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Yesterday Jalopnik reported that Bob Nardelli — famous to Toolmongers as the guy who got rid of all the good help at your local Home Depot, replacing them with home-office-controlled automotons — was named the new CEO of Chrysler.

Is this a good thing?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Maybe I’m just bitter because during Nardelli’s reign I had a hell of a time finding anyone at the ‘Depot who knew more than the average Joe about hardware.

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13 Responses to The Guy Who Killed The Depot (For Me, Anyway) Moves On — To Chrysler

  1. Chris Murray says:

    I was in the home depot this weekend in the tool corral area. I had to interrupt an associate telling a customer that they needed a 10″ blade for a circular saw/skil saw.

    The depot drone was very insistent on the customer buying a 10″ blade for a 71/4 saw.

    I try to avoid HD at all costs because I can’t help myself when it comes to correcting bad advice, I swear I sell more tools at HD than their employee’s do. I only ever end up in their on a long weekend when HD is open late and everywhere else is already closed.

  2. F451 says:

    There are many reasons Home Depot has changed so much, one was Nardelli the defunct Tool Turd, among others. Nardelli will screw-up Chrysler as well.

  3. TandA4 says:

    I use to like Home Depot… Until it turned into “just another big box store”!

  4. Old Donn says:

    Any of the big box stores are like the chain auto parts stores. There’s usually one person there that knows anything. Catch him and you’re in luck. Anybody else and you’re on your own. When it’s all said & done, Nardelli’s a bean counter. He wasn’t a tool & hardware guy and he’s sure not a car guy. Hunker down, Chrysler employees, it’s gonna be a rough ride.

  5. Fred says:

    In my other life as an investor, I have followed the activities of Cerberus Capital. On balance, they seemed like smart people. They run the comanies they buy. One subset of their companies runs like a mini Halliburton.

    This however, seems incredibly stupid

  6. eschoendorff says:

    Chrysler has always been odd… maybe this guy will fit in there. I dunno. What I do know is that I can usually find a cashier at Home Depot. At Lowes, all I can find are the U-Scans and a custodian named “Bud.”

  7. Koba says:

    On two fronts, I have to agree and disagree with a lot of things other’s post. First and foremost, I work for HD, so that is my perspective, and guess what? I work in the plumbing dept. despite never having turned a wrench on a pipe for monetary gain in my life. I had helped my father replumb his third 100+ year old house before I was 15, so suffice to say I know enuff. And unlike many folks who work there (and Lowes too) I admit when I’m stumped, and I admit when I’m taking a guess. The hardest part about the job really is the pissing and moaning customers who are just imbeciles that believe that plumbing is a trade that can be taught top to bottom in five minutes standing in a store aisle.

    I guess I was just spoiled, I have a great Dad who knows tons more than I. It was from him that I learned the value of educating ones self from many sources before even considering doing a job. The thought of walking into a store with money in hand to buy something without being 100% sure what I’m going to do with it scares me. And on that front, if you’re dumb enough to entertain the thought of a 10″ blade for a std. circ saw for one second, all I ask is that you sign the back of your driver’s license so that someone who isn’t an idiot might inherent some of your leftovers.

    And lastly yes, Nardelli is a pissant, and chrysler is in big trouble. A bean counter who hires bean counters to handle money is a wise man, a bean counter who hires bean counters to make critical product decisions is a failure on all fronts. Our friend Bob N. is the later.

    Lastly (If you’re still there) if you read this site you probably know enough to get a job at HD or Lowes. I say go for it. Do it part time for 30 days and you really will appreciate how silly most people are when it comes to those places.

  8. Brian says:

    I have to agree with Old Don and Koba, and say that there are in fact still people working at HD that have real working knowledge in their department. There will always be people working there that don’t have a clue, it can’t be helped at the wage HD pays. That’s how it is everywhere these days (Circuit, Best Buy, Sears, etc).

    Here’s an idea:
    When I go to Best Buy and have to ask a technical question on something I don’t know much about, I first ask the sales guy/gal questions on a topic I’m well versed in. That let’s me know how much I can trust the answers to my other questions. We all know some of these sales people just pull answers out of their a** (a-hem…. “out of the air”) at these stores… they just don’t care.

    It’s not fool proof, but it may work at HD and other big box stores as well.

  9. Kurt says:

    Why do we expect a Lowes or Home Deopt employee to be area experts in whatever aisle they happen to be standing in? I just don’t think that that’s realistic.

    Advantages to HD and Lowes are:
    1) The hours of operation.
    2) The selection in stock.
    3) Lots of various tool areas to save you trips (plumbing, carpentry, wiring etc..)

    If those advantages aren’t of use to you, why would you go? If I can wait a week, I’d as soon order a part from my friendly local hardware store.

  10. Chuck Cage says:

    Kurt: That’s assuming you still have a “friendly local hardware store.” Around me they were all put out of business by HD/Lowe’s.

    Koba: I’m not suggesting that every HD employee is incompetent. That’s not the case. My father worked for HD for a while, too.

    All: Here’s my problem. When HD first started driving the local experienced hardware store out of business, it didn’t seem so bad — for all the reasons Kurt mentions. In fact, many of the people who worked for the local store ended up working there, so things were good.

    Then came Nardelli’s management style, aptly described by Koba. It accomplished two things: 1) It made it much easier for stores to look good on the charts when they were really screwing the pooch internally, and 2) it drove away most of the experienced floor employees in favor of cheaper people who were younger or more desperate.

    Add that to the fact that there isn’t a local store anymore and you have the end of an era. You’d better know what you’re doing yourself, because Kurt’s right: you can’t depend on a store like HD to offer that advice.

  11. I’m not surprised by this, after all Cerberus is in Greek Mythology the three headed dog known as the hellhound that guards the gate to Hades/Hell. It role is to ensured the spirits of the dead enter and never leave, also its worth noting that no living person was to come into Hades. So Home Depot has indeed sold its soul and run by the dammed.

  12. Koba says:

    Again, I hate to ramble, but I just can’t stand by and let the BS flow. The only thing HD and lowes did was run the a**backwards Hardware stores outta town. I still have 2 or 3 that I use very often because they provide great services that can be had no where else. Go to HD and ask for screens made to your measurements? Between that and obscure parts for everything, there are several local hardware stores in my town booming. I can attest that HD used to have better help, but then again, wal-mart with better help is still wal-mart. I go elsewhere because of product, the same reason I shop at HD for some things. Like I tell people at work: need help? Dial 1-800-CHARTER

  13. Kurt says:

    Kind of a tangent, but here goes:

    It’s a peeve of mine that people complain about loosing their local pharmacy, grocers, hardware store, bookstore and then continue to do the bulk of their shopping at WalMart, WalGreens, HomeDeopt and Borders.

    If you see local stores starting to fall around you, wake up. You better show your support. I’m not saying that you should subsidize stores that are poorly run. I’m just saying that a drill bit set is an extra $2 at my local hardware store. How much extra do I think their expertise is worth? It’s kind of like a ‘tip jar’ to me. I’ll spend an extra few bucks every now and again because I can normally get some great advice from some really knowledgeable people.

    Chuck, it’s sad that you have no more local hardware stores. Lots of places are heading that way. My local store is technically part of a chain called “Do It Best” http://doitbest.com

    Chuck, how about a” hot-or-not: Local hardware stores”? I’d be curious to hear what other toolmongers think about it.

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