Good Bye, Home Depot

Like many suburban dwellers, I visit Home Depot often. I know that Home Depot is responsible for the demise of many small businesses which used to be an integral part of our communities. And I can’t say that all my shopping experiences at Home Depot are pleasant. But it has the redeeming quality of having everything on its shelf and offering reasonable prices. Out of habit, I relied on it for most household needs. Recently, however, I had the unbelievable experience of spending 46 days failing to replace a dishwasher. After this nightmare, I knew that I wouldn’t go to Home Depot again.

July 11 — July 27: “Sorry, we can’t install it today.”

In mid-July, on July 10 to be exact, the dishwasher we used for 20 years broke. It was unfortunate, especially because we were in the middle of a global pandemic, and it was preferable to keep our life simple. But it was a common enough occurrence, and we were sure the problem would soon be behind us.

I started shopping and bought a Bosch dishwasher from the Home Depot online store on July 11. Unfortunately, the new dishwasher wouldn’t be delivered and installed until July 27, but we could wait.

On the appointed date, a two-member team came to my house. After I removed everything from the cabinet under the kitchen sink, the crew started working. But they soon motioned me to come over to take a look at one of the valves. I had no idea what that valve was for, but a few drops of water dripped down when they turned it. They told me that they couldn’t install the dishwasher since there was a leakage. I had to make another appointment for them to come back after I had the leakage fixed.

This was a bummer. The pronouncement not only disappointed but also surprised me. I might not be a plumbing expert, but I knew that my kitchen was not flooded when my old dishwasher operated. If they went ahead to install the new dishwasher, I’m sure it would work just fine. But no installation with leakage. That was the company policy. How can a mere mortal’s reasoning compete with that?

The crew left after spending a grand total of 5 minutes at work. I asked a plumber to come in to tighten the valve. Then I scheduled another appointment. The new date was August 6.

July 27 — August 6: “We’ve got a problem.”

At the second attempt to install my dishwasher, all the valves passed inspection with flying colors. The crew managed to haul out the old dishwasher and brought in the new one. They nudged the new dishwasher in place, fussed around it, then stopped and went out of the house.

In a few minutes, they came back.

“We’ve got a problem.”

“What problem?” I ask.

“We don’t have the electrical cord.”

Electrical cord? When I placed the order, I was told to add the installation kit into the shopping cart after checking the box “installation included”, which I dutifully did. Then why would I miss the electrical cord?

The crew didn’t know. The only thing they could tell me was that all Bosch dishwashers required special electrical cords, which we didn’t have. To be fair, even if they had a satisfactory answer, it wouldn’t be of much use. The reality is, without the electrical cord, the dishwasher couldn’t be hooked up. They asked me to schedule another appointment for somebody to come with the obligatory electrical line, then left coolly.

I immediately started making phone calls to schedule the appointment. Unfortunately, it proved difficult because the dispatcher didn’t think I missed the electrical cord. Only after talking, and sometimes shouting, to several people on the other end of the phone line did I manage to schedule an appointment for August 11.

But should I be missing an electric cord? To quench my curiosity, I perused the product brochure. I found out that the dishwasher comes with an electrical cord. Then why didn’t my dishwasher have one? Was I getting a new dishwasher in its original package? This question still lingers in my mind as of now.

Although I secured an appointment, I was worried that the crew would somehow show up without the proper cord. Given my experience in the last few weeks, I didn’t think my paranoia was unfounded. I felt I needed a contingency plan and ordered a Bosch electrical cord from Amazon and had it rushed to me. Then I congratulated myself for being thoroughly well prepared and resumed my wait.

August 6 — August 11: What the f*** was going on?

On my third appointment, I was not excited with anticipation as on the first two occasions. On the contrary, I was nervous. Something strange would happen, I thought ominously. Maybe the electrical cord just wouldn’t fit. Perhaps when a button was pushed, the dishwasher would explode.

The delivery window was four hours. When three hours passed and nobody showed up, I became anxious. I called the service line and told the dispatcher that I had a delivery today and wanted to make sure the crew was on its way.

She checked her computer. “Yes,” she chirped cheerfully. “The delivery team had gone to your house, but nobody was home. They had already completed today’s route and gone home.”

Nobody was home? What the f*** was going on? I had been waiting the whole time! “They called, but nobody answered the phone.” The dispatcher said. “They took a picture. There were purple flowers in front of the house.”

This was truly strange. I checked my phone again. There were no missed calls. The picture of my house sounded about right because I did have purple flowers in my front yard. It proved they came to my street, which made the whole thing all the more bizarre. If they had driven all the way here, why didn’t they come up to ring the doorbell?

I was about to burst with befuddlement and frustration. But since the dispatcher was innocent, I forced myself to calm down and made yet another appointment, which will be in two days. Then I logged onto Yelp. By now, I had figured out that Home Depot uses a company called Temco Logistics to do delivery. Temco Logistics had about 900 reviews on Yelp, and the average score was 2. I read some reviews and saw many horror stories similar to mine. The sad thing is, most of the reviewers had never heard of Temco Logistics before. They became entangled with this company only because of Home Depot.

I wrote my review. I started with “Avoid this delivery company at all cost!” and ended with “The fourth attempt is scheduled in a few days. I pray to god this will be the last time I deal with them!”

Alas, god will not grant me this wish.

August 11 — August 13: I got a lemon in my hands

My next appointment was on August 13. The day before, I received a phone call from a manager at Temco. Apparently, he read my Yelp review. He first apologized for the poor services I received, then told me that the delivery crew consisted of independent contractors. Those who didn’t do a good job would no longer be working for them. “Tomorrow, we will send a better team. They will come with all the accessories and take good care of you.”

I was pleased, as well as surprised, by this phone call. I complained to many Temco employees, including supervisors, in the last few weeks. But nobody seemed to care. I was glad somebody listened when I made my comments public. However, if Temco was attentive enough to call everybody who rated them poorly on Yelp, why was their score still so low?

When the delivery team came the next day, I immediately noticed that these people came to my house before. Then I saw that they didn’t come with the proper electrical cable. Instead, they had to improvise a usable cord by welding a Bosch adapter together with a regular one. I realized the manager was only bullshitting me. But by this point, my expectation had been lowered to a level I couldn’t previously imagine. As long as I would have my dishwasher up and running, I was willing to let everything else go.

Finally, they hooked up the dishwasher and turned it on. But there was no whirring sound of the engine. Instead, a red error code appeared on the display window. How lucky was I! When I finally had my new dishwasher after four appointments, I was rudely informed that I got a lemon in my hands!

I was told that I should make an appointment with Bosch to fix the problem. Should Bosch decide the issue is not fixable, a new dishwasher will be delivered and installed for me.

I immediately knew what I would do. I would return this dishwasher and buy another one from another store. I no longer wanted to deal with these people. Four times was enough.

August 13 — August 25: I’m still waiting for the apology

I called Home Depot the next day to return the dishwasher. I called Home Depot many times during the whole saga and occasionally could get hold of someone. They were usually sympathetic but ultimately unhelpful. When I tried to return the dishwasher, a few people, including the store manager, refused to take it, citing a company policy of not allowing appliance return. Fortunately, one employee was reasonable enough to accept it.

On the same day, I went to Home Depot’s competitor and bought another dishwasher. This time I didn’t use the stored offered delivery and installation service. Instead, we brought the dishwasher home ourselves and called a contractor we met from previous home improvement projects. Luckily, he had time the next day. On August 15, our new dishwasher was installed.

The Home Depot dishwashers stayed at my home for two more weeks. Then on August 25, Temco Logistics came for the last time and took it away.

Around that time, I received an email from Home Depot asking about my recent purchasing experience. Naturally, I gave the lowest possible rating for every question asked and wrote a review:

Buying this dishwasher was the worst shopping experience ever! Between July 11 (when I placed the order) and August 25 (when the returned dishwasher was taken away), I scheduled delivery/installation service FIVE times……When I checked out Temco Logistics on Yelp, I saw many horror stories similar to mine. It was beyond my comprehension how Home depot could partner with such a horrible delivery company without using its influence to push them to improve. If Home Depot is still using the same delivery service, I will not order any appliance from Home Depot again.

After I submitted my survey, I sort of expected that somebody from Home Depot would contact me to inquire about my unusual experience. But it’s been many weeks, and I’m still waiting. Maybe my experience is not that unusual after all.

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Victoria Z.

Victoria Z.

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Technologist turned essayist, Victoria writes about books, movies, travel, politics, technology, and the Silicon Valley lifestyle.