Great strategy, but if you ever have interruptions that cause you to empty out the larder, you will then starve since you can't shop.
Oh, wait... you're probably a human being not a computer program. Sorry: it's a kind of a reflexive code review process for me by now.
Yes. But time has a cost. The reality is, leaving empty handed is a loss.
As for bargains, that's the key. Buy big when X is priced low.
Unless having lots of X at home will lead to you consuming more X at a faster rate than you normally would.
Where did all my pistachios go? I bought like 20 pounds.
A list removes the need to decide at all.
These include strategic floor layouts, the smell of fresh bakery goods such as bread and cakes, special offers, slow music, reduced lighting, fresh produce first, eggs in strange places, expensive products at eye level, and of course, the items in the checkout.
Having a shopping list does help. It's the sticking to it I'm curious to how easy that is.
I wonder what the overall frequencies of different customer behaviors, there, are...
Because most grocery store items are pre-packaged or raw, they don't even register in my mind as consumable food until I put the work in to cook them.
 - https://signalvnoise.com/posts/1620-sell-your-by-products
 - https://zachholman.com/talk/product-is-the-byproduct/
(Imprecise anecdote, it could've been their customer research team and not the owner...)
The E and A comes from Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, respectively the farm where he grow up, and his home town.
And it was indeed Ingvar that was the brains behind it back in 1956, i am not really sure they had "customer research teams" back then.
It works exactly the same way. There have been several times that I have gone to Bunnings for a hangover snag, and ended up buying something.
Sadly, Bunnings effort to open up in the UK has fallen flat on its face and so I won't get to enjoy the Saturday morning Bunnings snag unless I go back to Australia.
I was just about to say the same!
I only lived in Aus for a few years and came back to the UK; the news that we were getting Bunnings made me happy but it's all gone South now. I was really looking forward to those charity snags!
That is not at all my experience. They frequently don't even know inventory or where to find products in the store, and even less often do they know much about the products. Generally they are unmotivated, even relative to retail sales employees.
EDIT: I want to be clear that I'm not at all criticizing the employees. It's obviously a systemic problem; they are poorly paid, and my impression is they are poorly trained and poorly treated, all for minimum age. I'm criticizing management for creating this system and for making the BS claim in the quote, and CNBC for letting it pass unchallenged.
There are actually a fair amount of skilled people working there.. Even today. But if you ask where you can find a light switch they will point you in the right direction. They won't dig deeper unless you ask.
Here is what terrified me. I started around four years after youtube. Now everyone was a electrician because wanglover76 posted a video of how to install a ceiling fan and tie it into a dimmer.
It is pretty hard to convince a person shopping at home depot that their weekend project will probably kill their children.
Like, it's technically required to get an electrican to change a light bulb - but who does this? So what is ok? Where is the line between setting up a desk lamp and stealing electricity from your neighbour with a screwdriver?
Don't guess at anything. If the book doesn't say exactly what to do in the situation you're in, hire an electrician. (This sounds overly cautious but really – if you're doing something even slightly "novel" then there's either going to be code issues you aren't qualified to judge, or actual electrical issues you aren't familiar with and don't even know to think about, like grounding issues.) Thankfully, most situations a homeowner will encounter aren't left up to interpretation by code, and are therefore covered in a good book.
Move on to similar things (say, replacing a simple switch or GFCI receptacle) when you feel you have enough experience.
But you can fix you or your neighbors outlets all you want.
The distinction is drawn at being a business vs yourself. But, we still have that individualist spirit, so I could be wrong about other places.
Wiring and outlets are simple enough, but you wouldn't believe peoples' capacity to botch things up. They'd connect a ground pin socket in place of non grounded one without changing the wiring, or use incorrect section wire, or with incorrect insulation type for in-wall application, or they'd replace a charred outlet without trimming the sooted part of wire. Enough nuances to avoid amateur work.
What about installing a ceiling fan? Assuming the wiring is already there.
But am sure plenty of people do small fixes anyway.
That said, as a kid I played with 230v electrolysis (stupid I know) because my 30v version was too slow. This is basically the worst case scenario: electrodes close to each other + water + combustible gas + potential for sparks + deadly voltage, but the safety system shut the power down immediately when something went wrong.
What? No, that's only true for GFCI circuits, which are not the norm in the US (typically only found in bathrooms and kitchens, though the NEC has been slowly expanding the requirements). Touching hot can kill you and the breaker box won't care.
Actual safety advice:
1. Buy a current sensor. They're like $5 from Home Depot (speaking of).
2. Turn off the breaker, and make sure it's the right one by using the current sensor.
3. If you're in a situation where you cannot turn off the breaker, wear rubber-soled shoes, and work with one hand and place the other behind your back. (This prevents current from traversing your chest cavity.)
4. Buy a receptacle tester (again, $5) and use it to test your work.
5. If any of the above is not obvious to you, hire an electrician.
This is compounded by the problem that Home Depot still sells, e.g., non-tamper-resistant receptacles. They are no longer code compliant, but they're by far the cheapest and I've no doubt they end up in the homes of tons of DIYers.
I have also read several books; watched several videos; and watched other people do this work. Over time I've picked up a number of things, and the different sources helps ensure I can pick up on what is correct vs what looks like it works but is wrong.
I needed to run a bit of low-voltage wiring from the house to a sprinkler controller. I knew to use the dark grey PVC-like conduit (is it actually PVC? I have no idea). I had everything I needed except the glue. I've seen electricians run the same stuff and I knew the glue they use was clear, not blue like it is for water pipes, but I couldn't find that glue near the conduit.
I asked the guy in the electrical department with a thing on his apron with "ask me about electrical stuff" written on it. He spent the next 5 minutes trying to talk me out of using the correct glue, and instead he told me to go get some 2-part epoxy and use that. The kind of epoxy that expands, and would crack the rigid pipe, and has zero guarantee of standing up to water.
In the rare cases I do have to go to Home Depot I either ignore anything anyone there tells me, or I tell them I rent (because that way they won't try to sell me solar).
> I've seen electricians run the same stuff and I knew the glue they use was clear
The solvent ("glue") is more typically grey than clear IME for PVC electrical conduit. For PVC electrical conduit, it's a one-step process (no primer needed).
For PVC water or DWV pipe, it's a two-step (primer and solvent-glue) process; it's the primer that is typically colored and the solvent typically clear. The color in the primer is to facilitate inspection afterwards and the pipes are typically hidden. Electrical conduit is often visible where installed, and there's less tolerance to have the staining from the primer step used in water piping.
Running PVC looks unprofessional. It's generally true that if an electrical installation looks good, it is good. If you're running PVC everywhere above ground rather than EMT, you'll be in for a very difficult time when the inspectors arrive.
The glue is not for water-proofing (it's to keep the pipe from breaking apart -- esp during wire pulls). If it's underground, you'll be using THWN (waterproof), so the water doesn't matter. For that reason, no primer is needed. The reason for "electrical glue" is that it's much lower quality and much cheaper (you'll see contractors use whichever glue is cheapest regardless of color).
NEC citation for that, please? I see it used outside all the time, including in utility service entrance usage (which I cite because I suspect is overwhelmingly likely to be inspected) and many landscaping applications where it doesn't corrode like EMT. I believe it is suitable for use in such locations where the conduit is identified for that use.
Completely agree that buried PVC is a wet location; that's clear from code and I never argued otherwise nor argued that PVC solvent was for water-tightness in electrical application.
To be more complete, Schedule 80 is permitted in areas subject to physical damage, but not schedule 40 (much more common). Likewise the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) has ultimate say. In the area I worked (and in most jurisdictions from what I was told), you had better have a very good reason for exposed PVC outside of service entrances or similar.
EDIT: for sake of thoroughness, At a service entrance, you have overhead and underground. Overhead will be using RMC (rigid metallic conduit) to the meter. You can usually get permission to use PVC from the meter to the outside shutoff (required for non back-to-back panel installations) and can usually run a couple feet of PVC from there to turn under the house. I saw someone run an outside exposed PVC from the panel to the HVAC and it got called immediately (bury, put in the wall, or switch to EMT). With trailer installs, I've seen them permit a jump from the pole to the trailer above ground if a box was built around the PVC at the crossing.
It's worth remembering that the NEC is both a minimum requirement and a suggestion at the same time. The AHJ is given a lot of leeway because the minimum requirement doesn't fit every situation. Likewise, loads of districts use outdated versions of the code (that may not sound big, but things like AFCI (arc fault breakers) in bedrooms still isn't required in a lot of districts because they are on the 199x or early 200x code).
However, the meaning of "subject to physical damage" is supposedly a little loose, and most documents/training I've seen calls a typical vertical outdoor electrical service entry allowed.
The reason you don't need primer on electrical is the connection is only required to be mechanically strong - water leaks are just fine. If there is any possibility of water getting into pipe you are required to use wires that have a waterproof insulation.
Go to ACE if you want someone that knows something.
Edit:It was former CEO Nardelli.
From Wikipedia "Nardelli was notably criticized for cutting back on knowledgeable full-time employees with experience in the trades and replacing them with part-time help with little relevant experience"
I've had good experience at ACE, but they are typically smaller so I get less selection if they even have what I want, and in my area they tend to be more expensive. I trend towards Lowe's because the staff will give me the "I don't know" answer.
I think the trick is to convince yourself you want to see one of them - I find with the regular staff the minute I break down and go "ok, I'll ask where to find it" is the minute the orange aprons all disappear, like a gang of fluorescent batmen.
Unless of course you want to not be bothered. Then it's a great time to go.
If you're looking for a specific product, they'll ask this:
"What are you using it for?"
To someone who rarely goes to Home Depot, this may come off as if the employee actually knows something about home improvement and wants to help you by understanding your nuanced situation.
What it really means is that they are clueless, so if you reply with "I'm looking for Jasco paint thinner", they'll either point you to the paint aisle(even though you've probably already been there) or they'll drag you there and fumble around until you find the product before they do. If you're really unlucky, they'll bring you to the wrong aisle or flag down another clueless employee.
Going to Home Depot is an aggravating experience. Every time they ask me what I'm looking for, I get this deer in the headlights expression for even the most basic of things. Unless you're buying lumber, the employees don't seem to understand concepts like "I'm looking for some little pieces of felt or rubber to prevent my cabinets from being loud when they slam."
What I'd expect is what Mr. Langone, 82-year old co-founder of Home Depot and subject of the CNBC story linked here, claims about Home Depot's associates, as related in ancestor post:
> Home Depot had ... associates who are knowledgeable about the products, says Langone. "These people learned their business and, to this day, the heart and soul of the Home Depot are these 400,000 people that work in the stores," Langone says.
Sure, I know exactly what I'm looking for. But I don't know where to find it. I'd expect the heart and soul of Home Depot to know this.
A salient HN post:
If I wanted in depth knowledge of how to do a particular job, I wouldn't be asking in a large DIY shop, I'd be asking someone who knows, such as someone at a small DIY shop who has earned their stripes or a professional tradie.
And if I had in depth knowledge of how to do a particular job, I wouldn't be working at a large DIY shop pointing customers (or not, as the case often is) to where they can find M4 wood screws.
Nobody. You're mischaracterizing my point of view.
As others have pointed out, I'm not expecting that minimum wage Home Depot employees have in-depth knowledge; rather, I'd expect them to have enough knowledge of their own inventory to be able to point my in the right direction for specific(and often common) products in their massive store. Sure, I could always just go to a certain department, and I usually do, but there are often products that are on a shelf in a different department than one might think.
Yes, I have the expectation that the employees reduce the friction in customers spending money. At Home Depot, this rarely happens in my experience. Yet Orchard Supply Hardware, ACE, and even Lowes are a very different story.
By the way, I'm not blaming the employees. I'm blaming the company.
And yes, you do need to have some in-depth knowledge to even know what something is before you know where to find it. I guess the question is what do you expect them to lookup information by? Product names? That's pretty hard. Product type? Well anything beyond a simple category like "bathroom" is going to require knowledge, and it quickly crosses over the line of capabilities they're paid for.
There's certainly validity to your argument, and my point is that employees do need surface-level knowledge about general product categories in their store, which we both agree upon. In my previous posts, part of my gripe with Home Depot is their employees often fail to be helpful in finding basic items that aren't of specific brands. For instance, those stick-on felt nubs used on cabinets can be in any upwards of 3 aisles dedicated to cabinets, drawers, shelves, etc. It would save me time for an employee to remember where the shelf space is for those type of products.
I'd be happy if they could do this even 50% of the time. I'm not expecting perfection. At any given Home Depot I've been to, I've only gotten actual help about 5% of the time. Contrast that with almost any other hardware store, including ones of equivalent size, and it's a different story. Even the employees of Lowes are of better assistance. Orchard Supply Hardware is even better, although their stores are smaller. This doesn't even stop at grocery stores; employees at Target, Walmart, and various grocery stores are more helpful in my experience and know about their inventory to a greater extent than those at Home Depot.
I don't know exactly how other stores like Lowes manages to improve this customer-employee interaction, but if I were running Home Depot in optimal conditions, I would create incentives for employees to familiarize themselves with products and various product categories. If they could make it to optional trainings, watch short videos, be of help to pretend customers, pass quizzes, all of which are voluntary and are not included on an employee's performance record, they could see raises and other benefits. But I've never been an employer, so I don't know how well that would work in practice. I also have no idea if Home Depot doesn't already do these things to any meaningful degree.
It may seem like I'm ranting and raving about Home Depot, but that's only because I don't think my expectation that employees should be paid to do something kinda hard isn't an unreasonable one. Unless they're stocking shelves or helping me cut wood, I can't see their presence to be of value. Better signage and promotion of their mobile app(which I only learned of today) could easily replace these employees, and probably will once the next economic downturn hits.
Well in their examples it's about actually finding the item in the store, rather than working out what to buy.
That doesn't help if you can't find the product on the web site or don't know what to use, but if you just want to know where 1/2" copper elbows are, the site will get you within 6 feet of them.
I basically shop at Home Depot from home and then go to the store and pick the items from the bins. The mobile app works well if you're already in the store.
The only reason I don't just buy stuff from Amazon is because I happen to live close to a Home Depot, and a) I want the items now, b) I want to see the items before I buy them, especially because c) there is a high probability I'll want to return at least one thing I buy, and that's way easier at a brick-and-mortar.
Its called a XY problem : https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/66377/what-is-the-x...
You start to wonder if these stores' hiring choices are just some kind of gigantic makework project for needy widows, like Walmart greeters in the US. Or: someone knowledgeable about retail might be able to say whether these people walking around, even if they cannot really help customers, somehow pay for themselves because they discourage shoplifting.
But hey, Walgreens is exactly the type of store your comment applies to. I went into the Macy's flagship store on Union Square to ask for long underwear, and the salesman... didn't know what that was. He didn't speak fluent English either. He did eventually guess "do you mean... thermal?"
At that point I'm pretty comfortable saying it's the employer's fault. A tourist-attracting flagship is not in a cutthroat pricing competition with everyone nearby.
Considering the fact that retail store equity prices aren't high growth and they shut more stores than they open, I would bet that they are under considerable pressure to contain costs as people will just shop online or another department store.
The only retail that can afford to pay their employees a professional wage is probably the super high end like Zegna or Hugo and the like.
Found an article talking about Macy's financials:
There's no way commodity retail that caters to middle and lower class can be profitable with highly paid employees, you just won't move enough product. The fact that there isn't a chain that exists with that model is proof.
That makes Macy's look much worse; show me the store commercial where a customer walks into the store only to be stymied by the staff's inability to understand the local language.
One of the local HD's has primarily older women working the registers. Trying to find an SKU so a worker can scan it is a frustrating experience when they are unable to assist.
This is a failure of management. If the women at my local supermarket can get a dedicated bagger, then these stores can have capable employees assisting the cashiers with their duties.
Also, where do you live where there is a large population of retirement-age women who know lots about home improvement?
Would it have bothered you if he had said "teen-aged males" instead?
I've also gone in with "I need a fitting to go from (size and type of thread) to (other material pipe)" and had someone enthusiastically figure out a couple ways to do it, trying to find the cheapest/simplest way based on parts.
I know one of the people I had this experience with was a retired electrician, but I would bet that finding and keeping people with that type of experience is difficult.
So perhaps it's possible to chalk it up to some stores being better and worse at it.
One nice thing is now the Home Depot mobile app will let you search for items in the store's inventory and will show you visually where exactly in the store the item is. Saves you from having to flag down an employee as sometimes they may be busy helping someone else.
I'm guessing which of the two you get will have a big effect on your experience as a customer.
Funny story: Management often put me on the cash register guarding the entrance/exit to Tool World because I was very thorough in checking customers as they exited; there was a big problem back then with customers stealing small high-value tools by putting them inside other, less-expensive products. So, it was my job to prevent that. Anyways, I didn't know much about tools, but there was a girl about my age who was very knowledgeable in that area. She was the Tool World expert who roamed around the section. One day, a contractor came up to me at the cash register and asked me some very specific tool-related questions. I had no idea; I said, "I'll call the expert in to help." He said okay and waited. When he saw this young girl with glasses walk up, he looked at me and said, "you've got to be kidding me?"...then he walked away and left! Funny thing is that she probably could have helped him!
that’s not exciting really, but this moment sticks out in my mind so much. he just was doing everything he could to avoid customers, and in a pretty weird, awkward way. i eventually found a self-serve hand-cutting station in the store and cut the wood myself with a hacksaw.
it isn’t “bottled up”. i think it’s funny.
so yea, i’ll go complain to management next time. thanks.
anecdotes are certainly part of this site. just look this thread. they are plastered over every thread in general.
and why are you welcoming me? i have been here.
the hubris one encounters here is suffocating.
> To get customers to come into the first Home Depot store, Marcus gave away cash.
Golly gee, seems't the ancient hardware startups aren't so different from today's computer startups!
It reminds me of the grossly fabricated download numbers some open-source software products boast of to give the impression of a large user base. Not sure if it really works when they add four zeroes.
Home Depot's hours were much better. I could run out after dinner.
Last night I accidentally showed up at the local hardware store right after they closed, and there was a steady stream of people checking the door. If there was a Home Depot close by, they'd go out of business immediately just because of their hours.
For example: If you went to buy 2 products next to each other at a store. They both do the same thing and same price, which do you take? The one that your neighbor bought or a random one?
For me whenever this happens, I most likely don't buy either unless I have a very specific need to get it.
I don't find it deceitful. Is it deceitful if a restaurant has several separate rooms instead of one big room? If they have one big room and most of the room is empty it sends a negative message to a diner. If they have several rooms but don't open up additional rooms unless needed then there is no negative in the patron's mind.
In the case of Home Depot they had the merchandise if someone wanted to buy it. Having empty boxes is a marketing ploy. Is it deceitful if a store gets slotting fees from vendors for better shelf placement? Where does this thinking end? Malls cover up empty stores in creative ways. They don't have a window where you can see the store is empty. They create a front or some other creative way to handle the vacancy. (There are many examples of this behavior which is considered acceptable and clever in business.)
Look forward to hearing people’s experiences.
To make an impression of a "serious business," they stuff warehouses with empty boxes. I once was a part of such factory tour where an impressed buyer from a American big box retailer said "wow, there must be at least $10m of stuff there" to giggles of people who were more knowledgeable in the trade.
I guess every business has some sort of a story like this when it first started.
- The Michelin inflatable that actually cost us business because it was too big for our mid-town location and consumed all available parking.
- advertising that we inflate tires with Nitrogen for performance with every new set of tires installed. Management runs us out of shield gas for welding and has to cancel a major mechanical job for a fleet customer. Management furious to learn shield gas is much more expensive than air.
- on site oil recycling which was basically how we tried to spin managements asinine decision to not pay the state oil recycling fee. Fined by the state EPA, fined by the federal EPA, forced to pay six figures to a haz-mat disposal company.
- Free battery testing and AC testing cant fully be expensed in the system because its too old, and results in an accounting imbalance that gets our owners audited by both fed and state.
It always was. Just look at the miracle medicine of the past.
The comment linked here and one a few down: http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/2010/05/foley-brothe...
This would not have struck me as unethical a few years ago, but with all the brouhaha around tech companies and faking it until you making it (Theranos), seems more concerning now.
For instance, Harvey's Hardware in Needham, MA started off packing its shelves with empty boxes to make the store look like it had more inventory: