Stop me if I'm rambling...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Home Depot and the Pencil "Thief"

As the Boston Herald reported yesterday, "Home Depot did the math" and has decided not to ban a Lawrence man for a year after he accidentally walked out of a Methuen store with a 41-cent used pencil in his pocket Thursday.

“We will not be pursuing any claims against Mr. Panorelli for this incident,” read a statement from Home Depot. “We welcome Mr. Panorelli back as a customer in our stores at any time.” Panarelli, however, is rebuffing their apology, and I don't blame him. “That apology doesn’t mean much to me,” he said. “I’m not happy with the way I was treated. I didn’t deserve to have a security guard asking me why I needed a pencil so bad I had to steal one.”

Here's what happened: Last Thursday morning, Michael Panorelli went to the store with George Salas, a homeowner who had hired him to do a window replacement. The two ventured to the molding and trim aisle and Panorelli asked Salas for a pen or pencil so he could jot down calculations and make markings on lumber. Salas picked up a sharpened carpenter’s pencil and handed it to Panorelli. Upon purchasing $117 in Home Depot supplies, Panorelli and Salas proceeded to exit the store. However, Panorelli was quickly stopped by security guards, who noted that he had not paid for the 41-cent pencil. He explained that it was a simple mistake and that he had accidently walked off with the item. To his amazement, Panorelli was shuttled into a back office, where he was instructed to sign a document that banned him from Home Depot for one year. He was told that the company’s lawyers would be contacting him within the next two months and might pursue civil charges.

Well, Home Depot eventually backed off but the damage has been done. Previously a loyal devotee of the store, Panorelli now says he'll never go back because of the way he was treated. Hopefully, Home Depot has learned a lesson from this. Granted, this is an egregious example of security personnel not having a common-sense filter to differentiate between an easily forgivable blunder by a customer who just spent $117 and premeditated crime. However, it does seem indicative of the way the customer service industry in this country tends to operate these days. Think about it: When was the last time that you REALLY felt valued as a customer?


Post a Comment

<< Home