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Do any of you tip Home Depot / Lowe's employees for their assistance?

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Initial post: Apr 5, 2010 8:00:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2010 8:12:41 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
I found some people who will install some tile in one of our bathrooms at a pretty good price (found them independantely). I decided to make it easy on myself and stick with the same color / same style of tile that we had installed in the other bathrooms so I went to Lowe's to pick up the tile that the contractors would need to install.

I went up to a Lowe's employee who worked in the areaa nd simply asked the guy if he could double check that I was buying enough tile for the job. So I go to lift the tile boxes into my cart and realize they are much heavier than I thought...I could do it but they are HEAVY so the guy offers to load up my cart for me after I put the first box in (there were 6 total). Then I had a question about baseboards so he walks me over there and he and another employee talk to me about baseboards. So I have my tile, my baseboards and thank them for their help when one of the employee follows me and tells me that the other guy said that if I tip him (this guy) then the other one wants a cut of his tip...

He didn't take it out the car for me, I had planned to load up my cart on my own and YES he did help me but I only had a $20 in my purse and wasn't about to leave that for a tip when I didn't realize that I was expected to give one.

So I thank him for his help again and go to pay...the cashier then calls for someone over the speaker and unbeknownst to me, a guy shows up and she asks him to help me load my car because I had my 2 young boys with me. I figured it's heavy but it's 6 boxes of tile so I could manage but he tells me he's got it then when I thank him for his help, he sort of lingers and tries to have a hold a conversation...I really had to go to get my kids to bed so I was polite and thanked him again for his help, wished him a good night and I could swear that he was disappointed that I didn't tip him...the boxes were heavy but I'm a woman and although it would not be easy, I could have done it myself and had planned to...I think if I were loading a lot more tile or something super heavy, I'd come prepared to tip them but I had planned to do this on my own.

I didn't walk in there thinking I was going to ask for help and didn't have small bills on kids were tired, wanting to get home and starting to fight so I just really wanted to get out of there and go much as I appreciated their help, I felt awkward that I was stiffing them.

It struck me odd because I don't recall us ever tipping any Lowes or Home Depot employees except at Christmas time when they load our tree up. Is this something that everyone else does and I've been clueless? Or perhaps maybe something is going on with Lowe's corporate so that they are squeezing hours / money out of their employees and they are trying to make an extra buck? I simply wasn't prepared and want to make certain that I am next time...

What do you all do?

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 8:11:02 PM PDT
tip people at retail stores?? no way in H E double hockey sticks.

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 8:13:29 PM PDT
Jetflyer says:
An employee of Home Depot told me recently that they will be fired if they are known to have taken a customer tip ..

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:14:19 PM PDT
That would be don't tip the guys at Lowes.

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 8:14:35 PM PDT
You actually found a helpful employee?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:15:00 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
That's what I'm thinking...I mean, they worked IN that department and they were nice to offer to help me but I was really surprised. The last guy didn't ASK for a tip but he was lingering around and trying to keep the conversation going...talking about how hard it was to work there lifting heavy things all day. I left feeling awkward and thinking maybe now I'm not supposed to ask the employees for an assistance if I'm not going to tip them! Glad I'm not the only one who thougth it odd.

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 8:16:01 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
I wonder what the deal is then...I mean the first guy pretty much flat out asked for a tip and literally said his buddy wants a cut of his tip...he didn't get one.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:17:57 PM PDT
T. Call says:
Neither company would put up with this. They could and probably would get fired for this.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:18:02 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
This Lowe's USED to be extremely helpful...there used to be employees that would ask you if you needed help. There is another Lowe's that A LOT closer to our home that seems like there are NO employees or if you find one, they'll run the other way so I went out of my way to shop at this other one that's farther away from me because I wanted to be certain that I was buying enough tile.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:19:18 PM PDT
Obviously, the guy is a jerk, Christina. If he does that enough, he will probably be fired.
Don't worry about it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:20:00 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
Well especially in this economy, I wouldn't want to get someone fired over something like this. If they were vulgar or offensive then I'd take it up the food chain but if these companies have policies against this and here are some employees hoping to receive tips, maybe they have cut back their hours and they are hurting for money.

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 8:20:26 PM PDT
meccano says:
It sounds to me as if they were merely doing the job that they are already paid to do. They guy following you is creepy although I don't completely understand that part of the story to be honest. I would call the store and ask to speak to the manager. Ask them what the corporate policy is on tipping employees. If the manager explains that yes their employees do work for tips you can keep that in mind the next time and decide if that is the type of store you want to shop at. I have a very strong feeling that what you will be told is that they have very strict rules restricting employees against both soliciting or accepting tips. I also suspect that they were taking advantage of you because you are a woman.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:20:55 PM PDT
T. Call says:
<< I wonder what the deal is then...I mean the first guy pretty much flat out asked for a tip and literally said his buddy wants a cut of his tip...he didn't get one.>>

Call the store tomorrow and they will be fired. Period. End of conversation.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:21:18 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
Thanks, Emerald. It just threw me off and I felt chintzy but left me scratching my head is all.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:24:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2010 8:26:43 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
Although I doubt it, maybe by a stretch, their policies have changed? Well, I thought this guy (who asked for a tip) was simply walking back to his desk (the computer desk in the flooring dept) so I just figured he was walking with me in the same direction until he stepped in front of me and asked me.

Funny...I thought men were better tippers! :-) Ha ha. Anyone with a brain knows you don't try to hit up a frazzled and tired Mom with 2 young boys for a tip...I've got snacks, tissues and crackers in my bag - not tipping cash. :-)

Thanks everyone, just wanted a second (or third) opinion :-).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:28:18 PM PDT
No problem........these guys work for a wage. It is retail, not service industry. Make them help all you need. That's what they get paid for.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:29:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2010 8:33:34 PM PDT
... says:
Sorry that this happened to you. I would have done just what you did and would have felt the way you did. I guess you are going to have to think of how to handle this for next time. I am curious to see what other people suggest. While i would not want to see aanyone fired, i would like to know what i could say to make them feel uncomfortable also. I would rather that they felt uncomfortable too. I know that there is someone out there who has a witty reply or comment for such a situation. Sorry this happened to you and if it makes you feel any better, I have never tipped anyone at either of those stores, nor would I .

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:35:38 PM PDT
You should *never* be solicited for a tip in these stores. Anyone who expicitly asked for a tip should be reported as they are doing something that they shouldn't be. That's not the way those stores ever want their employees to be acting.

In some departments they may either earn commissions for selling certain items, and/or their job performace scores depend on helping customers. If you buy something in one of these departments they may give you some paperwork to give to the cashier to help ring things up. And if you have something from one of these departments, but you don't present paperwork to the cashier, the cashier might ask you if anyone helped you so they can properly record it.

But no employee in those stores should ever be solicting tips. And if their manager doesn't address the issue, s/he may find themselves in even bigger trouble.

I'm not going to say that someone doing this is going to be fired on the spot. I don't know if that's the policy. It might be. Or it might just be that some kind of corrective action will be taken. But as customers it's also not our place to decide, either.

If there is some question about whether a tip was expected, like the guy lingering and talking to you, that's one thing. But actually asking about a tip doesn't leave much question.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:35:51 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
M. Mitchell,
I'm really tired tonight so I'm not that quick on my feet tonight...I should have smiled and offered him a cracker :-) or offered him some wisdom from Rumi or Confucius.
I think I'll be shopping at the other Lowe's from now on and just hope I can catch an employee...I swear they are all like Leprechauns at this one store...running away when they see customers.

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 8:41:50 PM PDT
Lizzie B says:
You could call the store and tell them about it without giving specifics. I'm sure it would come up in the next staff meeting.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:43:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2010 8:45:26 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
I'd be more than happy to mention an employee if there is commission or bonus points or whatever but this was nothing like that. The tile I wanted is already stocked there and on their shelves (well floor). I just couldn't find it on the box where it stated how many sq ft each box was so I asked him to be sure that I bought enough.

I see your point but I don't want to get anyone he looked at the receipt that I had from the last Lowe's tile installation...he tried to double check the tile and item number since I wanted the same color. If he noticed my name, I don't need some crazy, bold fired person looking me up while I've got little kids.

In all honesty, if this happens again, I think I'll just be upfront and ask if their asking me for a tip directly is appropriate and simply tell them that I don't appreciate it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 8:43:15 PM PDT
Susan says:
I'd just ask them the next time, "What will your manager think of you intimidating me to give you a tip?"

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 9:03:06 PM PDT
cheapdude says:
As a former Store Manager of a Big Box Home Improvement Store, I assure you the employee should be fired on the spot. It is against company policy to accept or solicit any form of "TIP". It is the expectation that all able employees are to assist you in your purchase. This means that a floor associate may assist you in putting the boxes of tile in your cart or a lot attendant puts the boxes (cases) of tile in your vehicle. I have lifted many 90 lb bags of cement for you ladies and always refused all compensation. Even during xmas season with cut trees all employees must refuse any form of compensation. Not even allowed to accept gifts from vendors.

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 9:07:47 PM PDT
Gary says:
You definitely should not tip employees in a retail store. It is usually against comany policy anyway. My one exception to the rule is when I get a delivery to my home. I recently had a delivery of a large freezer by Lowes. The two guys carried it down to my basement and set it up for me. Then they carried my dead freezer up the stairs and out to their Lowes truck. It was a very hard job with a lot of sweat. I gave them each a $10 tip as they were leaving.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 9:08:26 PM PDT
Gratitude says:
Thanks for your post! This definitely sounds like more of the company image (offering assistance w/o soliciation / compensation) that we are most familiar with. The assistance is definitely much appreciated. :-) I didn't realize we're putting people in uncomfortable situations by offering tips during Christmas season...
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Discussion in:  Gold Box forum
Participants:  68
Total posts:  151
Initial post:  Apr 5, 2010
Latest post:  Apr 8, 2010

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