A Trip To Lowe’s

When I moved to Texas my first job was at a Lowe’s. Put a pin in that…

My wife and I took a trip to Lowe’s before Memorial Day weekend. Big Mistake.

We actually went there on a whim. It was close to Sam’s Club, where we bought our groceries a few minutes earlier, and we decided to pop in quick to see if there was a decently priced BBQ we’d be interested in.

Unfortunately there was.

The protocol we went through for purchasing this sort of item can’t possibly be the proper procedure this company follows on a day-to-day basis. If so, I don’t know how they keep the lights on.

So we go to BBQ row, a display space where there’s tons of barbecue units. We wait. Wait. And Wait. Finally a 70 year-old-lady with a clip board comes by and we get her attention. We’re gonna buy this one, what’s the next step?

Now keep in mind I have just a small car. And I’m fine with it. Despite my insecurity in almost every other aspect of my life, I’ve never once cared about the type of car I drive. As long as the damn thing runs and gets good gas milage I don’t give a shit. Fuck off with your car/truck guy bullshit. You fucking idiots.

Anyway, it won’t fit in my car fully assembled, so we tell the lady we’d need it in a box, unassembled, or we’d need it delivered. If neither of those were possibilities we weren’t going to make the purchase. She says no problem, rips off a scrap piece of paper about the size of my thumb, and writes a 6-digit number on it. Tells us to give that number to the person at the register when we’re ready to check out.

It’s the only thing we are buying, so we go up to the register and give the number to the guy. He tells us the earliest delivery date would be next Thursday. We didn’t want to wait that long so we said we’d take it in a box. He rings us up, we pay, tells us to have a good day, and starts helping the next customer. We’re just standing there. I say, ‘soooooo, where do we pick this up at?’ The genius points us back to BBQ row where we were just at, and says ‘All the BBQ stuff is over there.’ OOOOOOhhhhhhhhh. Thanks bud.

We wander over to customer service to see if we can get some clarity on the situation. Possibly leave with the BBQ we just spent a healthy amount on. After explaining our situation to 2 or 3 different employees, who didn’t have a clue, they send the oldest guy in the building to the back to see if they even have it in stock. Pretty fucking important detail. Perhaps that should’ve been clarified before purchase.

So we wait. 45 minutes go by. Our groceries still sitting in the car. Some old man in a Lowe’s vest apparently still looking for our BBQ in the back. When he finally makes it up front again he says they don’t have any more in stock. Maybe something they should have checked before selling it to us. At this point my wife asks for a refund so we can go to another store and get a BBQ. They tell her it’ll take a few days to show back up in the account. This is where things went south quickly. We were no longer using normal voice tones.

I knew Lowe’s used to rent out pick-up trucks, similar to U-haul, and I asked if we could just rent their truck to take the BBQ that’s on display home. I was told neither of those things was a possibility. So around and around we go. We’re not leaving until we get a refund or a BBQ. Now we gotta play the manager musical chairs game until they finally put one in front of us who understands that, and will work with us. Another half an hour goes by as this fiasco ensues.

Finally the 3rd or 4th manager says ‘I can’t refund your money, but I can give you our rental truck and let you take the BBQ from the display’….No shit. What an amazing concept. Exact same idea I can an hour ago. Maybe I should be on the board of trustees. And they still charged us $20 to use that truck. They got no argument from me. I was just ready to be outta there at that point.

The two guys loading the BBQ into the truck managed to dent the thing. So that was another few minutes negotiating a partial refund, and we finally got the damn thing home. This better be the world’s best BBQ.

It’s funny, as the skirt steak kabobs are sizzling on the grill two days later, I’m outside with a beer in my hand thinking about when I worked at Lowe’s for a couple months, shaking my head and laughing. I was, and still am, the least qualified person to ever put on the red vest. I was of no help to any customer or fellow employee. When I first started I didn’t even know how to use a pallet jack. And telling a customer where something was located in the store…No chance. Your guess is as good as mine bud.

I was hired as a ‘seasonal employee’. I figured that meant I’d only have the job for a few months during whatever ‘season’ Lowe’s was in. Similar to students getting jobs at the mall over Christmas break. Two days before I quit and started up with Pepsi, I’m working in the store when a fellow employee and a customer come up to me. The employee blurts out ‘Hey, are you seasonal?’ I tell him I am. He looks at the customer and says, ‘Here this guy can help you’. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized Lowe’s had a seasonal section and that I was a full time employee. I was supposed to be an expert in the seasonal section. I had no clue. Barely spent any time at all over there.

The only thing I was any good at was messing with this one manager guy who drove me crazy all the time. If I saw him at one end of the store, I’d get on the horn and page him over the loud speaker to come to a department all the way at the other end for ‘urgent customer service’. It was great seeing him run around like crazy trying to figure things out. Often times sprinting. Then asking clueless employees when he gets there what the deal was, them having no clue, frustrating him even more. Then walking back to where he came from, shaking his head and talking to himself. He was so high strung. He finally felt the need to address it one day during our ‘morning huddle’. Started yelling in every direction, calling it childish and asking a crowd of his fellow employees if we’ve ever heard the story of the boy who cried wolf. So Funny.

I only did it to him a few more times after that, sporadically. Figured that sort of thing was on the radar after that. I’m sure he thought it was one of the teenage employees messing with him. I was 32 years old.

Ironic that the lack of service, knowledge, and caring I used to provide over there would come full circle and bite me in the ass on barbecue purchasing day.