Not a real Home Depot worker...
Maybe in four years.
Years ago there was a guy in my bowling league who worked at Home Depot. We probably only bowled against his team a couple of times, but this guy stood out to me. He stood out because he was somewhat unusual looking, as in kinda creepy, as in you might not hire him to babysit your children kinda creepy. He also did not strike me as being particularly bright. In fact I thought he was downright stupid. If he was in the movie “Dumb and Dumber,” he could have stared in both parts.
Neil (not his real name) (actually who cares, it was his real name) worked at Home Depot. I know that because I once overheard him discussing how all of his bosses were really stupid and all the customers who shopped there were even more stupid.
Several years after bowling in this league I ran into Neil while shopping at Home Depot. He was working as a cashier. I was purchasing several items and the shortest check-out line was Neil’s. I checked out at his register. I nodded in recognition when I approached him, but Neil did not seem to know me. I did not try and refresh his memory.
I checked out my items, paid and left the store. As I exited the store, lights flashed and bells rang. I stopped. I was confused because I knew I did not shop lift anything. I turned and looked, waiting for a store rep to frisk me. Neil waved me on, “Go ahead, it does that all the time. Don’t worry about it.”
Cleared of any crime, I left the store. As I was crossing through the parking lot to my car I started to think about what I had just purchased. The final tab seemed low…almost $70 low. I pulled out the receipt and checked it off. Sure enough I was not charged for a $68 outside light that I had just “bought.”
“No wonder the bells went off” I thought, “Numbnutz Neil never rang up the light fixture and did not run it through the demagnetizing strip which allows items to leave the store without setting off the alarms.”
I considered playing stupid and leaving for home with a free $68 light fixture, but a vision of my father, the original Mr. Honesty, waving a finger at me from heaven made me turn back.
I returned to Neil’s register.
“I don’t think you charged me for this” I said pulling out the box holding the fixture. “I think that is what set off the alarm.”
“Oh no. those things go off all the time. I think they’re broken.”
“Well maybe, but here is the receipt, I don’t see where I was charged for the light.”
Neil examined the receipt for about five minutes before realizing he screwed up.
“Hmmm, I guess the system didn’t pick this up.”
“Right, the system” I thought to myself, “most likely a problem with the jerk pushing the buttons.”
“Ok, I’ll just ring this up again, that’ll be $72.46.”
I paid, nodded goodbye, and started out the store. As I turned to go Neil called out, “Don’t mind those bells, there just going to go off again…they do it all the time.”
As I walked out the door, I paused slightly…no bells.
I am sure the bells do go off all the time, especially when creepy Neil is on the job, but I doubt very much they are broken.
When I got home, I called Dan, my account manager at Merrill Lynch.
“Dan, the stock I have in Home Depot…SELL!”