Our Exterior Door buying experience

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We never want to sound arrogant, but if you think you can get the same level of service and competence at a “big box” store (and you know who we mean) as you can at a family owned and operated entry door specialist like us, you’d be wrong.

Shopping for Doors at a Big box Hardware Store.

Here’s a recent experience I had at one of these big box retailers. I won’t say which one, and we’re not necessarily implying that this happens 100% of the time. However, we have had enough customers come to us in the past 20 years, fed up and desperate for something different, after these same types of experiences with large home improvement retailers…many after they’ve already flushed way too much money down the toilet.

Big Box” stores just don’t give the time and attention you need…or deserve.

And as we’ve said in previous posts, buying exterior doors is an important purchase that involves a lot of knowledge – about types, styles, manufacturers, installation, hardware, energy-efficiency, security, and of course, the dreaded topic of Warranties. You could go to a large home improvement chain, where the employees know a little bit about everything – or you could go specifically to an entry door specialist, where all they do is sell and install entry doors…and they warranty their work. Which sounds like the better option to you?

The Home Improvement Chain Experience

Here’s what happened:

I went to the store to buy exterior door hardware, both an active and a “dummy” set for a double door. Let me explain what that means: when you have double doors, the hardware on one side is operable, while the other looks operable, but isn’t. It’s just there to provide symmetry and look pretty.

I asked a store employee and was told they did sell the dummies and they could be found “Over there on the shelf.” Well, I’m no “dummy” (see what I did there?); I know my way around a hardware store, so I didn’t think much of the fact that he didn’t walk me over to the area to assist me. However, had I been someone else, I might have wanted an employee to come with me and talk me through the different types of hardware available.

I went over to the appropriate aisle and looked on the shelf…no dummy. When I could not find the dummy I was looking for – or for that matter any dummies – I instinctively knew the employee was probably not very knowledgeable since most box stores, from my experience, do not keep this stuff on the shelves. But he did not even offer to walk over to the shelf with me.

No sooner than I turned around was the guy gone.

I walked around until I found another store employee. Once I caught his attention, I told him that what I needed was out of stock and asked if I could order more, and he curtly responded, “Nope, you’ll have to come back tomorrow.”

As a business owner for 20+ years, I can think of about a billion other ways he could have gone about that to make the customer – me – feel like the employee cared about my situation.

I left feeling pretty annoyed, and also sad for the consumers out there who are putting up with that kind of service (can I even call it service?) without knowing that there’s a better way. Sure, you might save yourself a couple of bucks shopping at a big box retail store – but in my opinion, what you save in money you make up for in headaches.

Go somewhere the people care – about you, about their products, about educating you and guiding you through the process, about taking the time to help you choose the best quality product for your home and your budget. You deserve it.