Pharyngula

Lowe’s or Home Depot?

If you’re considering purchasing some supplies for home repair from one of the mega-chains, you might want to consider their advertising policies. Archy makes a good case that you should shop at Lowe’s—they don’t support barking mad reactionary freaks.

Of course, it’s a bit irrelevant to me, since I don’t have either one near me. Instead, we’ve got four or five small locally owned hardware stores. Their owners might be sympathetic to Bill O’Reilly, but they don’t have enough money to buy air time on his show.

Comments

  1. #1 vjack
    July 29, 2007

    I have both near me but have always preferred Lowe’s (probably because it was here first). I guess this gives me another reason to stay there. Thanks for the info.

  2. #2 Paul Sunstone
    July 29, 2007

    Looks like there could be a wee bit of a backlash against O’Reilly’s attack on the KOS site.

  3. #3 afterthought
    July 29, 2007

    That CEO buyout at Home Depot got them crossed off my list.

  4. #4 afterthought
    July 29, 2007

    I should add that this incident makes it clear that they really are arrogant assholes, which is what I thought after the CEO thing.

  5. #5 Moses
    July 29, 2007

    I’ll be blunt, Home Depot sucks. Much of the merchandise, especially the lumber, is low-quality and the prices are not particularly better than smaller stores and seem to be, on average, about 10% higher than Lowes. And don’t even get me started on the plants and pond materials…

    I do shop at Lowes. It’s not nearly as convenient as Home Depot, but the prices are significantly better.

    So I don’t need ideological reasons to pass on Home Depot. I’ve been singularly unimpressed with them since I first ran into them in the late 80’s.

  6. #6 vjack
    July 29, 2007
  7. #7 bernarda
    July 29, 2007

    I don’t know about Lowes, but Home Depot buys a lot of its lumber from China which is plundering the forests of neighboring countries to fill the demand. China is one of the major current causes of deforestation.

  8. #8 Scott Hatfield, OM
    July 29, 2007

    My beef with Home Depot is that, at least in my neck of the woods, is poor customer service. Five years ago, during peak hours, they would have four-five human cashiers working at once. Now, they’ll have one cashier and another employee who supervises the self-check out machines. Anything that can’t be processed through the machines (such as refilling a propane tank) lands you in the long line with the sole cashier. Any problem with the machines or something that the cashier can’t address will require management, who is in all likelihood not out on the floor during peak hours in the summer, but in the back (where the AC is). A simple errand that might’ve taken five minutes a few years back has become a 30-45 minute exercise.

    Penny-wise, pound-foolish. I’m going to take my business to Orchard Supply, where customer service is valued.

  9. #9 Lulu
    July 29, 2007

    My Lowe’s is closer anyway. But thanks for the news. Gotta check Kos every so often… Kos, a hate group. lol.

  10. #10 Carlie
    July 29, 2007

    Huh. I remember something about Lowe’s pulling advertising from BillO back when he made despicable comments about Shawn Hornbeck. I guess they gave him a second chance? Hopefully that was the last one, then.

  11. #11 sailor
    July 29, 2007

    “He decided Daily Kos was a hate group by sending some staffers out to comb through the thousands of diaries and hundreds of thousands of comments at Kos to look for outrageous statements.”

    Pretty funny considering one of the best he could come up with is “they called the pope a primate”.

    This statement is true whether you spell primate with a small or capital P, and in no way derogatory.

    Either he is completely ignorant or worse he thinks his audience is completely ignorant, and he can pull the wool over their eyes.

  12. #12 Eamon Knight
    July 29, 2007

    Oh dear. There’s a HD less than a kilometer down the road (very handy for when you realize the job requires a left-handed widget NOW to make further progress), closer than any other h/w store. The nearest other big-box place is Rona, halfway across town. (And about Canadian Tire, well the less said the better….).

    Anyways, this probably isn’t so relevant up here in Canada.

    But yeah, HD’s dimensional lumber sucks — twists and bends like a snake on LSD.

  13. #13 afterthought
    July 29, 2007

    But yeah, HD’s dimensional lumber sucks — twists and bends like a snake on LSD.

    I like this description. Can I borrow it sometime?

  14. #14 Nan
    July 29, 2007

    More things to keep in mind when contemplating shopping at Home Depot: Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick, and dogfighting.

  15. #15 Divalent
    July 29, 2007

    Nan said: “More things to keep in mind when contemplating shopping at Home Depot: Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick, and dogfighting.”

    Now that is just slander. (Technically, it’s libel)

    (why not take the further step and link up Jimmy Carter?)

  16. #16 Ray S
    July 29, 2007

    says Nan:
    More things to keep in mind when contemplating shopping at Home Depot: Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick, and dogfighting.

    Arthur Blank is retired and has no official capacity with Home Depot. Although he does own the Falcons who employ Mr. Vick, he has been unequivocal in his denouncement of Mr. Vick’s alleged activities. He is constrained in what he can do regarding Mr. Vick’s employment by NFL policies and the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL player’s union. It has been interesting to watch the pro-union people locally suggest that Arthur Blank, as owner, should be able to unilaterally fire one of his employees for being indicted (not yet convicted) of a crime. Hypocrisy comes in many flavors.

    As a business owner myself, one has to constantly gauge whether the whining you hear is coming as a result of a realistic problem or just the reality that you can’t please everyone. Some of those protesting the recent buyout (which followed his original employment agreement) of Nardelli to replace him as CEO were the ones saying you had to make such agreements to get top notch talent. Home Depot isn’t stupid, but they need to hear directly from real people. They won’t connect this to any particular Faux Newz blowhard just because you fail to show up and buy a 2 x 4. Vote with your feet if you want, but tell them you’re doing it or they won’t know why. If they get enough of those letters, they’ll know what to do.

    Dumping your stock isn’t going to do it as that transaction isn’t actually with the company. you’re just selling your fractional ownership to a third party. Be smart instead of emotional.

  17. #17 Ken Mareld
    July 29, 2007

    I won’t shop at Home Depot or Lowe’s. They are not real hardware stores. If I ask for a 3/8’s nipple with male 1/4 NPT they just give me a confused look. I instead am lucky enough to be near a McLendon’s in the Seattle area. There the clerk will simply ask back ‘Brass or steel?’.
    The web used to have an interesting group called BuyBlue.org that rated corporations by who they contributed political money to. Alas, they folded. Home Depot is about as far right wing as it gets.

    Ken

  18. #18 Chou Chou
    July 29, 2007

    That’s funny, I just had this conversation with my girlfriend recently. Which one is better, lowes or home depot? I used to work for home depot, and I know it’s run by a bunch of nascar-loving republicans, but what about lowes? I feel like they are really just about equal in their lack of conscious, in their drive for money/power, in their lack of training of associates. But one has a better PR department, apparently.

  19. #19 craig
    July 29, 2007

    I’ve chosen Lowe’s over Home Depot for the last few years simply because Home Depot gave huge sums to the Bush campaign and the GOP. Lowe’s also gives the balance of its campaign donations to the GOP, but to a much lesser degree.

  20. #20 yoshi
    July 29, 2007

    @craig

    So? All companies give money to both parties. Its standard operating procedure.

    Home Depots response is a symptom of a bigger problem. Their customer service is awful. Its hit rock bottom in the last few years. I made my first trip to Lowes a couple of years ago and I was blown away – actual selections! knowledgeable employees! Makes it worth the extra 30 minutes I have to drive to get there.

  21. #21 Interrobang
    July 29, 2007

    I actually work in a very small subset of the hardware/lumber/building materials industry, and you’re generally better off supporting local members of one of the many “buying groups” in the industry. These are basically collectives of autonomous dealers (how socialist!) that do their purchasing (and sometimes their transaction processing) centrally to enable them to compete with companies like Lowe’s, Home Despot, Rona, and Canadian Tire.

    Fortunately for me, there’s a Copp’s Buildall within walking distance of my house, so they’ve been getting most of my hardware-store dollars these days.

  22. #22 Moses
    July 29, 2007

    Posted by: Divalent | July 29, 2007 10:41 AM

    Nan said: “More things to keep in mind when contemplating shopping at Home Depot: Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick, and dogfighting.”

    Now that is just slander. (Technically, it’s libel)

    (why not take the further step and link up Jimmy Carter?)

    It’s not libel or slander. Blank owns the Falcons & was a founder of Home Depot. Vick plays football for the Falcons, a team owned by Blank. Vick is charged with a pretty heinous crime – torturing animals to death via dog-fighting. All these statements, of public persons, are true and are . Nowhere in there did Nan accuse Blank and/or Home Depot with Vick’s alleged crime. In fact, she didn’t even say Vick was guilty.

    Which is fine. Not only are all statements true, but they also fall within “‘opinion and criticism’ of a public figure,” which is also a strong defense against defamation charges. Just like your comments to Nan’s comments. Kind of ironic, eh?

  23. #23 bernarda
    July 29, 2007

    moses says, “Vick is charged with a pretty heinous crime – torturing animals to death via dog-fighting.”

    How is that a “heinous crime”? It is just a bunch of dogs. They are not exactly an endangered species. It might be horrible for some, but it is not “heinous”.

    Other societies have cock fighting or even cricket fighting. Frankly, I don’t care. But in fact, it is not dogs that are the problem, it is their asshole owners who think everyone should like their machine to produce shit.

    Some Asian societies eat dogs. That is at least a use for them.

  24. #24 Timothy
    July 29, 2007

    Lowe’s did back the “patriotic” cheerleading into Iraq though, so you might not want to support them either. I’m sure there’s a local hardware shop that will do for most of those purchases anyway.

  25. #25 Mike
    July 29, 2007

    If you want to let Home Depot know what you think:

    Ron Jarvis, Vice President of Environmental Innovation
    ron_jarvis at homedepot dot com

    Frank Blake, Chief Executive Officer
    francis_blake at homedepot dot com

    Carol Tome, Chief Financial Officer
    carol_tome at homedepot dot com

  26. #26 Darb y
    July 29, 2007

    I have the last refuge of the angered geek – I’ve put up a webpage about my dealings with Home Depot:

    http://faculty.fmcc.suny.edu/mcdarby/Pages/Adventures-in-Snowblowing.htm

  27. #27 Yorker
    July 29, 2007

    You Americans have it good when it comes to DIY stores. I lived in Florida and used HD, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware. Now I’m back in the UK and would love to see even an HD open up here. The DIY stores we have are pathetic, completely useless untrained assistants, they almost never have what I want and when they do they charge twice the price of an American DIY store. They seem to operate a policy of stocking only the absolute bare minimum of what they think a householder would need.

    I buy most of my stuff from specialist places now, at least they know what I’m talking about.

  28. #28 Divalent
    July 29, 2007

    Moses said: “It’s not libel or slander. … [remaining gibberish deleted]”

    Hey! It’s not nice to troll for lawyers.

  29. #29 Evolving Squid
    July 29, 2007

    I don’t watch TV at all, so where companies advertise on TV is of no relevance to me.

    I look for good quality and fair prices. In general, I think boycotts are a waste of time and effort. Has there ever been a recorded case of a boycott having any substantial effect?

    In my case, there’s a HD and a Rona near me… I buy my lumber at Rona, but little crap that I need from time to time comes from Home Depot, and will continue to do so. I just don’t care where their advertising dollars go.

  30. #30 Skeptyk
    July 29, 2007

    In my experience, family-owned hardware stores (usually in a collective buying group, as Interrobang mentioned) have the most knowledgeable employees, as well as supporting the local Little League, Fire Dept, Rescue Squad and so on. If they don’t have what I want, they can get it in a couple of days.

    Convenience? Cheesh, I live in Vermont, so folks complaining that changing big boxes means driving halfway across town, well, I can’t relate. The nearest Home Despot is 45 mimutes away, the nearest Lowe’s is 55 minutes away, but several good family stores are 20 minutes away, in neighboring New York State.

  31. #31 Alan
    July 29, 2007

    I don’t think there’s much difference between them–or really any large publicly held US corporation. Home Depot does a better job of stocking what I need, and according to the sites that Dailykos points to about shopping blue, Lowe’s is a major contributor to republican causes while Lowe’s isn’t. Who knows the truth about that and how would we really know the truth? I’m not sure.
    Alan

  32. #32 ike
    July 29, 2007

    I have not read the comments. If you are picking the big box don’t. I have worked for over twenty years in a local supply house. We make a business out of their mistakes. Lowes and hd are filled with ameatuers. They cannot sell you a grohe shower system. They cannot sell you a steam unit. They cannot service anything.

  33. #33 John
    July 29, 2007

    You’re so fortunate. Big box retailers drove our excellent small local hardware/lumber stores out of business years ago.

  34. #34 Azkyroth
    July 29, 2007

    Bernarda:

    On the off chance you aren’t just trolling: because it’s cruel, you sociopathic twit.

  35. #35 Kseniya
    July 29, 2007

    Cricket fighting is awful, especially when the players start swinging those bit bats at each other.

  36. #36 Pattanowski
    July 30, 2007

    While on the subject of mega-corperations and lunatics, I thought that you folks may like to know that Coca-Cola and AIG are all buddy-buddy in the creation museum together. It’s in the museum “blog” archives.

  37. #37 craig
    July 30, 2007

    “@craig

    So? All companies give money to both parties. Its standard operating procedure.”

    That’s not what I said. Lowes gives to both parties. Home Depot gives massively to the GOP and essentially nothing to the Democratic party, they are major GOP supporters.

  38. #38 bernarda
    July 30, 2007

    azkyroth, Thank you for sharing, but if you read my post again, you will see that I objected to using the word “heinous”. So you think that because I don’t like dogs, that makes me a sociopath. Good thinking.

  39. #39 Azkyroth
    July 30, 2007

    azkyroth, Thank you for sharing, but if you read my post again, you will see that I objected to using the word “heinous”. So you think that because I don’t like dogs, that makes me a sociopath. Good thinking.

    I think the fact that you not only manifest an appalling lack of empathy for creatures that the available evidence suggests to be able to suffer from such treatment to a degree comparable to that humans experience but seem to be completely unaware that this is a personality trait that most sane humans regard with loathing and more than a little apprehension matches the definitions of sociopathy I’ve seen (I also note that sadistic behavior towards animals is commonly cited as a “warning sign”). The fact that you apparently think that “not liking” dogs is sufficient justification for being indifferent to gratuitously cruel treatment of dogs further supports my inference.

  40. #40 bernarda
    July 30, 2007

    azkyroth, thank you for your expert psychiatric opinion.

    But what evidence do you have for this “this is a personality trait that most sane humans regard with loathing”?

    Am I to suppose that you think all people who like bullfighting or fox hunting are also sociopaths?

    I didn’t say I liked any of these things, but as you noticed, I am indifferent to them. So am I worse than those who are active fans? From my inexpert opinion, your fanaticism about this might be a sign of a personality disorder.

  41. #41 paleotn
    July 30, 2007

    bernarda scribbled….”I am indifferent to them.”

    Indifference is not the point, bernarda, having no empathy for a creature that is tortured to death IS the point. That is mildly sociopathic at best. I don’t give a rats arse in hades if it’s cock fights, dog fights, bull fights, you name it. Causing undue suffereing to other creatures for human enjoyment is sick, period, end of story.

    “Some Asian societies eat dogs. That is at least a use for them.”

    I guess you have no experience with the working breeds, or are you simply being “indifferent.” Azkyroth is right, I think sociopathic twit fits you quite well.

  42. #42 Bill Dauphin
    July 30, 2007

    Some Asian societies eat dogs.

    And they’re quite tasty, too! When I lived in Korea (my wife and I taught English in Seoul in the late 80s), friends took me to a restaurant that specialized in dog stew, a delicacy to which they ascribe many benefits, including male “stamina” [wink, wink]. It’s important to note, though, that the dogs Koreans eat are raised as food animals, just as we raise pigs and chickens. They are not stolen pets (Koreans don’t generally have the habit of keeping dogs or cats as housepets anyway), and they’re not forced to fight to the death.

    Domesticated animals are whatever they are in whatever culture they live in: For Koreans, eating dog is perfectly natural, because dogs are raised as food; in Western culture, we treat dogs (and cats) like provisional family members, so eating them is unthinkable, and forcing them to fight to the death for our amusement is even that much more heinous than it already would be (i.e., we seem to be much more horrified by dogfighting than by cockfighting, which is essentially the same thing with less “cuddly” animals).

    All that said, though, it’s a HUGE dose of guilt-by-association to blame Home Depot for the fact that a retired company founder owns a completely separate business that employs one person who’s been accused of being involved in dogfighting. I thought we were all committed to reason here?

  43. #43 George
    July 30, 2007

    Lowes is just a better store than Home Depot. They actually have what you are looking for, especially when what you are looking for is not an ordinary nail or 2×4.

  44. #44 bernarda
    July 30, 2007

    paleotn “Azkyroth is right, I think sociopathic twit fits you quite well.” Thank you too for your expert psychiatric opinion.

    “I guess you have no experience with the working breeds” No I don’t. Now that might be called mistreatment of animals too. The animals didn’t ask to be bred into specific shapes and sizes to please the esthetic tastes of humans, who must be a bit twisted to even want to do this.

    On Home Depot, my point above was that it buys transformed wood from China which gets the raw material by devastating the forests of neighboring countries. Environmentalists would get on the case of any American company that had like practices.

  45. #45 Jeff
    July 30, 2007

    My wife works for Home Depot, and I find the lack of customer service there or anywhere has less to do with management practices and more to do with people not giving a fuck. My wife bends over backwards to help people, where most of the other employees do their best to avoid customer interaction.

  46. #46 ihateaphids
    July 30, 2007

    I can’t believe it! After hearing about this I decided what the heck and wrote them a letter. Good ole Vijay wrote me back with the exact same response that was posted on Archy. Somehow, by voicing my concern that they support a rightwing hateful blowhard, I am not a good liberal because they have to take time away from discovering environmentally friendly ways to level forests for lumber in order to respond to me. I am sure Vijay is actively involved in Home Despots ‘save the environment’ activities, so I’m just happy he had the time to reply to me with a form letter.

    Dear Customer,

    Thank you for contacting The Home Depot Customer Care.

    We appreciate you taking the time to forward your concerns regarding The
    Home Depot’s sponsorship of Bill O’ Reilly’s show on FOX.

    The Home Depot has a strong passion for being environmentally
    responsible both in the Company’s operating principles and in
    responsible retailing through our industry-leading Eco Options
    initiative, a program that allows customers to easily identify products
    that have less of an impact on the environment and empowers them to help
    make a difference in their own homes. We have led many initiatives with
    interest groups to develop standards and set environmental goals for
    ourselves and suppliers. Some of these at great expense and sweat equity
    to the company.

    Our advertising campaigns have one simple objective to communicate with
    audiences in the most effective way possible. The Company is receptive
    to many forms and styles of media as we seek a balanced representation
    of programming to reach our customer base. Unfortunately campaigns like
    this one cause us to take time away from our sustainability goals and
    address a variance of political views.

    Sincerely,

    Vijay
    Customer Care.

  47. #47 Azkyroth
    July 30, 2007

    But what evidence do you have for this “this is a personality trait that most sane humans regard with loathing”?

    For starters…

    Am I to suppose that you think all people who like bullfighting or fox hunting are also sociopaths?

    The (simplified) definition of a sociopath is a person with a pathological lack of conscience and empathy. Condoning gratuitously cruel treatment of beings capable of suffering–both actively and through passive indifference–logically fits that criterion. On what basis would you contest this?

    No I don’t. Now that might be called mistreatment of animals too. The animals didn’t ask to be bred into specific shapes and sizes to please the esthetic tastes of humans, who must be a bit twisted to even want to do this.

    Yes, some people do make that argument, but they’re widely recognized as lunatics. There’s a difference here; there is no rational objection to breeding dogs for certain traits because doing so does not cause them to suffer. Vivisecting and grafting parts and muscles to pre-existing dogs in order to give them those characteristics, on the other hand, would be cruel, and we would absolutely object. Similarly, we do not object to competitions between animals which are conducted humanely and do not involve combat or similar endangerment and suffering. See the difference yet?

  48. #48 Pygmy Loris
    July 30, 2007

    bernarda,

    Citing another culture’s consumption of dogs for food is a red herring. The objection to dog fights is not because the dogs die. It’s because the animals, which are capable of feeling it, are tortured to death. Torture is wrong, whether you do it to a human being, a dog, a cat or whatever. I have no problem eating animals that are killed in a humane manner, but I would never condone torturing an animal to death. You’re a heartless person who believes that disliking something makes it okay to torture it. I’m sorry, but I don’t think many people here are going to follow you down that road. Do you think it’s okay to torture people you don’t like too?

  49. #49 bernarda
    July 31, 2007

    “Do you think it’s okay to torture people you don’t like too?”

    Do I detect something from PETA there? They commonly associate treatment of animals with supposedly similar treatment of people.

    I am not a fan of bullfighting or dogfighting or similar things and don’t enjoy them, so I find it curious that I get the grief rather than the people who promote and enjoy these things. But even things like horse racing or dog racing could be considered cruel to animals.

    “I have no problem eating animals that are killed in a humane manner, but I would never condone torturing an animal to death.”

    Do you eat chicken? Here is where it comes from straight to your supermarket.

    In this first video go to about 17 minutes into it.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5774892958354867332&q=type%3Agpick

    Where does your milk come from?

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3486838871531386599&q=type%3Agpick

  50. #50 bernarda
    July 31, 2007

    So as to not have too many links in a post, I split the posts. Here is a bit more on poultry and meat processing.

    http://www.wspa.org.uk/news.asp?newsID=273

  51. #51 Pygmy Loris
    August 3, 2007

    bernarda,

    Sorry the reply is so late in coming. Hope you might still check this thread.

    I’m not from PETA. Like I said I eat meat. My problem is torturing any animal capable of appreciating the pain of the torture. My chicken doesn’t come from a supermarket and I don’t drink milk. While I do eat butter and cheese, I’m very picky about the sources of the milk used. Oh, and most of the meat I do eat is venison or elk. One slug to the head is all it takes: quick, easy.

    See, you thought you’d catch me with your industrial food processing, but I try very hard to keep industrial animal products out of my diet. It’s not necessarily because the animals are mistreated (though that’s a big reason) but because they’re not healthy. You don’t get healthy meat from a cow that’s been fed growth hormones and antibiotics, then slaughtered in an industrial operation that doesn’t allow workers enough time for even a semblance of humane treatment or sanitation.

    As I said before, you don’t seem to be able to appreciate the difference between killing and torture. To me this is a moral difference and an important one. There’s another moral issue here that I’ll address. Sometimes killing has a purpose. For cows, chickens, pigs etc. that purpose is food for humans. Torturing an animal to death for money and pride is empty. I don’t like it. Though it may sound irrational to judge the morality of a particular animal’s death in this way, to me it makes sense.

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