Defeating Despotism One Kitchen Counter at a Time

The trip to Home Despot is often enough to make me drag my heels for weeks on basic home improvement tasks. It's usually too crowded, nobody useful works there, nothing is labeled. I suppose if you're a elbow-throwing contractor that knows what he's looking for, that might not be so bad. For a neophyte like me, it's an exercise in frustration with every single visit.

So why did I keep on going back for more? Simply put, it was the most convenient home improvement store to get to. The nearest Lowe's for a long time was right next to the freeway on the other side of Utah's Big Dig (aka State Street). A few months ago, one opened up closer to us next door to a Walmart. Because it was more-or-less on the way home, I dropped in there one evening to pick up a new sprinkler. Now I'm a convert to the Lowe's way of doing business.

For starters, the store is very well-lit and everything is labeled. They even have the screws separated into areas depending on what kind of project they're for. Their selection is also significantly better than Home Depot. A quick trip by the lighting aisle showed more ceiling fans that I'd know what to do with. The real kicker, however, is that Lowe's employees know what the heck they're talking about. I can't count the number of times I'd ask someone at Home Depot where something is and the obvious answer is to walk right over to where I was looking and start looking around like I had just been doing for the last 10 minutes. Yes, that's it, I'm just blind. Or stupid. Or both.

Anyway, we're been sufficiently impressed with Lowe's to buy all of the stuff we need for the new kitchen counters from there. The pre-cut sections were really cheap and look really nice. (I'd give you some sneak peeks, but Shauna is in LA with the camera right now.) It was also really helpful that pretty much every bit we'd need was all in the same area so that we didn't have to go trekking across the entire store. I'd like to offer a special thanks to Scott, the guy who talked over the costs of counters and installation and pointed out the pre-cut sections were we brave enough to do it ourselves.

Being better than Home Depot is paying off for them too. While the 800-pound gorilla of handyman projects is posting big fat losses, Lowe's is turning a profit. Hmmm. Might have something to do with offering better service and selection. 

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5 Responses

  1. Travis says:

    Wow! My experience is just the exact opposite. I haven’t been in a Lowe’s for 8 years because of the poor customer service and the terrible selection. I love Home Depot. I can always find what I want and I get great info from the associates. Interesting.

  2. Jason says:

    I too am a Lowe’s fan. I cringe walking into the orange box within a box.

    Once at Home Depot, I was standing in front of a pallet of Riverside cement, and I requested 10 bags.

    The guy said he wasn’t even sure that we carried that brand.

    I looked to my right and said “You mean THIS brand, that you have pallet over pallet of?”

    “Edna can help you.”

    The buck was passed again.

  3. Kristi says:

    Jesse, I used to work at that Home Depot. It’s considered the worst in the valley and has the highest employee turnover rate. No one knows what they’re doing. Go to Lowes. It’s worth the extra time and gas. (they also have a much better hardware selection).

  4. Colleen says:

    Home Depot is generally a lot less expensive though, so if you know what you’re doing, it’s the place to go. And it also depends on the store you go to. In Lehi there is a Home Depot and a Lowes across the street from each other. In Sandy I always went to Lowes. In Lehi, it’s Home Depot every time. They take care of me there.

  5. Jesse says:

    Kristi: Actually… the new Lowe’s is closer than Home Depot and I can stop by there on the way home without going out of my way. That’s a big plus for me.

    It’s funny how the experience differs on a store-by-store basis. You’d think it’s some kind of franchise with that kind of inconsistent quality. My mom swore off the Lowe’s in her area some time ago over some bad experiences, but she’d be a convert to the one we have in the Sandy gravel pit.

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