Local beats Corporate… again!

Have you shopped for a snow-shovel in Round Lake Beach lately? Maybe reload on some other supplies like roof de-icer?

Unable to wait any longer, the RLB Home Depot removed their “Winter is here!” section the second week of January, and replaced it with this:

Snow4

Snow1

The only snow shovels to be had for purchase are a dwindling pile of collapsable shovels intended for your car or truck, to help dig you out after getting stuck in a snow drift.

We wonder… are the folks at the Home Depot corporate headquarters in Atlanta Georgia THAT far removed from real-world siturations?

We wonder because, when we checked (with several employees) about stocking and inventory policy, the universal answer was to point to the plentiful cameras hanging from the ceiling and mention that ALL such decisions were made by the HD employees at the OTHER end, monitoring stock levels, employee-customer interactions, in-store traffic flow, impact of promotional displays, etc.

We wonder because the our colder-and-snowier midwest winter didn’t just “appear”… it’s been here for a while, revisiting us with storm after storm. It IS national news.

We wonder because the HD employees have been turning away customers seeking snow-related supplies for several weeks now (other than periodically getting a couple of pallets of salt). Either their feedback going up their chain-of-command has fallen on deaf ears, or the company really IS that inflexible.

We wonder because this winter presented a great opportunity for HD to cement itself in the minds of its customers as the “Go To!” place for snow/ice supplies. It blew THAT opportunity!

Let’s swing to the other end of the spectrum and visit the Round Lake area Ace Hardware, and see if they can hook us up with some anti-snow materials:

Snow2

Snow3

Much better. Front-row center, as a matter of fact.

When you think “Ace Hardware”, you may envision that it is a smaller version of a “national chain” like Home Depot, but in fact it is quite different. The basic details are here if you’re interested, but basically every Ace Hardware is locally-owned and locally-operated. That local focus makes a significant difference!

A true local focus enables businesses to respond to the needs of customers and their area. The flexibility, the freedom from compliance with burdensom one-size fits-the-entire-nation corporate policies means that … when you “shop local”, you can get snow shovels when there is snow!

Next time you need something for a home project, consider the ENTIRE costs of supporting the big-box stores. Have you ever heard of “Vote with your dollars”? What are you endorsing with your purchases?

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