It’s been a while since a corporation ticked me off. Well, this week, The Home Depot ticked me off. Here is the letter that I will be sending to Mr. Frank Blake, CEO of The Home Depot on Tuesday morning. We know we’re peons. We’re ok with that. But, do peons deserve extra punishment because they are not the dregs of the Earth?
September 8, 2009
Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Baker
Mr. Frank Blake, CEO
The Home Depot
2455 Paces Ferry Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30339
Dear Mr. Blake:
As business owners we like to hear the good and the bad from our customers. Well, we really do not like to hear the bad, but who does? But hearing about the not-so-great things has helped us improve our level of customer service and, thus, improved our business. So, as former customers of The Home Depot, we’re writing to let you know why we are former customers. Maybe it matters and maybe it doesn’t, but it seems only fair. We always like to know why we lose a customer and we think you might like to know too. I doubt this letter will actually get to you personally, but maybe the person reading this will make a note of it.
We are a regular family. We saved and saved and saved and bought our first home about 12 years ago. We moved in with our three little boys and another boy on the way. It’s not a magazine kind of house, but we love it and, thanks in large part to Home Depot, we‘ve made it ours. Shortly after moving into the house, we got a Home Depot credit card. We used the card responsibly and understood that when we were forced to charge big purchases that the convenience of the card came with Home Depot making a profit in the form of interest. For a dozen years, this seems to have worked well for us and for Home Depot.
A few months ago, I (I being me, the Mrs. in the Baker name above, you can call me Amy) made the mistake of paying late. No excuse, times are tough and I did not keep track of the paper. We paid our bill and I arranged to have the Home Depot bill sent at a time when all of our other bills come due so that I would not lose track of it again. I received this month’s bill to discover that our interest rate had been raised to 30%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously????? 30%???????
I called to ask about the rate and spoke to an unpleasant young woman. Unfortunately I did not get her name. In my head, I’ve been calling her Nurse Ratched. I don’t know if I interrupted her morning snack or otherwise inconvenienced her, but she did not hesitate to let me know that my call WAS an inconvenience and that, yes, our rate was now 30% and please go away. I did go away. And I called my husband. And we rearranged some things and we will be paying our Home Depot account in full at the end of the month. (Luckily, my kids are ok with rice and beans for long stretches of time.)
And we will not be coming back.
Like most decent people, I’m tired of being treated rudely by large corporations. We’ve always been a Home Depot family in part because we have several close friends who work there, in part because we’ve learned so much over the years through your workshops and in part because it was the most convenient place to shop when we needed paint or gardening stuff or just about anything else interesting that we do around here. But, we cannot afford to support our friends or your company any longer. We do, however, have the option of driving an extra five minutes north or south to shop at Lowe’s or Ace Hardware or any assortment of local businesses and we will.
In the grand scheme of things, our balance is a drop in the bucket. It’s not going to make or break your company. But, if enough people like us (us being people who pay their bills and honestly use their credit cards with sincere intentions of paying off the debt) decide to stop shopping at your stores, you might have a situation. As I stated earlier, we have no problem with paying interest – that credit card has been a lifesaver for us sometimes and it’s a money-maker for you. However, 30% (really? 30%????? Is it rent-to-own paint?) is beyond the pale. It’s not like we just signed up for a card six months ago and immediately charged $5000. We have a history with your company and that counts for nothing. In fact, it merits ugliness from whoever is answering your phones.
We’re not asking anything of you or The Home Depot. We just thought it was only fair to let you know why we will no longer be doing business with your company.
Michael and Amy Baker