Home Depot has an incredible selection of area rugs. I’m talking thousands of them. Most are only available online, though. If you go to a store, you’ll see a much smaller selection. Maybe 100 patterns. And, of these, only a small percentage are available at the store. Most are special order. So you have a number of choices:
1. buy something carried in stock at the store
2. special order a rug from the store
3. order a rug online
If you buy one of the few that are carried in the store and, for some reason, you don’t like it you can just return it. If you special order one from the store or buy one from the website and you don’t like it, you have to pay a 15% restocking fee. So, there’s a substantial risk.
Clearly, you can minimize the risk by ordering one that they do carry a sample of. At least you’ve seen it in real life vs. just a 3″ x 5″ online picture. Luckily, for me, the rug I wanted was one for which they had an in store sample. But it wasn’t something they carried in the store. It was a special order. And, here’s the rub, it was on sale on the website for $399, but cost $499 if you ordered it at the store.
Clearly, I was going to order online. Except they were out of stock even though the sale had just started! I called my local store and didn’t get a lot of assistance. It seemed like too much trouble or plainly impossible. The assistant I spoke to said “that sucks”.
So, I initiated a chat session online. I was encouraged. Philip told me that, luckily, the rug had a store special order SKU and that one of my local stores would be able to order it AND honor the website price. I got the impression that it was only out of stock online and not via the store – something I don’t quite understand. I am, however, willing to wait. He said the online stock won’t be available until the end of April.
In any event, he was going to get back in touch with me. I printed out our chat transcript. And I printed out the web page showing the rug and the sale price, in case I needed them to try and muscle my way into the sales price at my local store, if necessary.
Well, Philip emailed me back:
“Thanks again for allowing me the chance to work on this for you. I enjoy getting to work on anything that may be challenging, and this certainly was. Sadly, it was a challenge that I was not able to meet. After speaking with a store manager in each store (Littleton and Glendale), I am not able to get this item in store at the price of $399.20. I know this is very disappointing, and I was hoping to be able to deliver good news to you, but I could not come through with anything promising. I sincerely wish I could do more, but each avenue I have available was explored and ended dead for me…”
Turns out he wasn’t superman, after all.
Undaunted, I called the Glendale store and I got Paul. Paul, who seemed to understand the system. Paul, who was able to order the rug for me AND get the discount!! I didn’t even need to talk to a manager. He did that, in order to get the price override (it’s called something like “matching website price”). Unfortunately, the rug really is out of stock and backordered and I won’t get it until the end of April. But I’m patient. It will be here before I know it. As will spring, as will graduation parties, as will…
I paid for it with my VISA, but am going to look into buying a Home Depot discount gift card and having the original charge reversed and then pay with the discount card when we go in to pick it up. Maybe. At a 7% discount, it will save me an additional $28.