What is your experience with your local big box store?

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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 07-25-2012 05:39 PM 2959 views 0 times favorited 90 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4921 posts in 4101 days

07-25-2012 05:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

(There is not category for posting my question)
What is your experience with your local big box store?
Do you normally find what you are looking for?
Does it normally carry a good assortment of the things you are looking for?
Are the prices fair?
Are the employees helpful?
Is it a Lowes, a Home Depot or another store?

My local store is Lowes and it pretty much sucks.
The employes are totally incompetent to give any help and the variety of tools and lumber is very limited and in general their lumber also sucks.
I shop there because this store is only about 3 minutes from home when the nearest HD ( that I much prefer for every reasons above) is at least 20 minutes away.

-- Bert

90 replies so far

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1417 posts in 3244 days

#1 posted 07-25-2012 05:46 PM

My local store is Home Depot.
It is horrible.
They stock absolute JUNK and they are really expensive.
I hardly shop there, I usually have my parents drive me to Home Depot Cambridge, Which is around 25 mins away.
The Guelph HD has half the stuff the HD in Cambridge has, and Guelph is double the price.
Their (Guelph) customer service is horrible, and most of the staff, you ask them to help you look for something, they say: ” GO GET IT YOURSELF”.’
I really only go to the Guelph one if we need something desperately/urgent.
My experience with the Guelph HD: 2 stars outta 5
My experience with the Cambridge HD: 4 stars outta 5

-- My terrible signature...

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395 posts in 4500 days

#2 posted 07-25-2012 05:47 PM

I spent 30 minutes walking around lowes looking for help and found none. I finally found a guy on a man lift changing a light bulb and there was five employees standing there watching him. I hate these places, but always find myself needing something from them. Yes, i usually find what i need, and the prices are ok, but i hate dealing with the people there. I would rather go to smaller stores that offer expertise and customer service but those types of places are almost no more.

-- RKWoods

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749 posts in 3277 days

#3 posted 07-25-2012 05:49 PM

HD is closest. Employees are totally clueless and stuff is often shelved in really weird places.

BUT they have a lot of stuff and the prices are good. I don’t usually buy wood there but I do buy finishing supplies, glue, simple tools like screwdrivers and hammers, cleaning supplies, the sort of stuff that that turns a lot of volume. I generally find what I am looking for, but I still do not like going there. Actually, I hate shopping in general, it seems such a waste of time.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3301 days

#4 posted 07-25-2012 05:53 PM

What is your experience with your local big box store?
I’ve posted about it before. My local Home Deopt is awesome

Do you normally find what you are looking for?
7 out of 10 times. I know EXACTLY what they carry because I am in there so much. I wish they had a bigger tool collection

Does it normally carry a good assortment of the things you are looking for?
No, but like many here, I am not your typical woodworking consumer. A place like Rockler or Woodcraft is better suited to my needs. A big box store is not the best place for that kind of inventory

Are the prices fair?
Are the employees helpful?
Exceptionally. Almost too helpful. If they took tips, I would probably tip them
Is it a Lowes, a Home Depot or another store?
Home Depot. There is a Lowes about 20 minutes from me, and about 5 minutes from my office. I despise both of those stores. Unfriendly, unhelpful employees. Generally speaking, their selection of everything is crap, and their prices are absurd. If you think home depot is expensive for their small hardwood selection (and they are), look around at lowes. More expensive than HD, and the stuff was either S1S or S2S! At least home depot has the decency to stock S4S lumber with the 100% lumber mill mark-up. At lowes you pay twice the lumber mill prices, AND have to joint/plane it


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11034 posts in 3345 days

#5 posted 07-25-2012 05:53 PM

I have had good experiences with Menards, which is my big box of choice usually. I do go to Lowes or Home Depot if I’m looking for a specific brand though. I would agree that the Lowes I usually go to aren’t terribly helpful. The Home Depot I go to usually isn’t horrible, but it is quite hit or miss, in terms of customer service and/or helpfulness.

One of the issues I see with the big box stores is in the “good assortment” area… So often the big 3 (around here, Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards) don’t carry the same brands, because then they don’t have to try to price match each other as often.

In my experiences, Menards is routinely cheaper than Home Depot by a little bit, but Home Depot sales and/or clearance prices are better.

I worked at Menards for 3 summers while in college, so I can usually find what I’m looking for quickly and easily, not usually requiring any help.

The main thing that I don’t like about Menards (apart from personal things with the company) is that they historically don’t do very well filling the middle ground. By that, I mean they have the “Tool Shop” line, which are 90% of the time complete garbage, and I consider to be a “disposable” tool, and then they have the Bosch, Hitachi, etc that are higher end. They usually aim at either the DIYer who only needs a tool for a random job once or twice, or the all out contractor that needs something bulletproof. They’re getting better with some of the new Masterforce stuff (which is still a Menards brand, like Tool Shop, they just knock off better tools). That’s why I go to Home Depot sometimes for tools. I don’t need a $200 circular saw, but I’d like more than a $20 Tool Shop as well… or similar such situation.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

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1417 posts in 3244 days

#6 posted 07-25-2012 05:55 PM

Canadian tire is better for me… They just dont sell lumber…

-- My terrible signature...

View ScottStewart's profile


120 posts in 3185 days

#7 posted 07-25-2012 06:21 PM

I have access to both HD and Lowes. Both have pretty decent websites anymore showing inventory, so generally I am trying to make a surgical strike. Mostly I buy hardware or dimensional lumber from them. The dimensional lumber is horrendously knotty, and you have to plan on going through a whole stack to find 1-2 acceptable boards. HD here seems to have slightly better prices on electrical, Lowes slightly bettter on everything else. Lowes seems to have help around if I want to ask where something is (Don’t ask how to do something, they are more clueless than your are), I can never find help at HD.

As far as tools go, for expensive tools, I can generally find better prices somewhere else/Amazon. If I want cheap tools, I go to Harbor Fright.

View woodklutz's profile


221 posts in 3821 days

#8 posted 07-25-2012 06:48 PM

My choice of brick and mortar store is Menards, good help, good assortment of mid price tools.
My first choice is Amazon, hands down, almost every tool you can desire is available at the lowest price and they stand behind what they sell. Never a problem with returning a faulty product and shipping is free.
As a former retail executive I maintain that this company could show every retailer how a business should be run.

-- honing my craft one mistake at a time.

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757 posts in 4773 days

#9 posted 07-25-2012 06:48 PM

My Home Depot experience is that the enterprise software computer drives every decision. People try to be helpful, but don’t have training or access to data. Those who know things are soon fired for “giving out too much info” rather than aiming for a sale.

I go there less and less, but the last time I asked the guy mixing paints if he could put a couple of squirts of red tint in my oil-based Minwax stain. He said he’d have to ask the computer. The computer said “no”. I asked if that was because it was water-based tint rather than oil-based tint. He said that the computer wouldn’t tell him.

I went to Woodcraft and bought the German-made Mixol universal tint that worked very well.

This is just one of a long series of experiences that would be great on late-night comedy TV.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4101 days

#10 posted 07-25-2012 06:55 PM

I like Amazon very much too and I spend a lot of moeny on their site but my wife keeps remind me that we need to support our local businesses as they provide work to those around us, including us.

-- Bert

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4361 days

#11 posted 07-25-2012 07:09 PM

There is a Lowes about 15 minutes from my house and I but my spray lacquer and sheet sandpaper there. I have also bought the Valspar paint there when I painted my barn, deck, porch and interior rooms of the house. I buy tools there such as tape measures and plug cutters and some drill bits. No power tools...however. Definitely not lumber.
Most of the employees I have encounterred there don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground….however, the people in the electrical department are about the only exception I have noticed.

My wife always gets durt and cypress mulch for the gardens there…since their prices are good. We bought 4 new garden hoses there just recently to replace some ancient ones.

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2303 posts in 3538 days

#12 posted 07-25-2012 07:10 PM

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1491 posts in 4406 days

#13 posted 07-25-2012 07:11 PM

I have a number of both Home Depot’s and Lowes in my area but their prices are usually higher then my first choice which is Menards. So I usually shop at Menards and only fallback to HD or Lowes if that is the only place I can get an item I’m looking for.

But for a lot of things my real first choice is ACE Hardware. We have 4 Elliot’s ACE Hardware’s that have a lot of the hard to find things that I’m looking for that the BB stores don’t carry and their prices are competitive. I also default to those ACE’s for hardware like screws, nuts, bolts, etc. because the quality is better and the selection far exceeds the BB stores. And the fact I can buy 1 or 2 and not 25 or 100 is an additional plus. I stock up on that hardware when they have one of there 20% off bag sales by buying boxes or 100’s. Not only for the cost savings but so that I don’t run out in the middle of a project. Hate that.

And when purchasing my big ticket items like my Unisaw, DJ-20, bandsaw, etc. Tennis Hardware in West Bend, WI, is my go to place even though it’s a bit of a drive. They don’t meet others price they flat out beat them by a substantial amount without even knowing others prices.

And I have also bought big ticket items at the local Woodcraft and Rockler stores. Woocraft when they have their 10% off sale, and Rockler when I just get so sweet of a deal, like my Oneida Cyclone years ago when they had them at the store.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3301 days

#14 posted 07-25-2012 07:16 PM

Woodcraft 10/15% of sale is this Friday and Saturday. I may or may not be sleeping in my car for a few weeks when my wife sees the charge for the Rikon 10-325 deluxe 14” bandsaw.


View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3480 days

#15 posted 07-25-2012 07:32 PM

Lowes – Fantastic store, indispensable place to get low cost lumber. Surely it is unreasonable to expect minimum wage employees to give botique level help, however I have had wonderful help in the plumbing department where my knowledge level is nonexistant and the guys working at my Lowes are real explumbers.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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