What is going on with Lowes? Has the number of quality applicants dwindled down that far or are they just not paying enough to get quality people? Every time I seek help at Lowes I go away frustrated at best. Here is my most recent experience: just tonight. . .
It is Saturday night and to finish a weekend project, I need a part for my pressure washer. I already know to steer away from seeking help at Lowes but specialty stores are closed and I am running out of time. So I breakdown and head to Lowes.
The sales guy, Ralph, at the first Lowes store I go to tells me that his store doesn't carry the part but that the computer shows that a newer store--30 minutes away--has eight. They are near closing time but if I go now, I could make it. I really want to complete this project in the morning so I immediately bolted... ...without taking the time to get the exact Lowes SKU number. My mistake. My HUGE mistake.
I drive 30 minutes and make it to store number 2 before they close. I prepare to bask in the warmth of successfully getting the part just in time. But my dreams come to a crashing halt. They didn't have the part. What is worse, they claim the part doesn't exist. They had never even heard of the part nor could they call anything up like it in the computer.
What!?!? But then how did Ralph at the other store find it and describe it to me. Why was I told it was available? Only one solution, call back Ralph at store 1 to get the details. Right? Easy enough.
I get store 2 to call store 1 back. Now store 1 claims they have never heard of the part. But what about Ralph? Did they speak with Ralph?
No, they just tried looking for it. I kept asking the folks at store 2 to ask for Ralph but somehow they are just not getting it done. I try to be patient.
Fifteen minutes go by like this and I can't take it anymore. I tell the folks at store 2 that if they are not going to ask for Ralph then I wanted to take the phone. Surely I thought that would get them to ask. Instead, they handed me the phone. I was a bit surprised but was happy to take over. I must admit I had this attitude like "let me show you how to cut to the quick." But I soon find out I am not going to show anybody anything! I was the one about to be "schooled."
I immediately ask to speak with Ralph. The store 1 folks didn't even respond. They wanted to help in their own way. They asked me more about what I was seeking. I again ask to speak with Ralph. They simply were not listening. They tell me they can't find the part in the computer. I ask for Ralph--I wanted to say something like "read my lips." But they are not going to have me being the one dictating how my needs will be addressed. They call others over to help.
I try to appeal to their logic explaining how finding Ralph would save all this manpower being applied to the problem. I plead to be transferred to Ralph. 30 minutes go by--no, I am not kidding!-- and no one will go look for Ralph. Everyone thinks they can come to the rescue, but all I want is to go back to the guy who found the exact part I needed in the computer.
At about the 45 minute mark, some young kid at store 1 takes the phone and tells me he is having trouble finding the part. Like the others, I know he was just trying to help, but I came really close to losing it! I demand to speak with the department manager. Turns out the kid IS the department manager. Didn't see that one coming. Nevertheless, I didn't skip a beat and I then demand the STORE manager.
Sorry, he's not here.
Who is there running the store? That would be the acting store manager. I ask for that person. I get someone--sounding like she's in WAY too much of a hurry to help me. But I fought hard to get my request in: I want to speak with Ralph!!!
Her response: Ralph was not working that night.
I am stunned. And before I can think of what to do next, she routes me back to the department manager.
If you are following this story, I am still in store 2 on the phone with store 1, 90 minutes have gone by and I am no further along than when I started. The amount of frustration is undescribeable. Before I can get my sense of direction back, employees from both stores decide to agree and conclude that no part like the one I was seeking has ever existed anywhere, as far as they knew, but especially not within Lowes. Period. And they had no explanation for Ralph, the mystery employee.
I should have just cut my losses at that point, hung up, and walked away for good or just committed suicide. Either one would have been better than what did happen: me finding something to prolong my agony.
In the process of getting off the phone I see a parts catalog at store 2. Just for grins I quickly turn to the pressure washer section. There, I see the EXACT part that I am looking for! What about this!?!
>How come nobody came up with this?
That is their special order parts and accessories.
>Oh, so those are not technically a real Lowes item?
No, they are Lowes items with a real Lowes SKU.
>But these are not searchable in the computer?
No, they should be.
>Well, I guess it doesn't matter if they are never in stock.
No, some stores may have some of these items as they can convert to regular stock items.
>So is it possible some store in this area might have some?
Maybe. But we can't tell because it is too late. Computers are down for maintenance.
OMG, can you imagine how I felt? It is at times like these that you begin to understand how less stable people just go postal.
More and more, this seems to be the norm rather than the exception at Lowes. Is this the way it always has been and I am just realizing it now? I have not had the greatest experiences at Home Depot but nothing to the depths of horrible service of Lowes.
I think the new slogan for Lowes should be:
Lowes. Always harder than it should be. Always.
It must be catchy because I find myself remembering it now every time I am in Lowes.