6.15.2006

Easy as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9


Home Depot is ridiculously full of information. Product catalogs, how-to guides and educational signage fill every inch of non-product space. This is a store that's already suffering from major clutteritis.

Maybe they figure their shopper is just a true D.I.Y.er that hates to ask for help. But I for one need serious help in Home Depot. And somehow I know that a sign isn't going to be able to answer my questions. So I tend to be in the "less signs, more people" camp.

I can find nothing better to describe the over-signed, over-bannered, over-helpful-hinted environment than their poster series. It's called "Easy As 1-2-3." This one has not 3, but 9 steps. How to install a ceiling fan in, yes, 9 steps. Not 3! That is not easy as 1-2-3! That is fully six more steps than three! How about creating a planting bed in six steps! Should I stand there and write down the steps? Or should I buy the book on planting beds? There is no in-between.

I'm not sure if this poster is meant to encourage me to install my own ceiling fan ("Wow, I can do this myself, even if it takes three days!") or to frighten me into hiring Home Depot to install it for me ("Whoa, this looks impossible!") What I do know is that "Easy as 1-2-3" is almost never the case with a home improvement project, and that their series has a very misleading name.

Home Depot has the right idea when they position home improvement as easy. And the whole "You can do it, we can help" slogan is dead-on. But they shouldn't blatantly overpromise, either. Some projects require a few more steps, and a little more help, than a poster can really convey.

2 comments:

Bill V said...

Home Depot is a pretty frustrating place. Nothing really seems to fit together like it should, many things are very hard to find, and there hints are only helpful part of the time.

George said...

I went to Ho' Depot the other day looking for some rope. Pretty standard fare. I eventually find the right canyon-like aisle and locate the right type of rope. What I don't find is anyone to help me measure it or cut it. It's always painfully ironic that in a gigantic hardware store, you can never find a tool that might help you facilitate your transaction.

I finally see someone that can help and he very nonchalantly takes the rope that I've measured out then locates a hidden switch-box-thing mounted to the shelf. The switch box (installed with the label reading upside down) is an 'hot blade' used to melt and cut the rope. But the 'hot blade' is a freaking bare strip of metal that you send a massive current through. It an electrical accident waiting to happen. It’s the kind of thing that tourists complain about when they travel to quaint rural French cottages.

I hate this place.