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3 Shocking Things I Learned Working at Home Depot

Though I can’t really say I loved my job at Home Depot, I did make some very interesting memories and develop friendships that lasted… well, for the few months I worked there, I guess.

Although, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I’d really feel comfortable calling them “friendships.” They were more like professional acquaintances or… people I was on speaking terms with for a few months. Yeah, that seems more accurate.

Anyway, here are 3 of the most interesting things I learned while working at Home Depot.

1. The initials “HD” used to stand for “Huge Dump.”

You might be thinking, “Come on, there’s no way a business establishment that hoped to attract customers would call themselves ‘Huge Dump’!”

Believe me, I had a hard time coming around to this one, too. But if you pick up one of HD’s signature orange buckets—located right by the entrance for your convenience—you can clearly see the “ome” from “Home” and the “epot” from “Depot” have been painted on with Whiteout. If you’re still not convinced, scratch off those letters with a fingernail to reveal the truth.

Whatever you do, don’t ask the employees about this. People who work there are very touchy about discussing this information with people outside of the institution. Ask at your own risk and the risk of those around you. Best case scenario, you are escorted off the premises. Worst case scenario (and what’s most likely to happen), you land a cash register clerk in a psychiatric ward.

Home Depot employees pushing wood on a cart in the store

Little known fact: 60% of the wood at Home Depot is infused with plastic for durability.

2. Most Home Depot employees genuinely want to help you find the right size nails, or your dream lighting system, but we’re all forced to wear customer shock collars.

An albino man named Moth operates these collars behind the scenes, delivering painful volts if an employee ever comes within 25 feet of a customer.

I know there’s a long-running joke out there about how Home Depot employees avoid customers at all costs, and seem pained and uncomfortable when they’re forced to interact with them, but there’s a reason for that. One of the first questions we get asked during the interview process is, “How many volts can you take?” And after a lot of checking to make sure they’re actually asking what you think they are, you are given a series of volts, increasing in intensity each time, to determine your breaking point.

It’s so bad that once, when customers came at me from both ends of an aisle, I made the desperate decision to scale the shelves and hide behind a large cardboard box. The customers, obviously confused, complained, and my manager called me into his office. When I turned after shutting the door behind me, all he did was give me a thumbs up and a pat of the back.

And don’t even get me started on Moth. I saw him once at the vending machines while he was getting a Pepsi, and he was inserting his bills into the machine with his mouth, then collecting his change the same way.

3. Lowe’s sends recruiters over to stand right next to Home Depot employees.

When a customer approaches us for help, the person from Lowe’s takes initiative and leads the customer to the parking lot and onto a school bus that has been poorly repainted to be called “The Lowe’s Mobile.” When enough former Home Depot customers are on the bus, they’re driven to the nearest Lowe’s, informed that they will be given a much higher quality of service, and asked for gas money to pay for the bus ride over.

Anyway, these are just a few of the things I learned during my time as a Home Depot employee. I’m actually on my lunch break at Lowe’s as I write this—yep, I got conned into the bus boarding thing too (it happens to the best of us).

I will say though, after shelling out for gas money for the trip over, I realized that there’s something really special about this place: just the other day, I was approached by a man looking for copper wire and I only got zapped once he got within 10 feet of me—you heard that right, 10 feet! If that’s not customer service, I don’t even want to know what is.

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