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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bracing for Home Depot

I pray for strength.

I have to go to the Home Depot.

I try to like Home Depot. They hire people with special needs and they have everything you could ever need to fix anything.

But I have a theory about what actually goes on there. Four things:

First, if an employee sees you coming to them for help, they run. They try to be clever, looking past you like they didn't see you, or trying to look as though they are on a mission. I'm sure they are. The mission is to get to the break room as fast as possible and then stand in there and laugh with all the other employees that they got away with it again. While smoking.

Second, each employee can only do one thing at a time. So should the employee have the misfortune of actually having to help a customer, other customers gather around hoping for an audience with the employee who will not deign to let you hold his robes, let alone ask where in the store they make keys.

Third, if you actually get an employee to talk to you, they will tell you they'll go 'check on it' and then run away never to return, no doubt laughing in the break room with the employees who didn't have to even talk to the customer first. And smoking.

All three of these Home Depot rules are thrown to the wind if the customer is an attractive woman. Several employees will gather around an attractive woman, hold her purse and shine her shoes, offer her a cold drink and feed her grapes while they carry her to her car on a litter.

So you can imagine how flumaxed they are to see us coming. Sister St. Aloysius is rather attractive in a nunny sort of way. She was invited, after all, to a cuddle party. She might even be more attractive if she didn't wear the nun shoes. Hard to say.

But she IS a nun. She is wearing a small veil.

And she's with me. I know I scare small children. I can't imagine what I do to Home Depot employees.

The two of us together looking for help in the Home Depot causes the employees to short circuit, I think. The combination of an attractive (enough for Home Depot) woman, the employee's need to simply wander around the store aimlessly until it's time to go home and me, who embodies a reminder of eternal damnation, causes them to go completely haywire.

So we've learned to snag them while they are caught in the headlights of stupefication, wondering why they are both attracted and terrified, both curious and repelled, and get them to do our bidding. Which brings me to point four:

When you actually do snag a Home Depot employee to help you they will tell you absolutely anything that pops into their brains, hand you the wrong thing in the wrong size and disappear. I think at this point Home Depot employees actually have the ability to disintegrate and reintegrate in the break room. And smoke.

I have no small amount of glee knowing that both Sister St. Aloysius and I did in fact stick it to the smokers in last Tuesday's election.

Headed for confession on Saturday. Wondering if the suffering involved in a trip to Home Depot will cancel out the penance for the glee. Probably not.


Nicholas Jagneaux said...

Bingo on the "attractive lady" thing that they do.

My wife and her friend (both attractive, my wife moreso) went to a Home Depot-like big box, wearing their best "HGTV", ready to get dirty outfits: old jeans, worn t-shirts, no make-up.

They couldn't buy attention.

The next weekend, they stopped in to pick up a couple of finishing touches - this time dressed very nicely.

They had practically every "Associate" available waiting to help them.

duchessSoF said...

Fat chicks like me who are attractive short-circuit them too. Brain registers "Attractive but FAT". The employee then stares at me making a decision.

So I usually play up the helpless little girl act. I pick an area that has a lot of shelves and men...and stand there in a bright red outfit. I have big brown eyes and do this kind of "help me kind sir" look. This usually works for some reason.

Then I get somebody who tries to help me but sends me to somebody else.

amaupin0402 said...

funny that you should write about this, becasue i just went to home deot dressed as a nun for holloween! your right about small children being afraid and employees staring at me. i had to ask one where i could find the rope and she took me to it. then she asked me how much rope i needed and i replied "just enough to make a hangmans noose." talk about a perplexed sales person!

Tracy said...

You didn't go yet, Sister, did you? Oh, please let me go to Home Depot for you! I live well within driving distance of LA, and I can be attractive enough when I care to be. Please, please, please?

Milehimama said...

That's why you should take small children with you (they might even be better if they are scared out of their wits)
Announce within earshot of an employee (preferably one stocking supplies)
Oh, I can't find that toilet flange. It's a brown circle. Kids, can you go find me some brown circles?"
Then make a move like you're going to let the wee runs run through the store on a search and destroy mission.
Instant help.

Kasia said...

I hate going to Home Depot too. However, while I've used Duchess' technique with some success, I've also learned that sometimes I can't rely on it. After all, we've raised a few generations of men who have been rigorously trained to ignore their Y chromosome when they see a damsel in distress. And I could probably pass for a habitless nun if I tried, so forget about getting help from most men under 40.

My usual technique is to walk purposefully through the store until I find an employee (sometimes takes several passes). If all else fails, I pounce on the poor 'sitting ducks' at registers or paint-mixing stations or whatever, and ask for help. Once I find an employee, I do not let him (it's almost always a him) out of my sight until he has either helped me or passed me off to another employee, who is also in my sight.

As a general rule, though, my local Aco has better prices and decent selection than those big-box stores. And I can actually get helped there. It's a much more pleasant experience.

The Cedar Chest said...

I just read the cuddle party post. Can I just say, "EWWWWW". Now and then our pastor's will have us get up after worship and give each of those around us a hearty handshake. Of course, handshaking is about as far as Mennonites go. Some will hug, but not all...very reserved people we are.


Kasia said...

Actually, the "cuddle party" reminded me of the youth retreats from the church I grew up in. (Unitarian-Universalist; I don't recommend it.) I never participated in the egregious cuddlefests, though I did eventually grow to like a nice warm hug from someone I like. When I visited a downtown Catholic parish and was hugged by the usher, though, that was a bit much...

CMinor said...

I'm more of a Lowe's person myself; interestingly, though I'm 40+, plump, and usually wearing my oldest clothes when I go there, I'm always able to snag an employee (though the Circle of Customers phenomenon is not unique to HD.)

The employees who will tell you anything and try to give you the wrong thing are not unique to HD either. My recommendation: look for an employee with gray hair. Really. They often are or have been the guys (or gals) who actually go to your house and install things if you contract for that service, and have experience with the things they are selling you. I've done a number of projects on advice from some of these folks, and they haven't steered me wrong yet. The under-21 set, on the other hand, will try to convince you they know all about the materials whether they do or not.

Monica said...

I typically ask not an employee, but another customer who looks like he runs his own business and knows what he's buying. I've had much better luck with this method than asking any employee.

The Maid of the North said...

Hey! I've recently started reading the blog, and I had a question for you: can a non-catholic um...participate (I'm not sure whether or not that's the right word)...in confession? Or do you have to be Catholic?


Sister Mary Martha said...

Miss North, in order to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as we now call it, you do have to be a Catholic. That should be reason enough for you to switch over! We also have guitar Masses.

The Maid of the North said...

Guitar masses? Really? Well then, I guess I just need to find me a Catholic church...;-D. In all seriousness, while I do deeply respect Catholicism (sp?), I'm not prepared to take that step. Thank you for answering my question, though. I really appreciate it.

Karen M. said...

ROFLOL......I can't stop laughing! Boy, I need to get out more!
God bless Sister Mary Martha!

Jane said...

I know this is an old post and you might not see this comment, but one thing that might help is to find out if someone from your parish works there, and when he or she works, and go then.

My mother and I were having trouble finding a lock for our new back door, and we came across a Home Depot employee who looked trustworthy, and we asked for help. He turned out to be a lector at our parish (why we had this feeling that he would actually be helpful), and he not only helped us find the lock he directed us to the guy who could key the lock to our existing keys, and who didn't charge us the usual five dollars for re-keying when he found out we were friends of the first fellow.

Anonymous said...

It is funny, I work on the night shift in Puyallup, WA. I usually interact with customers before I even clock in! My whole crew is this way, yet WE can't even find the closers! May I suggest to everyone around the world that in order to get great customer service at Home Depot, get there about 15 min. before closing! We don't care how long you stay, we are there for another 8 hours! Best wishes, and if you are in the area, stop on in, everyone is welcome to the night stalkers! (Oops, stockers)