, not frustrated. But I’ll give HD a try again. I applaud this change as well.

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    • Brian,

      I’m with you — If I’m remotely close to an Orchard Supply, whether it’s the one by Costco in Redwood City, or the San Mateo store, I’ll go there instead. The customer service there is totally different. But regardless of where anyone shops, it’s important for all of us that a company that has such a huge presence in San Carlos gets its act together. I’d prefer not to have to drive all the way to RWC to get a light bulb or a sprinkler head, and more importantly, I’d like to keep my sales tax dollars in San Carlos (as much as possible.) But I also won’t patronize a business that has a blatant disregard for customer service. I really hope this is the beginning of something new at HD.

      They only need to look down the street at Trader Joe’s to see what happens when it’s done right. TJ’s not only has a huge draw from San Carlos, but they also get lots of shoppers from surrounding communities, and that’s nothing but good for San Carlos.

      Thanks for your comment!

      CG

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  • I hear you about HD. I’m generally self-sufficient, so customer service isn’t a big deal, but the inventory management problem is. Amazing how often the item I need most is out of stock. OSH is a great alternative, especially when I need some help/advice. And too bad our “local” White Oaks hardware store suffers from customer service standards below even HD’s…..I don’t know how he stays in business.

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  • I usually stop in White Oaks Hardware for straight hardware or tool needs. He usually has what I’m looking for, I can be in and out in minutes, and he sometimes talks me out of buying something after figuring out it won’t do what I want. Granted, the store is small and the inventory can be lacking at times, but there is a surprising amount of stuff in that small shop. Prices are often better than at HD.

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  • I agree with Bruce. Unless it’s a big-ticket item I’m looking for, I almost always stop by the White Oaks Hardware store on Laurel first. For most basics and even the occasional odd-ball item, they’ve got it, and at an agreeable price. You’ve got a knowledgeable owner, and no waiting in line. Highly recommend as a first stop before facing the (at least previously) dreaded HD. I hope the improvements Chuck observed are sustained (sometimes a company does a big customer service push, then it gets laid by the wayside), because Home Depot frequently is a go-to place, but the pain from previous experiences has always soured me too.

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    • Keith,

      I need to check out White Oaks Hardware. Perhaps they will be my next “Downtown Business Spotlight”?

      Thanks,

      Chuck

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      • My family loves patronizing local businesses and we have gone to White Oak Hardware quite often, but the owner is so mean and grumpy down right rude that we avoid it now at all costs. Makes me sad every time I drive by, he could have a great thing going there.

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