I own a home, which means I, like many others, have projects to do. Over the past 16 years of living in Tucker, I have built a river stone retaining wall about 4 feet high and 30 feet long, a replacement deck 16 x 20 with closed in storage below, replaced much of the siding on my house with hardie plank, renovated the living room and dining room - striping the rooms to their studs, installed all new light switches and outlets, not to mention the more mundane things like new painting throughout. Don’t even get me started talking about landscaping. The end of this month marks my 60th year on this planet, and I just started what I would consider another pretty major project: building a 10 x 32' covered front porch.
The old wood porch was removed last weekend, I began purchasing materials for the ledger and deck framing today at my local Home Depot on Jimmy Carter Blvd. I was amazed by the number of people in their signature orange aprons, but only one asked if they could help me find something. When it was time to purchase 2 x 10s several walked by, none approached. As I approached the contractors register, I jokingly ask two orange clad people if they were waiting in line, since I couldn’t get past them with my cart of wood and sheathing. The line was very long, other customers were waiting in the isles hidden from view, but only one clerk was ringing customers up at his register. I was the sixth in line, and watched orange aprons weave their way through the line, 4 others were at their posts nearby, but not ringing anyone up, or even looking up... and two sat at a desk talking to each other. Surely, I thought, others would notice the backup, and open the other register, but that never happened. My age started to remind me that standing in one place on a cement floor is not comfortable. With that, I wondered what it would be like to work behind a register, spending all day standing. Brutal. Even though, the cashier was pleasant once I finally got to him, but there was no offer to help load my materials... so I asked. I placed the carted materials outside the door, retrieved my truck, loaded all but the wood, and checked again if someone could help with the lumber. I eventually did it myself. Orange aprons retrieved carts, brought a fork lift out to unload a pallet of flooring and all promptly disappeared into the store. I felt invisible. A sixty-year old man who just spent several hundred dollars, loading lumber onto the roof of a suburban... and I was totally invisible.
I was angry. After securing my load, and STILL no-one checked on me, I went into the store, interrupted the gentleman and woman who were still sitting at the desk behind the contractor's counter- just as they were while I, and several others, stood waiting in line. (as was everyone who was at their posts.) I may have been a bit rude, for that... well... no apologies; I had reason. I told them that I had loaded the materials myself, after asking for help, and since this was the very beginning of my project, I asked him where he thought I might be buying the rest of my materials. He said he was sorry... and looked at the woman he had been taking too.
My grandfather used to say, "Don't bother to say you're sorry, if you're not going to do anything fix it." My guess is the store will be the same tomorrow, and the day after that, and the month after that. It is such a shame; the store is so convenient to my house. But over the past few years, I have left the store feeling this way before.... eventually I will keep my promise to myself and not return to this store again.