I've blogged about the 'joys' of shopping at Home Depot and the like before. To their credit, I actually encountered a friendly, helpful person, who came into the next department to show me where to find something (a faucet for a laundry sink, for my friend Cindy's mom's house; I've been working there the last several days to replace the burst water heater, repair leaky faucets and toilets, fix the new back door that was a replacement for the one kicked in by a SWAT team, etc.) A nice woman in the appliance department at the Oakland Home Depot asked me if I needed any assistance, and I asked about the laundry faucet. She not only told me approximately where to find them amongst the zillions of kitchen and bath faucets, but walked over with me to help find them. All too often questions are met with a surly "that's not my department", so this was a very refreshing change. Of course, since Home Depot's departing CEO got a $210 million severance package, I imagine I'd be a little surly if I were an underpaid, undertrained employee there, too. $210 million for not doing your job? That's the kind of job I want to get fired from.
Anyways, at a different home improvement store yesterday I bought a 10' piece of copper pipe to finish up the aforementioned water heater install. The sticker with the barcode was damaged, so the cashier had to go look at the display to get the price. She came back and quoted what I think was the right price (for copper pipe these days, a 10' section of 1/2" pipe is hecka expensive, whether for type L or the slightly thinner type M). Then said such-and-such per foot (which would be a higher total for 10 feet than what she'd just quoted). She rang things up, and Katarina noticed the grand total and said, "that doesn't seem like enough" (for either amount the cashier quoted), and the woman said "well, if you want me to charge you more...". She was in a hurry (more customers in line behind us), and seemed nervous and kind of jittery, so we left it at that. Later I looked more carefully at the receipt, I think she charged the higher price per foot, but for only one foot of it. I'll be passing the savings along to Cindy's mom, because the difference isn't worth a separate trip back to the other store.
If Home Depot, et al, would spend a little of the absurd amounts paid to execs and spread it around in more more training and more pay for their employees, they'd doubtless have better employee retention, not to mention happier employees and happier customers. I just ask for the opportunity to try this plan once, then whether it works or not, it's OK to fire me, with say, 20% of the former CEO's severance package.