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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


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!   


  1. Yikes! Sadly this "I don't give a damn" attitude is so very common among employees anymore, they are paycheck focused and feel no sense of loyalty to their employer. One only has to wonder how much money Creey Neil cost Home Depot as those bells continued to go off, and why did a supervisor never bother to check on it or see if the security system needed repair? The telling part is when you returned and then had to convince him he had missed the item, or "the machine" did! :-)

  2. Yeah, I'm not too impressed with HD people either. Most are either knuckle draggers or mouth breathers. The managers are the ones who have mastered both.


  3. Laugh out loud moment:

    "Neil (not his real name) (actually who cares, it was his real name)..."

  4. So funny. At least he TALKED to you, though. Even if he was kind of stupid. The grocery store clerks I've written about are so void of emotion and just blankly stare at me. Very creepy.

  5. I believe there are Neils in more kinds of businesses than you can imagine. And, I believe most people would go back to pay.

  6. Love the part: "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."
    LOVE IT!!!!
    Thanks for the laugh

  7. This evening I ordered a pizza from Domino's. Half cheese, and the other half sausage, bacon, and Canadian bacon. The guy said, "You don't want cheese on the meat half?"

    When we got there to pick it up, they had covered the whole thing with meat. So in order to pacify me, they offered a free medium cheese pizza. Sell your stock in Domino's.

    Let the record show that the pizza-maker order-taker was NOT the guy who was riding a broom around the back like a stick pony. Somebody needs to tell those guys that the whole front wall of glass is see-through.

  8. Fun post and I love that last line. I usually have problems at Home Depot and prefer Lowes.

  9. We were in Home Depot the other day looking for fire bricks, which an online search had already assured us were in stock. I didn't notice anyone named Neil, or any alarms going off, but you wouldn't BELIEVE all the blank stares we got from employees who didn't have a clue what we were talking about.

  10. That's pretty much my experience at home depot over the last few years.

    Mitt Romney works a part-time shift at the one closest to me.

  11. The only thing making this any better, worse or insane? I know someone who goes to HD and routinely hunts down someone wearing the orange apron and asks them the silliest, dumbest, most assanine questions, then continues to drill them on how to do it, what tools are needed and such.

    Their reason for doing it? "I want to see if they know what they are talking about." Thanks for making me look like a jackass just for standing next to them.


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