Why I Hate Home Improvement Stores

Today, I had to go to a home improvement store. I pondered, I brainstormed and I procrastinated. But it was inevitable; there was no way out and I had to go. Now, let me state unequivocally that I despise home improvement stores. I know this makes me un-American, as Home Depot and Lowe’s are two of our nation’s biggest success stories. But truth be told, I’d rather go to the dentist then spend time in one of those airport hangers masquerading as a home improvement store.

Why do I hate home improvement stores? Let me count the ways.

First off, I hate home improvement stores because they are nothing but rows upon rows of reminders of all of the things that I don’t know how to do. As a man, I’m supposed to know how to fix a leaky sink, or put up drywall or make a tree house. And I can’t do any of those things. Part of me wishes that I did but basically I have accepted my limitations. Still, it doesn’t mean I want to have my own incompetence in this area thrown in my face. Yet that’s the overwhelming feeling I get whenever I enter the five acre compounds of these home improvement stores.

Second, if you find yourself at a home improvement store, it inevitably means that you encountered a problem with your house or yard that demands immediate attention. Some people enjoy fixing up their house or fiddling around in the yard. That’s great and if you’re one of those people, well more power to you. But it’s not what I want to do with my time. And let’s face it, if you go to a home improvement store, you definitely are looking at a project that’s going to require a lot of time, energy, patience and money.

And to make matters worse, more often than not when you find yourself in the middle of a project, you end up making multiple trips to the home improvement store. As if it’s not frustrating enough to be involved in a project, not having the right tool or enough of the correct materials means one thing and one thing only, it’s back to the local Lowe’s or Home Depot.

But I think the biggest reason I hate home improvement stores is because of their commercials. As a sports fan, I’m subjected to a never ending supply of Lowe’s and Home Depot commercials. At first they were a refreshing change from the beer and razor blade commercials but now I hate them with a passion.

I know full well that it’s a commercial and its whole purpose is to sell me something but I wish I could sue them for false advertising. Everybody in these commercials for home improvement stores looks like they’re having a great time! There’s no place they’d rather be and nothing they would rather be doing. And the people working in the stores are all young, attractive, knowledgeable and eager to help.

It used to be that beer commercials set the standard for unrealistic commercials. But the ads for home improvement stores take the cake. At least I’ve seen pretty girls in bikinis drink beer. I have yet to see a young, attractive, knowledgeable, eager salesperson (of either gender) in a home improvement store.

The people working the floor at home improvement stores are too busy stocking and doing whatever else they have to do to be helpful to customers. They seem to be especially grumpy, no matter what time of day you come in. The people working the stores are even less pleasant than grocery stock boys working the graveyard shift at a 24-hour store who are pissed off that anybody is shopping in the middle of the night when they’re trying to get stuff done.

Look, I understand that if you have a bunch of chores you need to do before you go home that the last thing you want to do is deal with a stupid customer. But at least help the customer, send him on his way and then complain about what an idiot he was.

Most people enjoy when others look to them for advice on a subject. But that’s never been my experience at a home improvement store. Questions for help are met with grunts. I’ve got better odds of drawing to an inside straight on the river than engaging in a productive conversation with a salesperson. And I’ve seen more smiles from people working in fish markets than I do from the people who work the paint section in a home improvement store. That is, you know, if they were actually in their section and I didn’t have to wait 20 minutes for them to stroll to their work area.

Even the checkout people at home improvement stores have a chip on their shoulder. If I had to use one word to describe them it would be – surly. Look, I know that most often this is where they start you out when you become an employee at a home improvement store. It’s your goal to be out on the floor where you can actively ignore customers or disappear (like the paint guys) for long stretches at a time. But c’mon all you have to do is ring up my order, take my money and say bye. Cashiers at Burger King can be civil, why can’t they at home improvement stores?

The tagline for Lowe’s in its advertising campaign is “Improving Home Improvement”. If this is an improvement, I shudder to think what it was like before the advent of these nefarious home improvement stores.

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