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Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

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Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Inca Heat on 6/6/2010, 10:14 pm

(This is a rant - leaving names out on purpose) Anyone ever have the following happen to them at Lowes? I purchased some 3/4" EMT conduit, 10 pieces of 10 ' and 8 of 5'. I took it to the Plumbing section where I asked for it to be cut. As I did not need it immedietly, i Left it for a nice gentleman to cut for me when he had another person on the floor working with him. I prepaid for it all.

I went to pick up this conduit today with my girlfriend, and asked a different person on duty in plumbing where my cut EMT conduit was. He immedietely responded "We are not allowed to cut those in plumbing, its against OSHA standards" in a very angry voice.

I told him another gentleman named had taken my already purchased conduit, and had checked with the supervisor on duty, and got the ok.

"He was not supposed to do that. I guess that's why he had not been on duty in a few days, he probably got fired." He then asked me for the name of the supervisor on duty that day.

I told him I really didn't care nor pay attention, I just wanted to pick up my conduit!

He went to get it, seemed really angry and badgered me one more time to ask and figure out who the supervidor could have been. I left with my conduit, p'ed off about the experience.

By the way, is cutting EMT conduit against "OSHA" regs?

Thanks

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Wyldflower on 6/6/2010, 10:23 pm

That doesn't seem right... I'm sorry to hear you had this problem. My Home Depot cut my EMT in plumbing, with no problem.

The only way that I can think that OSHA regulations would be involved would be whether the person doing the cutting has been properly trained. Any other thoughts on this?

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  chocolatepop on 6/6/2010, 10:55 pm

umm, i dont get it. They cut wood all the time no problem, why would conduit be different? Maybe the number of cuts? If that is the case they usually just charge a little extra. weird certainly strange... but I'm no OSHA expert.

i would get that guys name and let the store and regional manager know the deal.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Chopper on 6/7/2010, 12:27 am

If it isn't Ok to do it why do they have the cutting tool set up for it? Call OSHA yourself and ask. Some people are rule nuts at heart and if a rule doesn't exist, they make it up.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  LaFee on 6/7/2010, 1:51 am

Or just let it roll off as stress that you're under no obligation to deal with.

Maybe his wife yelled at him, his kid got a note from the principal, he spilled his coffee, and had an accident on the way to work.

He didn't have the right to try to ruin your day, but if you have your conduit (and don't need more of it!)....life's too short to deal with unpleasant people you don't HAVE to deal with.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  extremesoccermom on 6/7/2010, 9:08 am

I would have made sure to get this second employee's name and called the Store Manager later. That kind of talk is unacceptable to the customer. If it was a problem yes the other employee and asst. manager should be scolded but not the customer ever.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  timwardell on 6/7/2010, 9:29 am

I'd report the guy to the store manager. There's no excuse for a customer to be subjected to that. My Lowe's cut the stuff in the aisle right next to the pile of conduit. The guy just pulled a cutting tool from his pocket and knocked it out. I cannot imagine the rules are different from store to store or state to state.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Nurse Grams on 6/7/2010, 10:30 am

So how far do you want to take this? Did you just need to vent (which is totally ok!) Are you willing to just let it go or are you wanting to pursue it further?

My ex-husband was an HR Exec. so I'm familiar with some of this and the specific terms. Did you know (at least in MI) state Standards supersede Federal Standards? ie; MIOSHA is "stronger" than OSHA. That may also be the case in CT.

I did a quick online search and can find no specific Standard that would prohibit the cutting of EMT conduit at a Lowes type of store. There are some Standards re: dust exposure, dust ignition, and requirements for a washing station if employees will be making application of chemicals.

So to answer your posted question ... no, I can't find anything to support Grumpy Employees' statement that cutting EMT conduit is not allowed by OSHA (doesn't mean it isn't ... but I can't find supporting evidence and my fairly rational mind can't imagine a Standard that would apply) I think he is incorrect.

Furthermore, I know of NO business in which it is Ok to deal with customers in the manner that the Grumpy Employee used with you. So if nothing else, I would approach the Mgr and explain the situation and suggest he use it as a "training opportunity" (note: this is a nice code word HR people like to use, which usually translates to "getting your ass chewed out") with Grumpy Employee.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Inca Heat on 6/7/2010, 10:39 am

I will give them a call later today and speak to someone. Normally I just don't care, but me being latino, and the gentleman who helped me also being latino, and the way he came off, I felt like it could have been something else unrelated to the conduit ot begin with. I really like going to Lowe's, who knows If I will need more conduit cut or other things.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Inca Heat on 6/7/2010, 1:31 pm

Spoke to the Manager on duty at Lowes. I told her the story, she was surprised to hear that someone would say something like that to me. She told me she was going to address the topic with the employee in question.

The other employee was not fired, does not know why he would say something like that. She is also looking into OSHA guidelines to see if in fact it is against regs to cut conduit. She had never heard of such a thing. I told her that gardener's commonly use EMT conduit to build trellis' for gardens.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Odd Duck on 6/7/2010, 2:18 pm

I suspect the reason for crabby employee saying that they were not authorized to cut conduit is because it is electrical conduit (even though that's not what you were using it for). When electricians use conduit, they MUST smooth the inside of the tube to keep it from fraying the covering of the wires they run through it. If the outer insulating layer of the wires were compromised that's a house fire just waiting to happen. Remember, that wire is pulled through conduit for yards and yards, sometimes, and a rough edge can easily cut the insulation.

It would be safer, from a liability standpoint for Lowe's, to not cut electical conduit, but I know that most will cut it for you. I don't know if that's out of ignorance on the employee's part, or just because you tell them it's just going to be a garden trellis.

Not that any of that justifies "Mr. Crabbypants" being short with you. But legally, it's the smart way to go, he's just trying to protect his company, even if they don't know it.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Shoda on 6/7/2010, 2:20 pm

That sounds like a good reason. I hadn't thought about that.

If you take home a 10' long piece, how are folks cutting it? The idea of cutting metal with a miter box sends shivers down my spine. How do the electricians cut it and keep it smooth?

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Odd Duck on 6/7/2010, 2:29 pm

I believe they use a tool that smooths the inside of the pipe after it's cut using (usually) a cut-off saw or hand saw (whatever is appropriate to how many cuts they're making). It really doesn't matter what you use to cut it with when you're just using it for trellis, no need to smooth the inside of the pipe. It's quite easy and quick to cut using a hack saw, but if you're wiring a whole house, that would be a lot of hand-cutting, hence the electric cut-off saw.

Sharon, wife of the guy that can fix anything.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  middlemamma on 6/7/2010, 3:01 pm

I agree that the employee should have been kinder...more customer service friendly.

I just thought I would offer up another perspective.

Since I began my SFG a little over 2 months ago I have probably made 50+ trips to Lowes and Home Depot. Of these trips I would guesstimate well over half ended with interactions like you describe in your post here. I really chewed on what could be going on? Why such poor service?

My husband has swung a hammer since he was 17 and out of high school. Construction is all he knows. In the last 3 years he has been in and out of work repeatedly due to the state of the economy. I think the big box stores are hurting as well due to the same factors. New home building is down, construction in general is down, and people improving their homes have less money. Taking this into consideration I think that they have cut back their staff considerably. I have noticed a lot less employees milling around in the aisles asking me if I need help.

People like my husband that are out of work are begging for jobs at places like the big box stores because when there is nothing to build this is the next best place for people like him with no other skills or knowledge. Although I know my husband would jump at a job at all right now, I also know it would be hard for him to happily work for less than 1/2 his journeyman wage and have to work retail, meaning weekends that he used to be able to enjoy with his family at home. I know he would welcome the job and paycheck but it would be hard for him to swallow the lesser position (for lack of better words, not saying the position is not a good one).


With all that said, I am sorry for your experience. Definitely go talk to the manager and demand good customer service...I just wanted to provide a different angle in which to view this as I have seen it noticeably in many industries as people take jobs that may or may not be their expertise in the effort to put food on their table.

Just Middlemamma

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  MeyerLemon on 6/8/2010, 1:58 am

OSHA regs only deal with the safety of employees, not the safety of products leaving the store. The guy was totally wrong and making things up as he went along.

I probably would have returned the pipe right there and gone somewhere else. Something that I absolutely will not deal with is bad customer service Evil or Very Mad just really gets my hackles up

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  herbarium on 6/8/2010, 8:55 am

I work in the garden department at Home Depot. We cut EMT for customers all the time. It is cut in the electrical department often by one of our electrical guys who is also an electrician so he knows the regulations. At least in Utah there should be no problem with us cutting EMT in the store.
I am glad you told store management. Whether it should have been cut for you or not the employee had no business speaking to you in that way.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  Chopper on 6/9/2010, 3:51 am

It occurs to me that when my son worked for Home Depot he was hurt quite badly by using a forklift at his boss' behest without any of the mandatory training and part of the delivery bay was broken. It is possible that the store you were in had recently dealt with some sort of serious gaff and everyone, this person in particular, was on the hot seat.

Still no reason to take it out on the customer as if you were some sort of OSHA scofflaw, but retail makes the sanest people madmen.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  middlemamma on 6/9/2010, 12:59 pm

AMEN to that Boffer....

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  boffer on 6/9/2010, 1:04 pm

@middlemamma wrote:AMEN to that Boffer....

not me

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

Post  middlemamma on 6/9/2010, 1:15 pm

Oh crud....sorry.... meant Chopper.

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Re: Rant! Lowes - Curt response when picking up EMT Conduit

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