Matt Donahue

Monday, December 19, 2005

Fat Protection

After about a 1.5(?) month hiatus, I did my typical long commute into work today. This takes me up along Oregon Ave, along the fringe of Rock Creek Park, to the Capitol Crescent Trail, just south of the Mormon Temple. Holiday parties and the short rides into work have definitely knocked me off my game. The climbs along Oregon Ave hurt way more than they should have.

Of course I was pushing hard, stupid, but that is what I do when I feel slow. At the top of one hill I felt a little nauseous, spit some goopy cold-weather-spit but continued spinning. Visions of cheese wheels, shrimp cocktail, mini quiches, beer, wine and other holiday party goodies flashed through my head. A section of the ride that used to take me around 4.5 minutes during the race season took far longer (not saying how long). They're all related, slower times and reckless holiday face-filling, oh, and not riding could be a factor too.

Turning onto the CCT I was greeted with some serious sheets of ice. Vast sections of the trail were glaciated (ok it's not Alaska, but I was surprised and will embellish a little). Luckily I was on the 'cross bike. After cleaning several sections, my confidence grew. I didn't increase speed so much as kept my head up and didn't tense up as much. BAM. I ate it hard just before the tunnel going into Bethesda. I landed right on my ass and bounced the back of my head on the ice. Strangely I was fine. My ass didn't even hurt. There is something to be said for holiday parties creating a bit more cusion on the old back side.

The CCT, while sort of a mundane commute, had transformed into a fairly technical ride. There was a lot of ice out there; maybe I'm a wuss but fine. It was icy. I enjoyed the ride in; it has been a long time since I've crashed on the commute to work due to trail conditions.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Positive Turn for the HD Saga

Got a real live response from the HD people today. Did I get bought off? Will something be done? Who knows. But I think the gesture is helpful, and if they have someone there answering these emails then it's likely that something happens. The corporate feedback measurement machine puts another checkmark next to the NE DC Home Depot location stating that more training is need for management or some such thing.

I'll be fair and post their response:

Thank you for your email note of December 4, 2005. Your concerns are of
the utmost importance.

We appreciate receiving feedback from our customers and want to thank you for taking the time to forward your concerns regarding checkout availability at the N E Washington DC Home Depot store. We apologize for not meeting your expectations.

Our goal is to provide every customer with an exceptional experience every time they come into our stores. Please know that the feedback you have provided will be taken very seriously and will be used in the overall evaluation of the services provided by the N E Washington DC Home Depot store.

In an effort to restore your faith in The Home Depot, we would like to offer you a $10.00 gift card. Could you please respond with your physical mailing address to which UPS can deliver.

If you would like to speak with a Customer Care professional, please call us at 1-800-553-3199 (U.S.) or 1-800-668-2266 (Canada). We would be happy to assist you.

Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention.

In any event I'll use the $10 card. Was my wasted 45 minutes and frustration worth that? plus time spent providing feedback? Maybe not, but they also could have done nothing. In the end payment was not what I was after anyway, rather the hope that the situation doesn't happen again.

Monday, December 05, 2005

HD Response

So in response- the Home Depot Customer Care server sent this kind message to me.


Thank you for your feedback- listening to our customers is very important to us. The Home Depot strives to offer all of its customers the most pleasant shopping experience available. Home Depot's Customer Care Department has received your information and a record of your feedback will be created and utilized in the overall evaluation of our store's performance and company policies.

If further action on our part is needed, a Customer Care Professional, or a member of our Home Depot store's management will be in contact with you.

If you would like to speak with a Customer Care associate directly, please call 1-800-553-3199, 8:00am-8:00pm; Monday-Friday EST. Again, thank you for providing us with your comments.


Home Depot
Customer Care Department

So nice that they thanked me for my feedback. My shopping experience was less than pleasant. Further action needed? That's funny... Maybe I need to call?

I'm curious to know if anyone will in fact read my message from last night, or if I'll get a real response from a live person.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Anger at DC Home Depot

I don't usually get angry about bad customer service. I find that DC often has fairly poor customer service, particularly in the retail areas. But tonight I had a particularly bad experience at Home Depot.

Here is my letter to their customer service department explaining what went on:

Dear Home Depot Customer Care:

I am a frequent customer at your Washington DC store. As a recent buyer of a fixer upper in DC the proximity of your location and large volume of merchandise is a valuable service to have in the city. In the past year I would estimate that I've spent around $5,000.00 on merchandise from your store.

Tonight at 4:45 PM I went over to pick up some 1"x2" pine stock to finish off a shelf I am installing in a closet. After quickly finding the stock in less than 3 minutes, I walked to the front of the store. There were at least 50-60 people in line with two registers open- one being the self-service register. 3 registers were in the process of closing down. Several managers appeared to be involved(?) with this process. It was unclear what was going on, but there was a lot of socializing, talking on the phone and general ambivalence toward the growing crowd of frustrated customers. I counted two people abandon their shopping carts and leave. I continued to wait in line for 15 minutes. Two of the registers had finished closing, the third somehow decided to take more customers. I joined that line, as I was near by. That cashier then decided that she wasn't going to take everyone who joined the line. Was it now time for me to go to the end of the previous line I was in? I don't think so. I abandoned the wood I had picked up and left the store.

Why were the managers not stepping in and taking over? Why were 3 of the 5 registers closing, at 4:50 PM when the store closes at 6:00PM and it was overly clear that two registers are not enough? Why did the cashier whose line I joined tell me that she was not taking my purchase? Yes I had a small purchase and yes I can come back tomorrow night, but this was a major waste of time and showed that this HD location is not well managed.

Formerly a regular customer,

Matt Donahue

Unfortunately for me, it will be very difficult to NOT go to Home Depot in the future. It's about ten minutes from my house. The nearest Lowes is 35 minutes or more depending on traffic. So this location is very convenient and has been a great help in speeding up projects. I would love to shop exclusively at small hardware stores in the city, but they frequently do not have what HD has.

I wonder why their customer service and management are so bad? Are people so under-paid that no one cares? The store is regularly a shambles; even the employees have difficulty finding items despite their system saying they are in stock. I don't think I "deserve" outstanding service all of the time, and I have been patient in the past, but tonight’s service was just egregious.

If you can, go to Lowes.