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Home Depot representative asks customer to return unrolled pine straw

Businesses are always striving to cut costs and increase profits, but there are a variety of approaches that different companies are taking to achieve this goal.

Take Costco, for example. The warehouse-style retailer has often been lauded for its employee treatment, which includes more competitive wages, insurance benefits even for part-time workers, and customer service policies that have achieved near-mythic status. Oh, and they’ve managed to be consistently profitable even during recessions.

Then there are companies that operate slightly differently, such as trying to outsource their customer service departments to subcontractors. While employees at these contractors have access to some customer data and business policies, it’s obvious when reading from a script or canned response that often feels like you’re talking to an automated system with a pulse.

This can lead to all sorts of frustrating and confusing interactions between merchants and customers, as chronicled in a now-viral TikTok between a customer named Matt and the Home Depot.

@matt_chaynegang @TheHomeDepot you have until 1pm tomorrow to stop this. #homeimprovement #DIY #homedepot ♬ The Home Depot Beat – The Home Depot

Matt (@matt_chaynegang) shared a screen capture of his text conversation with a Home Depot customer service representative about an order for pine straw mulch. If you are unfamiliar with the material, it resembles the texture of hay and is often used to decoratively adorn lawns or exterior entrances to people’s properties.

Since this is an aesthetic design decision, it would be understandable that someone would want their pine straw to contain only pine straw and not a few sticks, pebbles, leaves or anything else that would spoil the look of the material.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t Matt’s experience as he unrolled some bales of pine straw he bought at Home Depot. About 240 square meters of the stuff. Matt hopped into a text call with a Home Depot representative to discuss his problem: 2 of the 6 bales he bought were filled with sticks, leaves, and other debris. He asked for credit to buy two more bales as he had no idea how to return 240 square feet of unrolled pine straw.

The customer service rep who responded to his query offered a solution that confused Matt: He asked the TikToker to collect all the pieces of pine straw and physically take them to a Home Depot location.

In case you’re wondering why Matt was incredulous in his text conversation with the Home Depot employee, he features a photo of unrolled pine mulch in his video. Pine straw is loose and difficult to collect once unrolled.

The worker asks Matt to collect all the pine straw in a box to return to a Home Depot. When the TikToker asked where he was getting the boxes, the customer service rep suggested he go to a grocery store and see if they were throwing away any cardboard containers that he could then take home to fill with the debris-infested pine straw . Matt continued to express his shock.

While Matt didn’t knock on supermarket doors for boxes, he did use plastic containers to do exactly what the customer service rep told him to do. He loaded his car with the bins of pine straw and decided to head to his local Home Depot store.

Countless TikTokers who saw the first clip were excited to see Matt’s follow-up, and he delivered. He chronicled his drive to the Home Depot along with his interactions with customers and employees, who seemed just as confused as he was about the pine straw return.

@matt_chaynegang reply to @nerf part 2 is here…for the record…the shop staff were absolutely amazing! If I go back to HD it will be because of them. Also received a call from the company apologizing for their representative. #diy #home improvement #heimdepot ♬ O-Ton – Matt

He thanked the employees at the Home Depot store for showing compassion for his situation in the video’s caption. He says a company representative also called him to apologize for the service rep’s bizarre suggestion.

“The staff at the store were absolutely amazing! If I go back to HD it will be because of them. I also got a call from the company apologizing for their rep,” Matt wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Matt to find out more about his Home Depot debacle.


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*Initial Release: May 10, 2022 6:37pm CDT

Jack Alban

Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot, covering trending human interest/social media stories and real people’s reactions to them. He always tries to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and relevant facts to those stories to create your not-so-average viral post.

Jack Alban

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/home-depot-pine-straw-return-tiktok/ Home Depot representative asks customer to return unrolled pine straw

Jaclyn Diaz

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