Go Out of Your Way – Home Depot

| October 21, 2015 | 2 Replies

Go out of your way. ~ As I was taking leave after my interview with Barefoot Farmer in the spring, he complimented me for making the trip to meet him. “There are two kinds of people in the world, those that go out of their way, and those that don’t,” I found myself saying. That’s something I’d thought a lot about over my years of seeking out healthy food, but the first time I’d made a proclamation.

I had planned to write a blog for Blog Action Day 2015, about going out of your way, but October 16th came and I had launched into long overdue house repairs. Yesterday, at my second trip to Home Depot in three days, the idea hit me again.

I don’t know about you, but I get a little anxious in big box stores. You enter a vast space, with literally millions of items for purchase (most of which are made in China and imported here at great cost to the environment), and you often can’t find anyone to help you locate what you need. If you do manage to hail a sales associate, they often reply “Aisle 11” and point far away as they walk in the opposite direction. (Like a writer or actor trying to get a producer’s attention, “Call me,” they say as they are backing away.) You launch in with purpose and gusto for the first couple of items, but after about 15 minutes, energy drains, you find yourself using the cart for support, which pushes up your shoulders and gives you a pain in the neck, and with restricted circulation, your mind gets a little foggy about why you felt it necessary to come in the first place. A list is essential!

Go Out of Your Way - Part 1, Home Depot - store

Home Depot, Natick, MA

Back and forth you traverse the cavernous aisles, until you check off that last item, but not before the hip starts hurting and you feel a bit light-headed at the check-out counter and need an aspirin before you get to the car. (All this happened to me on Sunday.) Often, there is an item that must be returned! Is it any wonder we put off non-essential home repairs?

Much to my surprise, my trip to Home Depot yesterday was the opposite experience. I guess timing IS everything. It was 10AM. I was greeted by a pleasant young woman the instant I stepped into the store, as my eyes were adjusting to the light. “Where can I find romex?” She pointed me to Electrical, “Aisle 11,” close by, and said she would send someone right over. Luckily, the assistant store manager approached and secured the first item, walked me to the second, spray paint, was walking me to the third item, and, without missing a step, handed me off to a supervisor and took the two big lumber carts off his hands and the supervisor found all the rest of my items, swept up an orange bucket when he saw I was struggling to contain the items against my chest (I was NOT going to use a cart!), dropped them all in and polished off my list, and without me asking for help, walked the bucket and my items to the checkout and waited for me and carried them to my car.

Needless to say, I was impressed, and told him so. I decided to query the young man as we walked to my car. “What’s your goal?” I asked. “Store Manager,” was his clear-eyed reply. “Did you go to college?” “Two years,” he said. “Did you get an associate degree?” I asked. “Yes,” he said, but a personal tragedy derailed him for awhile. “Now, I’m back and focused and working hard to better myself,” he said. And indeed he is. He went out of his way to assist me. Once upon a time, you could expect any sales associate of any store to behave this way. You wouldn’t have a job if you didn’t. But, today, with high turnover in service industry jobs, customer relations is a quaint concept.

Go out of your way. It make take a little more effort, but it’s a win-win for all. Do you have “going out of your way” stories to share? Please leave in the comments! I may share it in this ongoing series!

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Comments (2)

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  1. Sandi B. says:

    On most days this happens at my local Home Depot. Some days there are just too many customers and not enough staff. I think they are really trying to improve customer service, with competition (Lowe’s), local stores (we have SPS) and online purchasing, customers are only going to go back if they are treated like they should be. I’m so glad you had an excellent experience there!

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