Home Depot Sux

I don’t really think Home Depot sucks. I have no problem with them at all, but last night, I was shopping in a Home Depot store when I encountered their self-checkout for the first time. I left pissed with a head-ache.

Note: I have successfully self-checked out at other stores with no problem.

The problem was that their self-checkout not only didn’t work well but also had a severe attitude. That’s right. They managed to record friendly messages onto the checkout kiosk with the added realistic touch of pissiness.

The premise was simple. Customers scan their items and then place them in the “Bagging Area.” The problem arises when you consider the type of items you may be buying from Home Depot (I had a shovel for example) and the size of the bagging area, about 2 feet by 2 feet. A shovel or a microwave or even wrapping paper doesn’t exactly fit in that area. Plus, if you buy more that one of two items, the area fills up pretty fast. They did have an area for over-sized items but it wasn’t much bigger and certainly didn’t help.

When you moved items after scanning them outside the special “Bagging Area”, the machine became quite rude. The kiosk started off politely stating, “An items has left the bagging area.” That didn’t last long before it demanded in a snippy tone, “Please return the item to the bagging area,” over and over again, usually even after you returned the item to the bagging area. To make matters worse, sometimes the whole bag full of wrapping paper would fall off the area, and you were left wondering which move will most quickly restore the machine to a normal mode.

I did the only thing that felt natural. I kicked the machine everytime it used that tone. My reasoning was that at the very least someone would come over and check us out for us. They didn’t, but everytime I kicked it, the machine returned to normal. It turns out there was a cashier remotely reseting the machine. We did eventually check out all by ourselves, but it was a horrible expereince and took forever.

Here’s some free Quality Assurance advice for Home Depot. If your self-checkout kiosk makes the customer want to kick it, you have a problem.

I’m not the only one who feels this way either:

  • .Net Hobbyist Programmer had the follwoing to say:
    Actually, it was an implementation of technology that just got me extremely irate. I was so upset that I just left my purchases there and went over to the nearby Lowe’s …

  • Jim Carson has a similar problem:
    I’ve gone through this register abyss enough times that I just immediately go ballistic until someone opens another register or manually rings up whatever it is I’m trying to get through.

    The store employees know the self-serve registers are a problem. I’ve also called the Home Depot corporate headquarters in Atlanta. The customer relations person did the deer in headlights routine, but when pressed, conceded the system was still new.

    Home Depot is very conveniently located to my house, but because of the difficulty in paying for things, I’ve been channeling more of my home improvement business at Lowe’s.

Too bad, Home Depot executives don’t get how horrible these systems are. I found a slew of articles praising them for increased customer satifsfaction and sales.

  • According to Baseline:
    The retailer is attributing at least some of its recent gains to self-checkout systems, which now reside in 1,029 stores.

  • Motley Fool tells a similar story:
    To improve efficiency, Home Depot installed self-checkout stations in 760 of its 1,643 stores by the end of the quarter. As a result, customer transactions grew 9.4% to 313 million, with more than 40 million of those transactions done through self-checkout. At the same time, the average ticket grew 4.9% to $52.10 — the highest in history.

I find it hard to believe that anyone could like these self-checkout kiosks. They suck.

8 Responses to “Home Depot Sux”

  1. Albie Says:

    Dude, I use these self-checkouts at least once-twice a week and have never had any kind of problem. In my opinion they are one of the greatest inventions of the 21st Century, and super-convenient when you need building materials in a hurry. They have increased my love for the HD 10-fold!

  2. Insane Robot Says:

    I agree with Albie. I have never had a problem with a self-checkout. But, then again, I have never used one to buy a refridgerator at Home Depot.

  3. Nicholas Roussos Says:

    In hindsight, I should not have attempted to use the self-checkout with the assortment of items I was getting, but the problem was that they didn’t have any regular checkout lanes open. There really wasn’t much of a choice.

    We were supposed to be helping Cindy’s mom find a Christmas tree. Luckily, we didn’t find one, but I’m sure we could never have gotten it through the self-checkout.

    What if you buy lumber?

  4. Albie Says:

    When we buy lumber we get to use the checkout “that consumers aren’t supposed to see”.

  5. Kara Says:

    I hope this isnt the wave of the future. Can you imagine an elderly, mentally handicapped person or even a person in a wheelchair dealing with this?

  6. Albie Says:

    Well you made me feel bad… the other day a blind old man in a wheelchair was reaching for the self checkout and I quietly went around him and skipped him.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I work for home depot as a line manager and you are not the first to kick yell or beat the machine…. The entire space is a scale and anytime weight is shifted even if you stand too close it sets off the unexpected item in bagging area… your best bet if you have issues with the machine is to ask the cashier to ring everything up for you if there is lines on the regular registers… They should be more than happy to issist if not fill out the survey at the end of your receipt and complain about the cashier using their ais number… They will get in trouble for not being helpful… :)

  8. I'd like to tell you but can't Says:

    I have never seen a retailer penalized the family members for shopping in a store. Every time I shop at The Home Depot they are watching me like a hawk to see if I am going to steal something. I have never stolen anything, ever. We went through hurricane Ike and need to repair and rebuild our home. I have plenty of money and haven’t seen one single thing on this planet that is worth me stealing to spend any time in jail. I have spent around 4K there so far and it will be the last. I still have about 20K in material to buy to finish my home but it won’t be coming from the home depot. I don’t recommend any one else spending money there either. This is a new experience for me. I have never been treated like a criminal before. Got to be the stupidest retailer ever. I hate to see any company go belly up. There are so many innocent victims that lose their jobs. But I hope all employees of this company get their resumes’ in order. They are all going to need jobs soon. The Home Depot won’t last very long at all if they keep running off potential customers like myself. You know how the old saying goes, Crap flows downhill. This is obviously a corporate decision, which will ultimately be in the favor of Lowe’s.

Leave a Reply