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June 08, 2010


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After the gas, oil, and rebate, how did the price of the lawn mower compare to those at Home Depot?

This is a good lesson that the chain stores are not always the cheapest and definitely not the best in customer service.

Anthony --

Home Depot didn't have the model I eventually went with, but the final price was well below what I could find as "good" deals while searching online.

There's a True Value close to where I live. I always go in there when I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, or for something quick. Unfortunately they just can't match on price most times for larger items, so as much as it pains me, I often end up at HD or Lowes. Still, I try to stop by the True Value or the Ace Hardware as often as I can.

TV obviously did a great job, but don't be too hard on HD. They didn't exceed expectations, but they did meet them. They don't try to compete on service, and they accepted the mower back without argument.

The sad part of the story is, if Home Depot had offered the same mower for $10 (or even $5) less, you would've bought it there instead.

The people at our local hardware store are very helpful as well. They will tell you about mouse traps, led lighting, anything you need to learn more about, and even fix your broken lamp for less than $10 (really just the cost of parts). Love that!

I do like Home Depot for their large lumber and garden depts., though, and we have had very good experiences w/them.

This is why I never buy anything with an engine at a place that doesn't have a repair facility. Not only was it full of gas and oil, but I bet that it had also been started and run through it's paces, to make sure everything worked and was adjusted properly.

Yes, it costs more. But I think I save more by being careful with ongoing expenses and not buying junk I don't need. If I buy lunch meat and toilet paper on sale, don't have all the cable channels, and don't have a giant DVD collection, I can afford to get the big stuff from a knowledgeable, full-service dealer. Their knowledge and advice has value as far as I'm concerned, and I happily pay for it.

Of course that doesn't mean I won't try and save money by waiting for a sale, buying during the "wrong" season, buying last year's model, or buying the one with the big scratch. I just don't try and save it by buying at a discount store.

I understand using a place due to good service. I drive by at least 10 mechanics on the way to the one I actually use simply because my mechanic is always straight with me and is very open about the prices and other options. Even if I could have gotten my car fixed cheaper the two times it broke, I trust my mechanic more.

I don't think we have a True Value in our area, but I shop almost anywhere before going to Lowe's or Home Depot since the ones in our area are filled with unhelpful reps.

It is great when price is equal (or lower) and service is great. I recently had my mechanic do a major service on my Jeep. I had selected my mechanic a year ago based on the local area magazine naming them best in customer service and had been happy with the choice. The major service was estimated to cost $650. After recieving the quote (and never having had this service done on my Jeep previously) I called around to check the price. I could not find an estimate close to what my mechanic offered (the closest was $700 from a nearby Jeep dealer.) I got a great service at a great price. It seems great service does not have to come a premium price.
As several other posters have mentioned though, when the good service comes at a premium, it becomes harder to justify the purchase.

This story is all too common. When it comes to my lawn maintenance equipment. I will always, always go to a local dealer. You will never get the same level of customer support and you are also buying a better product. The small premium I pay for buying at the local dealer is quickly erased by the superior service and the fact the equipment will easily last me a decade or more with some pretty serious use.

Also, if you double check the product numbers between Home Depot and the local Toro dealer, they are not the same. Home Depot contracts with Toro to produce a model that they sell in their stores. The model is not the same as what you would buy at your local dealer and is generally cheaper in materials and quality. Plus, it lacks the fantastic customer experience you will receive at the local dealer.

It just goes to show you how great the mom & pop stores in your area can be. I love to support local business that provide good customer service rather than shopping at the larger 'discount' type stores.

Glad to hear that you had a great experience, I only hope more people will find themselves with the same quality of service.

I'd love to have a good HW store like that True Value here. Unfortunately Home Depot & Lowe's ran all the other hardware stores in my town out of business. Closest True Value is 20 miles away. Our Home Depot & Lowes are OK but not great. Prices seem fair but service is a bit shakey. Plus they seem to carry few 'parts' for DIY and mostly complete products. For example I can find 20 different sink faucets but they have comparably little selection of washers, springs, screws etc.

Price of an item is only one thing to consider in making a purchase decision. There is a value in the knowledge one gets from a seller. What value do you place on that?

What value is added by having the machine gassed/oiled up and the pointers received?

I will gladly pay extra for that knowledge!

I will shop at the Ace/Truevalue/Locally owned Hardware store many times before going to a Big Box. I find what I need for unique jobs and the knowledge that I am selecting the correct product.

Last summer I took on a large job/tasks, out of town, working on a relative's house. Using the locally Owned Hardware store, not only did I get the correct products at good prices, but received professional tips in using them. It save me an immense amount of time and the work done was of professional quality. Overall I actually spent less, when time, gas and cost of products were tallied. I had reason to frequent the store 6 months later and they still remember me. That is worth something to me.

"Now, do you think Home Depot would have done that?"

Depends on your Home Depot. I've worked for Home Depot, and some of the managers and workers WOULD have done just that, and even more. I've gone to great lengths to offer excellent customer service when I was working at Home Depot, and so have some of my colleagues. And some of the colleagues were just there to make money and couldn't care less about customer service. I suspect it's the same at pretty much every retail store. You'll always have your bad apples. But I do know for a fact that all Home Depots stress excellent customer service in their classes, and strive to give customers the very best service possible.

it looks like you forgot to add "... and then I woke up to the sound of a mower in a nearby lawn..."

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