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Veterans Day at Home Depot Part 2

After my last post, I got a lot of feedback, support and questions. We waited until the day after to call the corporate offices to notify them about what happened and I wanted to give Home Depot a chance to follow up before responding to some of those questions. We have since heard back, so here it goes…

Corporate Home Depot is Sorry

The first big headline. There were no attempts to justify, excuse or rationalize the behavior. The Home Depot rep listened to our story, apologize repeatedly and seemed to genuinely feel bad about our experience. He took extensive notes, notified superiors and did everything he should and could do to handle the situation.

He gave us a little insight and said the store manager would follow up, but at a minimum, the manager we dealt with would be put on probation and required to go through training. He took down our information and told us the store manager should reach out to us within the next 48 hours.

The Store Manager is Sorry (and New)

It wasn’t until the third day that we heard from the store manager. He apologized for the delay and explained he had just started at the store the day after our complaint came through. The previous store manager had gone on vacation and “forgot” to mention the issue.

He then asked if we could tell him what happened. He said he had all the notes in front of him, but couldn’t believe what he was reading and would appreciate it if we would give him the whole story, so we did. And he still couldn’t believe it. He immediately began apologizing.

The Manager Will Be Dealt With

Just like corporate, the new store manager told us the minimum will be probation and required training, but he went a littler further and elaborated on exactly what that meant. If this is the first incident on file with this manager, then it’s probation and anywhere from 5 to 8 hours of training. He said if this is not the first time, then the manager will, in all likelihood, be let go.

The New Store Manager is Correcting Course

The new store manager has only recently gotten to this store and is just starting to take over. Already he’s had to deal with a few complaints, nothing quite like ours, but it sounded like he’s had his hands full. In addition to the offending manager going through training, he’s going to make sure all of the other managers are trained on how our situation should have been handled better.

Our impression is there are some foul attitudes running rampant among the current managers at this store. That probably means the entire organizational attitude is rubbish. Let’s face it, when the leadership has a bad attitude, it spreads and trickles down. The good news is, the new store manager seems to have no tolerance for it. Hopefully this means major changes at this particular store.

Good Employees are Recognized

One of the things we wanted to make clear throughout this whole ordeal was not all the employees are bad. We shared the names of the two amazing employees who did everything they could to salvage our experience. We told corporate their names and we shared them again with the store manager.

Why? Because despite the horrid interaction with the manager that happened to be on duty at the time, these employees did a good job. They were kind, professional, helpful, personable and a pleasure to work with. Up until we had to interact with the manager, we felt like we were being taken care of. Given the environment they are working in, I think that speaks volumes about the quality of their character and work ethic. They do not deserve to be collateral damage in their supervisor’s outburst.

The Discount Was Legit

I don’t know, maybe I buried the lead on this one, but we were right. Fun fact, my friends. On Veterans Day and other select holidays, the limit is increased and almost all restrictions are lifted on the Home Depot military discount. The every day discount applies to active duty, retirees (20+ years) and spouses with a current, non-expired military ID card. The everyday discount is 10% off up to a total savings of $50 per receipt. There is a long list of exempt products and materials, so be sure to check with an employee if you have questions.

On Veterans Day and other select holidays, such as Memorial Day and Independence Day, the savings limit is increased to $500 and many of the restrictions are lifted. Some items that do not qualify for a discount the rest of the year are discounted on these holidays.

My understanding is the requirements to receive the discount are also more relaxed. Instead of having a current military ID, you just need to have proof you served at some point in time, which means all veterans quality for the discount, not just retirees. This is where the policy seems to get a little fuzzy because it sounded like every store has a little leeway on this. I believe some stores honor the everyday discount for all veterans year round. Again, check with your local store.

What’s Next

No, we will not be boycotting Home Depot, slamming them on their Facebook page or lobbying to destroy their Yelp rating. For our local friends, we told them which store this was so they would be warned and, if they had a similar experience, would know they are not alone and should submit a complaint to corporate.

For the general public, we are choosing to withhold that information. The way I see it, those that may actually be in proximity and end up shopping at that store should know what they are walking into. For those that will never be within the city limits, they simply don’t need to know.

While we deeply appreciate the support, we do not want to see keyboard warriors savagely attacking a store they have never stepped foot in. For every rotten egg in the dozen, there are 11 others that are perfectly good. In other words, yes, this one manager was a total jerk, but there are tons of other good employees who are also good people and their income comes from this store and, to some degree, I’m sure their employment is tied to store income.

These are decent human beings who are already stuck working for someone who is probably pretty miserable to work for. They don’t deserve to suffer for his actions. Employees and managers at other stores don’t deserve to suffer for his actions either. So please, do not avoid your local Home Depot because of our experience.

Some Clarification on our Outrage

So, if we’re not looking to destroy Home Depot, what’s the point? The point is to share my story. The point is to highlight a wrong in hope of correcting it. The point is to hopefully prevent others from making the same mistake and choosing to be to outrageously rude and disrespectful. The point is to remind people that, when you choose to be mean and cruel, that’s a real person you are talking to.

Stores have no problem leveraging holidays for increases sales by offering discounts. There is a whole other conversation to be had around that, but it is what it is. I feel the real insult here is the when you leverage those holidays to garner sales and then, on that holiday, disrespect the people the holiday was established to honor.

Kindness Matters

This is also a situation that really gets under my skin because, at it’s core, it highlights the failures of the “We Support Military” mindset. Here’s what I mean…

There are many individuals and companies that proclaim they support military. They love to brag and boast and highlight what they are doing right. It’s good PR, and, at face value, it’s a good thing. The problem is it’s not as simply as waving a flag saying “We love our vet/mil spouses/active duty etc.”

The real work of supporting military is in the day to day of it. From my perspective, the only real way to support all military members and their families is empathy. Unless someone is in uniform or wearing a “Proud Wife” shirt, you will probably never know who around you is a military-connected individual. You will not know who is struggling through a deployment. Who is packing up to move across the country to a new duty station. Who is working late night shifts and is never home to see their kids. You will never know who just struggled through a long hard deployment or who has seen things that cannot be unseen.

The only way to truly care for our military members and their families is to start treating everyone we meet with more humanity. Odds are, if you had the time and took the time to hear their story, you would really feel for them. Your attitude and behavior would probably change. In our case, the manager knew we were a military family and not only did he choose to not care, he chose to throw it back in our faces. How you manage to use someones military service to shame them… I just don’t think I’ll ever understand.

So just be kind. Choose kindness.

Jessica

Military spouse and mom of one with experience in marketing, volunteer management and, most recently, web design, project support and copy writing. Currently leveraging a BS in Marketing from a top University to negotiate with a pint-sized version of myself. Outside of work and managing the household, I am a serial dabbler and have rarely met a craft or hobby I didn't enjoy. Whether it's painting, volunteering, or running through the sprinklers, there's always some small way to make every day its own adventure.

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