After years of shopping at over a dozen Home Depot stores from Allentown, PA to Jersey City, NJ – I’ve come to realize, that the overall experience at these stores has a lot to do with the people that work there.

Home Depot employees can make a huge difference

If you’re a “pro,” and just shop at Home Depot to get what you already know you need – then it probably doesn’t matter.

But many people, like us quite often, go to Home Depot to solve problems. Fix things. Come up with solutions. And that often means you like to ping ideas or ask for suggestions.

That is where the kinds of people who are employed at a particular location come into play.

Now while it’s completely understandable that there is turnover at all retail stores – and good and bad employees come and go all the time. But over the long-term, you can see trends that correlate with geographical areas and the types of people inclined to work there.

For instance, we’ve had lackluster experiences at places like Jersey City or even Vauxhall. Where employees were either dumb as bricks – or insanely lazy and were “bare minimum” type people.

Whereas other places, such as Hackettstown, Phillipsburg, and almost all PA locations – where employees were high-energy, pleasant, and quite informative, motivated, and helpful. Again, it ebbs and flows – but in general – certain locations seem to have profoundly better employees.

And don’t get me started about Lowe’s. They seem to have hardly anyone working there when you need help – and most often completely unhelpful (our experiences at least).

“Going to the hardware store”

Before the massive billion-dollar chain hardware stores were everywhere – you typically had you “hometown hardware store.”

They still exist, thankfully – and that is where homeowners usually went to “talk shop” with the owner. Information changed hands, and people helped people and built relationships.

The modern-day hardware stores, while incredibly convenient (as well as cheaper in most cases), have all but eliminated that long-term relationship you might have with a sole proprietor of a smaller shop. Sure, some managers might stick around for a few years, but it’s rare to have a relationship-building experience with a single individual at a chain hardware store.

And don’t get me wrong – even the local hardware shops aren’t guaranteed to be super helpful or have incredible expertise either, which is why it’s important to explore various locations, talk to neighbors, and so on. Word of mouth still has power in 2018.

Seeking out your elders

Finally – one last thing I want to point out is that if I have a specific question or need advice, I tend to gravitate towards the older employees quite honestly.

Although many times I’m limited to who’s working in a particular section, if I have the option, I always have better results when I speak to someone who’s “been there done that” rather than the younger generation who just Google’s everything to solve their problems.

Real life experience almost always trumps instant answers. Both short term and especially long term.

Good luck out there!

About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.