OT: Treatment of Women In Hardware Stores (Yes, this is a Rant)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Yanna, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. Yanna

    Yanna Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    I apologize in advance as I know that this will doubtless irritate someone but this is my experience and I'm sure it's not unique.

    I just returned from spending an hour at the hardware store finding flooring, hardware and lumber to build a temporary coop for my trio of BR and my EE banties.

    Just to put this into some type of context, I'm 36 and a "normal looking" button-down shirt type person and this took place at Menard's, a "big box" hardware store with locations in several states . What I am about to describe has also happened to me at the Home Depot here locally, though I have been treated well at Home Depot elsewhere in the past.

    When I was all set with my flooring, hardware and lumber (which took quite some time to track down), I approached a female employee and asked if there was anyone available at the chop saw in the lumber barn to cut some lumber for me. She looked at me blankly, then went and got someone to "help" me. The person she brought back, probably about age 20, looked at the contents of the cart, looked at me and said, "I don't think we cut lumber here."

    Me: "I've had lumber cut here before."

    Employee: "Well, what kind of lumber do you have there?" (He couldn't tell?!)

    Me: "2x2s."

    Employee: "I think as of 2008 we stopped cutting lumber."

    Me: "Then why is there a chop saw out there in the lumber shed?"

    Employee (after a long pause and consulting with someone on his radio): "Well, the biggest we cut is 1" x 12". What kind of lumber is that again?"

    Me: "2x2."

    Employee (consults radio again): "Okay, well, someone from Receiving can go out there and cut it for you [I'm thinking: Is that too much hassle?! Gee, I'd hate to have an employee go to any trouble for a customer!]. Do you want me to walk you out there?"

    Me: "No thanks, I know where it is."

    Employee: "You know how much it costs, right?"

    Me: "Yes, but remind me."

    Employee: "It's a dollar a cut. It's way in the back." (The first cut used to be free.)

    Me: "Great, thanks."

    So off I go into the heat of the lumber barn, where I stand for ten minutes waiting for the mysterious person from Receiving to come and cut my silly 2x2s. No one came. I COULD have spent another 5-10 minutes finding someone to come and cut the wood; instead, I left the whole cart of flooring, hardware and lumber standing there in the lumber barn with a brief note explaining that I would spend my $80 at a store where the employees were interested in being of service to customers and that their store manager would also be hearing from me.

    I know some people are probably thinking: If I weren't such a so-and-so, someone might have come and cut my lumber without any hassle. My reply to that is that I wouldn't be such a so-and-so if not for the fact that nearly every time I set foot into a car repair shop or a hardware store in my area, this is the type of service I get, which is a fairly new phenomenon for me, having moved here two years ago from an urban area on the west coast.

    So, I just have to ask: Are other women here having this problem? Or do your husbands do all of the construction shopping for you? Or maybe hardware stores in your area treat women well? I really am curious.

    I never used to bother raising a stink if an employee was rude or lazy but as I have gotten a bit older and have gone out of my way for customers at my own job, I expect to be treated with professional courtesy when I go somewhere to spend my money. At this point in life, I have no problem speaking to department or store managers or even regional supervisors when service is subpar. If their customer service is lousy, it's not good for their bottom line and most of the time they appreciate (or at least pretend to appreciate) the feedback.

    What would you have done?
  2. New2Peeps

    New2Peeps Songster

    May 11, 2008
    That is exactly what happened to me in one of the local Lowe's stores. I asked for a few simple cuts in cdx plywood and siding one Friday night and was told that they could not possiblly do that until the next Tuesday.

    I did the same thing you did. But I told the clerk to his face that he could keep all the lumber and everything else in the cart and that I would take my business elsewhere. Which I did. To another Lowe's store where the young man helped me find what I needed and cut the lumber for me in about 15 minutes. I let them know about their sister store and how they treated their customers and thanked the young man for his courteous service.

    I will not shop at the first store ever again.

    Oh---and the second Lowe's did not charge me a dime for cutting---the first place wanted a dollar a cut and their maximum number of cuts was 3.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    So, I just have to ask: Are other women here having this problem? Or do your husbands do all of the construction shopping for you? Or maybe hardware stores in your area treat women well? I really am curious.

    Yep, mostly mechanics, though. I've had them argue with me about what kind of oil I want put in my engine, tell me that they couldn't "hear" the symptom I've described, only to later have to agree with my diagnostic assessment of my car.....geez, I think I know how my own car usually sounds!, and I've been #[email protected]*** over by more men than a painted lady!

    I usually don't have much trouble in the hardware store because I know exactly what I want and they always seem surprised by that. If they don't have what I want, they ask what I need it for.....I don't know why that is relevant, but they always ask.....like I've made a mistake and I would really need something they have in stock instead of what I want. I've been doing this on my own for 22 years, hon, and it doesn't get any better. Its everywhere....the schools, the feed store, the auto and tractor parts store....anywhere there are men in control, they will treat you like you are brainless. The fun starts when you prove you aren't!!! I used to be offended, but now I just revel in cutting them off very sweetly at the knees....all the while with a big smile on my face! I usually add a little more of the southern twang to my voice when I do it....it seems nicer that way. [​IMG] My #2 son once told me that he had never seen anyone insult someone as nicely as I did and he didn't think they even knew they had been insulted! [​IMG] I tell ya' there's an art to it!​
    1 person likes this.
  4. robinaggie

    robinaggie Flew the Coop

    May 25, 2008
    I wandered through Home Depot for about 10 minutes looking for ANYONE to help me, and finally walked out. You are not alone!
  5. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    As a woman who has bought more lumber at my favorite store (Lowe's) than most men I know....I have never, never had any condecending or bad customer service at my local Lowes. On the contrary, they always ask me a pretty generic question like 'are you finding what you need?' or 'is there anything I can help you find?' NEVER anything like 'Well, little missy...can I explain ya what a 2x4 is??'

    I've also had plywood cut NUMEROUS times and never had a complaint, bad attitude, or been charged an extra dime. I can't get a full sheet in my van, so I always have to have it ripped down the middle, or rough cut for whatever project I have going. When I built my coop, I had them do all the straight cuts so I only had a few angle cuts & shaping cuts left to do. They can just get it so much more precise than I can with my small table saw and nobody to help me guide the lumber when I get home.

    NewtoPeeps...I've always assumed it was corporate policy not to charge to cut wood - personally, I'd call or contact corporate headquarters and tell them of your experience trying to get lumber cut at the one Lowes compared to the other.

    I do try to go in during a weekday afternoon if I'm getting lumber cut because I know they will be at their slowest time of the day and week, and there are usually lots of employees standing around looking for someone to help, and nobody waiting at the saw.
  6. coloradochick

    coloradochick Songster

    Dec 19, 2007
    Brighton, CO
    I would've done the same thing Yanna. But unfortunately, good CS has gone by the wayside in todays world. It's not just with women, it happens to everyone in every type of situation where service is needed. There are exceptions but not very many.

  7. asher

    asher Chicken Enabler Extraordinaire

    Jan 26, 2007
    Mountains of NC
    Quote:I have not had that experience myself. Men here...er...appreciate...women in the hardware store. heh There are a lot of women working there, too now, though.

    All of the men I've had experience with in hardware stores have been extremely accomodating and bend over backwards to help if I need help.

    My husband doesn't know a thing about "construction" and I think he's set foot in Lowe's 2x since it was built. hehe I love that store!
  8. asher

    asher Chicken Enabler Extraordinaire

    Jan 26, 2007
    Mountains of NC
    And I never knew they cut wood! Darnit! All this time I've been doing it myself with my saw at home! Wish I'd have known! (BUT I'm a bit of a control freak so I probably better keep doing it myself. ;-) )
  9. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Both of the local Lowe's have a Home Depot across the street in my town. Makes comparison shopping - and service - much better!
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Home Depot is horrible for customer service! I walked all through that store once and every employee I saw would practically run from me when they saw me coming! That was my first and last time in the Home Depot... [​IMG]

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