Sunday, January 29, 2017

Random Rant: Are You Pet Friendly Or Not, Home Depot. There Is No Middle Ground.

For the past couple of years, Lobo has accompanied Lisa, or the both of us, on our trips to the local Home Depot. He sits in the front portion of the shopping cart with his blanket and he's fine. Often times, the employees and other customers will comment about how adorable he is and ask questions about his breed, being 3-legged, or his rescue story. This generates a lengthy conversation that we're always happy to engage in with total strangers. Today, Lisa went to Home Depot and all of that changed.

A bright yellow No Pets sign was on the door. We've never seen this sign posted in the past. Our last trip was in December. We would have noticed.

Lobo was heartbroken. We were heartbroken. 

Lisa and I respect the policies at retail locations. We understand the liability involved when a retailer deems their location Pet Friendly. We also understand when the possible legalities trump a manager's decision to allow pets.

When we do take one of our kids to any retail Pet Friendly establishment, we take every precaution to make sure they're secure and safe in the shopping cart.

If we had human kids, we wouldn't allow them to run around unattended. We apply that same consideration with our furry kids.

What I don't understand are the employees giving mixed signals.

You can bet Lisa inquired about the new sign.

The sales associate said the sign has always been there, but they don't enforce it. As long as the dog is on a leash and behaved, there's not a problem.

To go a step further, when Lisa was paying for her merchandise, she overhead a sales associate having the same conversation on the phone. I'm guessing a customer saw the sign and phoned in to complain.

That's when my brain came to a screeching halt (insert sound effects)...

Did I just hear you correctly?

The sign has always been there?

Um. No it hasn't. 

You don't enforce the No Pet policy?

Does your manager know about this?

As long as our "dog" is on a leash and behaving appropriately, the No Pets policy doesn't apply to us?

Come again?

At that point, several scenarios made an appearance in my trail of thought.

Scenario one...

What if one day, while shopping for lumber and paint, a customer complains about Lobo. They have a problem with him being in the store. They're a miserable asshole. Somehow, Lobo sitting in the cart quietly is preventing them from picking out the perfect kitchen faucet. Management approaches Lisa and I and says, "I'm sorry, but we don't allow pets in this store."

"Okay, but your associate told us as long as he's on a leash and behaving, it's okay."

She obviously failed to include the part about a customer having a problem with his existence...

Scenario two...

What if Lobo was a German Shepherd or Pit Bull? He's on a leash. Behaving.

A customer throws a fit because they don't want a bully breed around them or their kid. Or, one of the employees has a problem with either breed in the store.

What happens then?

You see where I'm going with this?

You're either a Pet Friendly retailer or you're not!

There's lots of Pet Friendly retailers such as Gap. Old Navy. Lowe's, Pottery Barn. Macy's. Barnes and Noble, and Lowe's. It's common knowledge to call before bringing Fido because most of the time, it's at the discretion of the manager. The Old Navy in your town may not allow pets, but the location an hour away from you does.

If our local Home Depot doesn't allow pets, fine. I'm not going to challenge their decision or freeze my ass off holding a picket sign at the front door.

What I will do is take our business elsewhere.

Surprisingly, only a portion of that decision has to do with Home Depot's decision to no longer allow pets.

The other portion has everything to do with the mixed messages the employees are giving. I don't want to find ourselves in a position where we are asked to leave halfway through our shopping trip because someone has a problem with Lobo. Or, I witness someone being asked to leave because they bring a Doberman into the store, and there we are with Lobo in our cart wondering, "Why weren't we asked to leave too?"

Get your shit together, Home Depot.

Make up your minds.

And, if you're going to plaster a sign like that on the front door, make sure the employees are all on the same page.

Giving customers mixed messages isn't a good practice.

And, it probably won't end on a good note.

Something will probably happen.

And, the employees will be forced to enforce the rules across the board.

This will cause even more confusion.

And, at the end of the day, this won't establish positive customer relationships. You may even have a few loyal customers, like us, who take their business elsewhere.

Are you Pet Friendly or not? There is no middle ground here.

No comments:

Post a Comment