Home Depot Horror

Puyallup Home Depot Experiences

I visited the place of my first corporate job yesterday to buy some nails and it brought back some memories; when I turned 18 I was a night stalker at Home Depot (also known as night-shift stock guy). I was the youngest guy on the crew at the Puyallup Home Depot by at least ten years, but I think the HR manager at that Home Depot wanted to see if she could cut costs by using cheaper, younger labor. I made $10 an hour and typically worked from 9 pm to 7 am. I worked at the Puyallup Home Depot for about three and a half months in the summer between high school at Cascade Christian and college at the University of Washington. After my time at the Puyallup Home Depot, I transferred to the Home Depot in Seattle to work as a sales associate in the hardware department (where I knew next to nothing lol).

The Home Depot was not a bad company to work for- it had slightly higher pay than most other retailers though the work was a bit tougher. Just suffice it to say I am extremely grateful to my younger self for going to college and not forcing me to continue that life path.

Lenny: Legendary Loser

During my time at the Home Depot, most of the guys were pretty cool except for the night shift manager, Lenny. Lenny was a nerd who tried to be an alpha male and was a real dick to his employees. One month before I left the Puyallup Home Depot, Lenny had the three month employee review with me (about two weeks before the three month point). He told me that my performance was not very good and he gave me a grade of D… I was shocked- I have excel at most things I do. Lenny then told me that if I worked extra hard for the rest of my time at the Puyallup Home Depot, he would try to put in a good word for me. For the next few weeks I worked extra hard though I was pretty pissed that I had received a poor grade when I worked harder than most of the crew. A few weeks later, Lenny and I sat down again and this time I had what apparently was my “real” review. The first one was something he just did to try to give me “a little extra motivation”- I actually ended up receiving a B- or so something like that. Lenny was an idiot.

Stalking Nights

The Puyallup Home Depot night stalking (sorry cant resist) experience was a pretty unique one. I was unable to hang out with most of my friends because my day started at 6 pm when I had breakfast and farted around the house for a couple of hours before I left for work at 8:35. Work started at 8:35 pm and I worked through the night till 6:30 or 7 am, when I went home and crashed. The work was pretty physical; I was on my feet the whole time, walking around and carrying boxes of tools and nails to put on the shelves. My days off were Monday and Tuesday- all the old timers had the weekends to go drinking. All this resulted in me having no social life- until Trent got smashed by a log and had his lungs punctured.

After Trent’s recovery in the hospital, he and I hung out almost every day and he would stay up all night with me on my “weekends” (Monday and Tuesday at 4 am lol). The two of us had all sorts of adventures. One night we were bored and decided to try to catch a rabbit. The two of us were running through his neighbors yards in the dark chasing rabbits when a cop showed up. He waved us over and asked what we were doing. We told him we were “hunting rabbits” and he looked at us incredulously, shook his head and drove off. Later that summer I had my first beer with Trent and Rachelle… Trent took the lead because he had “previous drinking experience” and proceeded to give each of us a glass of Coors with ice in it. A week later, I decided that we should have a real drinking experience since my grandparents were gone on vacation.

Rough Night With Yellowtail

Little Joelio was a good-hearted kid, but sometimes he was irresponsible. Trent came over on my Saturday morning (conventionally known as Monday night) and I went downstairs and took the biggest, cheapest bottle of wine from my grandparents wine cellar. It was one of those oversized bottles of Yellowtail and probably held two and a half ordinary sized bottles of wine. Trent and I put our favorite cds (Nirvana, Eminem, Radiohead, Rage against the Machine) in my grandparents sound system and turned it up a little and settled down to drink. Unfortunately, neither of us had any clue what we were doing, so we poured ourselves pint glasses of red wine and tried to drink it- we had not acquired the taste and it was awful. We both just plugged our noses and pounded. We finished the huge bottle in a fairly short time. I had never been even buzzed before and had no idea what to expect. I felt good until my head started to spin, then I looked at the ground and asked Trent why he hadn’t cleaned up his puke… to which he replied that’s yours, look at your shirt. So I went and collected my poor grandparents white towels and mopped up the wine & chunks off the floor and tossed the towels in the laundry room. I spent the next couple of hours praising the porcelain god on my knees. I remember one thought from that time, “Ugh, I shouldn’t do this again… but I can’t promise myself that because I probably will”. What foresight.

The next night Trent and I’s other friend came over and though I didn’t drink, they did. The two of them ended up starting a three year relationship on the bed of my grandparents guest room. Apparently they didn’t know what they were doing in bed any more than I knew how to drink because the sheets had blood on them the next day (c’mon guys, lay down a towel if its that time of month!)

My grandparents arrived home a few days later and my grandma has the mind of a steel trap. She came to me and said, “Joel, what did you do while I was gone?” I never lied to my grandparents, but I did my best to avoid her questions…. “I worked and hung out with my friends.”

“What else did you do, Joel?” “Um….. I worked out… ate food…. talked to people on the phone…”

“What else?” Ack! What does she know?!?!?! “What are you referring to?”

“Why don’t you tell me about the wine you drank?” I told her everything then and she and my grandpa were not that angry, but they didn’t let me use their house again alone for three years.

I have a bunch of other stories from that time period and the ridiculous first three months at the Seattle Home Depot if anyone is interested. Write u want to hear more in the comments and I’ll add to this post, otherwise I’ll just keep it in my head.

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Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.