Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Paint your palette blue and grey

Some blog posts require back story, and I am afraid this will be one of them. Bear with me, and I will get to the point quickly (or not at all, but I might make you laugh).

I've mentioned before that I am a very brand loyal person--a marketer's dream. Morning TV?The Today Show (for the last twenty years). Spaghetti Sauce? Ragu Traditional. Laundry detergent? Tide. It works both ways, too. Pet Store I'll never darken the door of? PetsMart. Really, I could go on and on.

Big Box Home Improvement Store? This is where it gets tricky. My default setting is Lowe's, and has been since I started going there with my folks as a kid. In grad school, Lowe's sponsored a reality competition show. I loved it and couldn't believe they didn't do a second season. I signed up for their free magazine, and still read the copies my mom brings me. When J bought a house around the corner from Lowe's, I was in Heaven. Until I started visiting regularly and discovered that more often that not, the service is awful and visiting Lowe's just leaves me grumpy. Seriously.

I've discovered the wonder that is Home Depot and have made many major purchases there in the past couple of years (usually after a Lowe's clerk ticks me off), but somehow, when inspiration hits, my car drives me to Lowe's. It's the Brand Loyalty, I can't help it.

Last week, J and I purchased a new dresser and wardrobes from Ikea for our master bedroom. While I was telling my mom about them, she suggested we paint the room before installing the wardrobes. I agreed she had a good point, and hit Lowe's on my way home from work last night to pick up some paint samples. I chose the lightest shade on two different cards and had the sample cans mixed, then went home and painted sample splotches all over the room. (Side track--I noticed the sales clerk didn't use the magic-shakey-paint-mixer contraption to mix the sample cans, but didn't question it. I regretted this when I got home and opened poorly mixed paints that I had to re-shake myself.)

This morning, we decided on one shade, but agreed that it was a little too dark to cover the entire room. Not concerned, I grabbed the paint card and went off to work. When I left work tonight, my first stop was Lowe's, to ask that they mix up a couple gallons of the color on the card, but lighter than the sample color I picked up yesterday. I walked in and saw the same clerk I'd worked with last night. This worried me for a moment, but I reminded myself of our 2010 phrase and vowed to cut her some slack. Until she flat out told me she couldn't lighten my paint. Exact words--"I can't do that; you need to pick a lighter color."

I seriously thought I heard her wrong. You have machines that that can color match paint to the gold fleck in Brad Pitt's eye, but you can't go one shade lighter than the color listed on this card that also conveniently lists the formulas for the next two shades darker? Really?

So I explained again what I needed, and that it specifically needed to be the same color family as that card I was holding, just lighter. Again, "I can't do that, you just need to pick a lighter color from the paint cards." I explained that I didn't want a new color, I'd already picked one. Now, it's very possible that Lowe's carries another card that continues down the spectrum of the card I took in. Unfortunately, I don't know if they do or not, and I wouldn't know how to find it. You'd think their employees would know, and that they would be trained to walk me over to the wall of options to find it. Not this girl.

At this point I gave up, told the girl that someone could get me a lighter shade and they'd be getting my money tonight, and walked out. I heard her offer to call a manager for me, but she'd already fulfilled her Lowe's responsibility and ticked me off.

I sent J the following text: Why do I even bother with Lowe's? I know better!

As I alluded to earlier, Home Depot has a knack for cheering me up when Lowe's has knocked me for a loop, so I headed there next. I was now prepared to hear that maybe I couldn't get a lighter shade after all, but I knew that I'd get better service and that it would cheer me up. I walked up to the clerk at the paint counter, held out the paint card, and explained what I needed. "Sure," she said. "How much lighter? 25% 50?" Really? Was this possible? The girl at Lowe's just told me this was impossible, and this girl is offering me scientifically altered paint options, using another company's formulas? She quickly whipped up a gallon in the new, lighter, shade, then offered to paint a swatch on my card to see if it would work or needed to be darker. After making sure I was satisfied, she made a second gallon and sent me on my way.

I seriously considered walking my two lighter blue-grey gallons of Home Depot paint back into Lowe's to share with the clerk and her manager. Just to show her that it can be done.

Now I'm crossing my fingers this snow storm shows up early and gives me a chance to paint our room this weekend. I'll post pics when it's done!

Title: Vincent, by Don McLean


Jennifer said...

I have the same problem with Home Depot. Saw something that I wanted on a shelf too high for me to reach and when I got someone to help me it took them a good half hour to understand that I just needed them to get a ladder and get it down. Alot of: idiot-"we don't have that" me-"yes, you do it is on that shelf right there" idiot-"let me check the inventory". I think it all depends what idiot happens to be pulled out of the home improvement hat on any given day.

Samantha said...

We have a ton of similar stories I could tell about Home Depot having the worst service ever. I flat out refuse to shop there ever again. I ended up with one of the idiot clerks at our Lowe's resently... refused to go to Home Depot so I drove to Henderson and shopped at the Lowe's there. It turned out wonderful. After explaining what happened @ O'boro the Henderson store found a coupon(25% off) for my purchase.

Ally said...

As you know, we're currently hemorrhaging money remodeling our house and have found Home Depot to be the place for us. We found the key to having a good experience is to find a couple of knowledgeable employees and make them "your guy/gal" and seek them out as soon as you need something. We're on a first-name basis w/our guy Mike at Home Depot and it makes it SO much easier to get what we need.