Okay... (can you feel the beginnings of a rant coming on?)
We are re-doing our front deck. Nothing fancy, nothing special, just tearing out the old, crumbling, water-damaged wood and replacing it with composite decking (see my earlier post on choosing the right kind of eco-friendly deck materials).
Since my dad is a contractor, we decided to keep the labor in the family and just by the cheapest, best composite we could, rebuild the exact same size so we wouldn't have to tear out the tree in front or do any extra grounds work, and go to the place we thought would have what we wanted, when we wanted it for less, we buckled the little one into his car seat and headed over to Home Depot.
It's important to note that I realize Home Depot is not "local". And I'm not making any excuses for the purchases that I make that aren't. Living where we do, it isn't always feasible to buy local. We have so few stores for certain items (especially affordable clothing, toys and kitchen/household materials - you know, all the things people between the ages of 25 and 40 need). Grrr...sometimes I really hate living in a town that is quickly becoming a bedroom community!
Anyhow, I just assumed (and yes, I know what assuming does) that the local places would just be too expensive for this particular purchase. And since we weren't just out to buy a toaster or a pair of tennis shoes, I didn't think we could justify spending hundreds extra just to keep our business in town.
Once we got to Home Depot and smooshed our son into a cart, we headed off to "building materials". They had only one color choice in the brand suggested by my dad. I liked the color of the Trex better, but it was several dollars per board more expensive. So, we headed back to the front of the store to inquire about color options and ordering at the customer service desk.
The ladies at the desk told us they didn't know much about it, and that the building department folks (the experts) were only at the store M-F from 8-5.
Okay...Stop. This is where my mood started to turn. Seriously?!?! It's Home Depot for crissakes! The "do it yourself" home improvement store. When are most "do-it-yourself-ers" doing it themselves? Saturday and Sunday, right!?
So, we headed back across the store to the contractors' desk; the ladies said they'd have someone meet us who might be able to show us the colors and take our information so an "expert" could look into and get back to us during the week. There, we met another friendly, smiling face who knew nothing. In fact, she knew so little about it that she wasn't aware that the color board was on the wall beside her. While she dug for information, I went to look at the colors.
In the meantime, another friendly, clueless salesperson showed up to give me some pamphlets (without prices, which is really what I wanted) and take my name and number.
We left with as much information as we had arrived. And we basically found answers to what questions we could without any help from the HD crew. We wrote down their prices for Trex and for Veranda at each size. We wrote down the color for Veranda that we found acceptable. And we headed to the local Thomas Building Supply.
Before we got out of the car, we were greeted by the guy from the lumber yard, asking if we needed assistance. We weren't quite ready (and let's be honest, I was a bit cranky); we wanted to look at what they had first. Then, we went inside and were met by another salesman. He saw as looking at the decking materials and inquired as to what type of deck we were interested in building and if we knew the size. I told him, very openly, we wanted to build the best composite deck we could as cheaply as possible, so we were comparing prices. He took me to the counter, drew out a model of the deck, did some quick math, and told us how many boards we'd need. Then, he told us about a closeout deal they had on last year's stock of Trex. He was honest about its shortcomings (no usable backside, thicker, but not as wide as the new stuff, not usable for handrails, only available in 12 ft. and 16 ft. ...) and it's oh-so-lovely price.
We left to think about it, called my dad to see if it was acceptable and worth the price, and quickly turned right back around to purchase the 35 boards we would need.
We saved about $500, got a top product, bought local, were given prime service, AND they even deliver for free.
HD can go the way of Wal-mart, as far as I'm concerned. I'm through with them. Besides, I shouldn't have gone to them in the first place, and this whole debacle just proved to me why.