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Tag Archives: shopping

Retail Re-tales

29 Nov

November 29, 2018

With Black Friday behind us, I certainly hope you all got your, um, whatever the big thing is this year. As far as I can tell, there is no big hot toy or must have item this season. And that’s a real shame. I’m old enough to remember when people were stabbing each other in the backs to get a Cabbage Patch doll or Colecovision. Shopping today just isn’t the same without the threat of premeditated homicide in the checkout line.

But I am old enough to remember back in the 90’s when the retail industry got together and tried to change the image of Black Friday.

For some reason, probably the threat of premeditated homicide I mentioned above, the Big Retail Companies™ felt that Black Friday had a negative connotation. Long lines, crowds, sold out items, murder, etc, so they tried to change the name. Now back then retail was a different beast than we have now. People weren’t shopping online like today, and the stores were different too. People bought clothes at places like Chess King and Merry-Go-Round and shopped in huge department stores like Bamberger’s and Korvette’s. Where are these titans of industry today? Long gone and buried. And it’s no surprise given that these are the folks who tried to change the name of Black Friday to Green Friday.

BAM!-Berger’s!

Yup, Green Friday.

Today that sounds like an environmental message: Go Green This Friday With Recycled Shoelaces! Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Flying Pantsless This Friday! and yes, it sounded that way back in the 90’s too. But they weren’t thinking of green grass, but of green money. All the green green cash that would be flooding their registers. So to stop people from thinking about long lines and stab wounds, they tried to get people to associate the day after Thanksgiving with Green Friday.

And you know what?

Nobody gave a damn.

And that is why we still call it Black Friday today.

Ah, tradition.

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Home Depot, You Let Me Down

6 Oct

October 11, 2018

I think my love affair with Home Depot is coming to an end.

There’s really no better place to go and browse. They have power tools! Hand tools! Huge crowbars, giant sledgehammers, and stuff to slice off your fingers if you aren’t careful. I’m a tool guy. (No, I’m not a tool, guy. I’m a tool guy. Let that be your lesson in the importance of the mighty comma.) I can shop there for days and buy all kinds of stuff and maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a use for some of it. I’m the type of guy who will walk in for a tube of caulk and walk out with a reciprocating saw and three or four new hammers just because, you know, I can’t resist them. My buyer’s resistance drops perilously low at Home Depot. I admit that I’ve never bought an arc welder or a blowtorch but I was thisclose more than once.

This will be me one day!

But this time was different.

I was there for some Venetian blinds. The wife and I are in a new apartment and though I put up curtains months ago I’ve been slow with the blinds. So it is either curtains shut and no light at all or curtains open and the neighbor across the driveway can see straight into my kitchen. And she has both curtains and blinds yet closes neither. I’m pretty sure she wants us to see in because (NOTE TO MY WIFE: Stop reading here. Um, to be on the safe side, maybe I should stop writing here instead and move on.)

See? You get the point and I didn’t type a single word.
NOTE TO MY WIFE: This is a perfectly innocent Seinfeld clip that has absolutely no relevance to this post. Yeah.

Normally I’d have jumped at the chance to put up blinds. I could use my tools! Charge up my power drill! Get out my work gloves with the magnetic patches to hold the screws! And… and… that’s it really. Maybe a screwdriver and that’s no fun. You see. not only are blinds just too simple to put up to get excited over, but I’ve done so many of them over the years it’s actually gotten boring. Give me a job like re-roofing a garage, or building a chimney anytime. OK, I’d probably call a professional, but at least I could stand around and stare at the hacksaws and miters. That’s man stuff right there.

But putting up blinds gave me one thing that got me grooving: I had to buy the blinds. Not exciting? I’m going to buy them at Home Depot!

So last weekend the wife and I went to my little slice of Heaven. I know the place week, know the layout. I fist-bumped the greeter at the door (confusing him to no end since he never saw me before and walked no, strutted into the store like George Jefferson.

I boogied past the  ceramic tiles and moonwalked through the garden hoses. And then I got to the aisle with the blinds and stopped dead in my rhythmic tracks. It was almost empty. Sure, they had the really expensive motorized blinds, and the really cheap paper stuff that you stick on with an adhesive until it either falls off or catches fire from a candle or even the sun, but the normal stuff? Nope.

Or to be precise, yep, but not in my size. I’m used to that while pants shopping (they don’t call me Mr. Big Pants for nothing) but Venetian blinds? Seemed like they had plenty of every size but the one I wanted. (Or the eight I wanted, to be exact.) I needed a simple 31 width. No biggie.

I looked at every box, every single stinking box in the blinds aisle. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I eventually did what no man wants to do, especially in front of  his wife. I am ashamed to be writing this, and embarrassed to admit this, but I… I…

…asked for help from an employee.

He was walking past and wearing an orange apron so he was either a Home Depot worker or a Halloween chef. I told him the problem and started to bring him to the aisle but he took out his phone and opened the app to find where in the store they have the blinds. And it only took him 6 minutes to discover they were where I was going to bring him 6 minutes ago. Thank you technology!

He went to the aisle and again got on the app. I could see his phone so no, he was not on Tinder or Instagram or playing Red Dead Redemption, he was actually doing something relevant. He poked his phone for awhile then walked away. Simply walked away and never came back, just rode off into the sunset.

This metaphor works because the sunset is Home Depot orange. See the thought I put into this?

Soon another guy in an orange apron came over. Picture a guy who you’e never expect to see at Home Depot but would look right at home on the internet debating if Kirk could beat up Picard, and this was the next employee to help me. I explained to him that someone else was helping us.

“Did he look up the numbers?”
“Um, he bent down and read the label on the shelf, and looked at this phone for a long time.”
“But did he look up the numbers?”
“I don’t know… he read the labels……. um……”
“But did he look up the numbers?”

This guy asked me that over and over and over and I still have no idea what he meant. But eventually he got to work. What did he do? bent down and red the label on the shelf, then looked at this phone for a long time. Then he simply walked away.

Again!

I fully expected this to be a practical joke and soon I’d be all over the internet as “man who can’t get blinds” but no, this was real. I was not about to leave without the Venetian blinds, regardless of whether or not they existed. I was going to take them off some guy’s windows in the building next door if I had to. But as I was looking for a manager to yell at, the second guy came back, pulling a ladder. That had to mean that he knew where to get the blinds, right?

Wrong. He pulled the ladder into the middle of the sales floor, nowhere near the blinds section, and walked away. This had to be a joke, right? What the heck was he doing?????

I never did find out the point of the ladder but he did come back, with no blinds and no clue about where to find them. But he was determined! After complaining about “the girls” who work in this section and how “those girls” never tidy it up, and how “those girls” never stock anything, and how “girls really don’t get it” he asked me to give him a few more minutes. I looked over at my wife who, God bless her, had not rammed anything down this guy’s throat, and looked back at the guy.

“No.”

He stammered a little and then I cut him off, said we were going, and hoped that the next store we went to had the blinds, or at least employees who know what they are doing.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did not walk out empty-handed. I bought a flashlight and some sandpaper. (I have nothing to sand but it was the very fine grade so I had to have it.) The cashier was kind enough to look up from her phone for a few seconds to ring us up. I got a look at the Instagram page she was on and let’s just say the “the girls” she was looking at would have given the last guy a heart attack.

I have never left Home Depot so let down.

 

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