Home Depot’s marketing campaign with its male narrator–I’ll call him, Harrison–is an entertaining kick in the ass. The campaign unites homeowners to stop the procrastination. You can paint. You can trim the grass and plant perennials.
Harrison says, “Start here. Talk to her. Pick up some of that. A few of those. Okay, a lot those. Dirt. Plants. Water. And then … spring. Big time.” The short sentences and swift shifts in imagery create intensity. Homeowners are moving, doing, buying. And there are fireworks, people. Fireworks! The message is that all these do-it-yourself projects are not just easy they are attainable. My home could be awesome if I’d get off the couch and get home-improving.
Let’s go, Harrison. I hear you! Get the weekend of projects started!
But here’s what really happens when I go to the Home Depot.
The sliding doors open in the entrance. I have my list and good intentions and Harrison speaking the Home Depot rally cry “Let’s Do. This,” in my head.
My three-year-old selects a cart. I get Reece settled in her seat. I search the skyscraper tall ceilings for signage, for a path to pursue, since I don’t shop at this particular franchise often and don’t know my way around the store.
On my list are three different locations–a new drill bit, tile grout, and decorative grasses. I know this list will set me on inadvertent tour of the store. And I don’t want a tour. I find a person wearing jeans, a gray polo, and the Home Depot orange apron. He looks fit and strong enough to cut wood and build decks, a guy experienced with home improvement.
“Where can I find a replacement bit for my drill?”
“Ah, I don’t know, but I can find someone who does,” he says. I am surprised. How can we go and do if the man with the apron doesn’t know where to start? He connects me with a retiree behind the contractor’s station. Retiree points at the aisle behind us to a selection of drills and accessories twenty feet from his spot.
Yeah, let’s do this.
Harrison’s voice and I and my kid meander, following the ceiling signs, back to the section with tile and tile supplies. I am on a mission to buy the grout for the tile my husband and I installed in front of our fireplace. I stare at the shelves and realize I’ve never purchased grout before. There are choices to be made. Sanded grout or unsanded grout. Grout in tubs, premixed, or grout in bags, unmixed. I have questions. How accurate are the colors on the labels? Does grout get darker when it dries? And how much do I really need? I look around for someone in an apron. My aisle is empty and the desk where customers do their special tile orders is empty, too.
Let’s do this. Harrison is trying to keep the spirit alive.
My three-year-old is playing hide and seek in the stacks of supplies. She’s already found a random, jumbo-sized marker an employee must have used to make signs. She thinks we need to buy it. I tell her no, it’s not for sale. I don’t want to move too far from her. I also don’t want to drag her around the store to find some help. I see three clerks wearing aprons by the cash registers. They are busy a-doing all right–busy laughing and yakking as if they are on a coffee break. I yell, “Excuse me!” But my voice gets swallowed up by the vacuous ceilings. I yell, “Hey! Excuse me!” They don’t hear me. I consult the Google app on my phone instead.
Let’s do this. Com’on. Hang in there.
Once I select my tub of grout, I push the cart with Reece wiggling in it outside into the garden center. “Let me out,” Reece says. She likes touching plants. She likes to wet her hands in the water fountains on display. I put her on to the concrete and tell her to follow me. We walk an aisle or two, browsing the begonias and zinnias, hoping to find the annual red grass I like to plant in the front yard. I’m not finding it. I am distracted by my kid, deflated by how this trip to the store is difficult. I find hostas and petunias and sedums and all the regular plants garden centers keep, but no grass. I ask the clerk where they keep their decorative grasses.
She says, “I don’t know. But I can find someone who does.” She reaches for the phone.
I don’t want her to call anyone. I want Harrison, the guy with the assuring, knowledgeable voice.
“No, that’s okay. Forget it.” I move to her register to indicate I planned to pay and leave. I say, “Do you know that’s the second time that’s happened today. That a clerk didn’t know where to find something.”
She wore reader glasses. She looked at me over the top of her frames and shrugged. “It’s a big store with thousands and thousands of items in inventory. We can’t be expected to know where everything is.”
It’s time to leave anyway. My kid is reaching into the fountain and splashing water all over her shirt. I’m annoyed–and not just with my kid. Harrison would’ve known where those grasses are. He promised fireworks blazing and spring, big time. I am gonna go do this home improvement somewhere else. And when I get back to the couch or when I need a swift motivational kick to get back to the garden, I’ll listen for Harrison’s rally cry.
This post is a 2 for 1, inspired by letter L and K (as in Let’s and Kick and they don’t Know nothing) in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April. Thanks for reading. Scroll past the social media buttons to share a home improvement story or to comment on this post.