The Untold Truth Of Home Depot

According to Inc., the DIY market will only continue to gain popularity in the United States. Even though there are already multiple TV channels dedicated to home repairs, the internet is bursting with blogs, articles, and how-to's, and every American's weekend is filled with at least one project. Because of this, DIY is only going to get more popular. In contrast to the uptick of automation in almost all areas of life, the DIY movement stands in stark contrast, giving people the opportunity to create for the love of creating.

According to Green Builder Media, the Covid-19 pandemic increased spending in the DIY sector by 75%, and that number is only expected to keep going up. Millennials are spending more money in that sector than any other generation. They primarily focus on projects that enhance their living spaces by removing clutter and elevating possible opportunities to connect with nature while at home. With all the in-home construction going on, DIYers have to purchase their supplies somewhere, and that somewhere is The Home Depot. The superstore has been in business since 1979 and holds many untold truths.

The Home Depot makes profits, no matter the current state of the housing market

The national housing market can be unpredictable. Housing prices rise and fall based on the stock market's overall performance, as well as local supply and demand. The current price of mortgage interest rates also heavily impacts whether or not most Americans will be able to stop renting and purchase a home. But, according to Forbes, profits at the international home improvement chain seem to keep soaring, no matter the current state of the economy.

This is because even when homes stop changing hands, it doesn't mean that people will stop wanting to improve where they already live. If a homeowner can't qualify for a new mortgage, they still might be able to spend a few thousand dollars on revamping their home's kitchen or installing a new HVAC system. This trend also applies to contractors. Even when the housing market slows, it doesn't mean that remodeling work necessarily follows after. Plus, Home Depot continues to expand its business into the ever-evolving e-commerce space and outperform its closest competitors, like Lowe's.

Home Depot is synonymous with 'dad jokes' in online lore

The Home Depot theme song is going viral on TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and just about every other social media you can think of. But there's just one catch: while most trends on the Internet tend to die out in weeks, if not days, the Home Depot meme is here to stay. According to Time, social media users began applying the catchy instrumental theme song over dad moments (like fixing a tire) as early as 2019. Users are also often seen interlacing the song with other popular musical numbers, like Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" and dancing along to the beat.

It's easy to laugh at these short, funny videos, but it's also easy enough to wonder why in the world Home Depot is the subject of such online fervor. Musicologist and Northeastern professor of music, Andrew Mall, told Time that the first hint is because the song is so short, it automatically lends itself to easy listening. It's therefore great to play on a loop. Not only that, but the song's 120 beats per minute tempo makes it very easy to dance along to.

Home Depot once destroyed stock instead of donating it to hurricane relief

According to WSB-TV Atlanta, Home Depot engaged in some shady practices after hurricanes Irma and Maria ripped through the Caribbean. The retail giant had a store located on the island of St. Thomas. And, just like every other store in the area, it suffered significant damage during the storms. However, what caused controversy is what was uncovered after the clouds had cleared: Home Depot didn't lose nearly as much merchandise as everyone thought.

Pictures emerged of what looked to be merchandise in perfectly good condition, wrapped up in plastic and sitting in the parking lot at the back of the store. The goods were destroyed and then taken to nearby Bovoni Landfill, a place that has been under investigation by government authorities in the past for poor waste management. Company representatives stated that the Home Depot did not donate any supplies and instead destroyed them because they could not determine what was safe to use and what was not. They chose instead to collect the insurance money. This choice, however, infuriated many locals who were desperate for supplies and wanted the chance to decide for themselves.

Home Depot was founded after its founders lost their jobs

If it weren't for massive restructuring efforts at a former home-improvement store known as Handy Dan, then Home Depot as we know it today never would have existed. According to Insider, founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank were very high up in Handy Dan, as president and chairman of the board and CFO, respectively. But even their seniority wasn't enough to keep their jobs safe. A man named Sanford Sigiloff fired the pair in 1978, even though Handy Dan was performing very well.

While both men were understandably upset, they chose to take their bad situation and turn it around by trying something new: opening their own home improvement store. One that they could run exactly how they wanted to. According to Home Depot's corporate website, the pair hit the ground running and didn't waste any time. They were fired on April 14, and by June 29, they had already incorporated their new company. Less than one year later, on June 22, 1979, the first two stores opened in Georgia.

The Home Depot once fired an employee for defending himself against racist harassment

Home Depot works hard to defend its public image, but there have been some major missteps that made it a bit difficult to do so throughout its history. One such incident is the firing of New York-based employee Maurice Rucker. According to the Times Union, Mr. Rucker, a black man, was accosted while helping a white customer. Though entirely unprovoked, the customer chose to hurl racist insults at Rucker, who went on to speak up and defend himself. In the video, Rucker asks the man to please leave the store. He adds, "You're lucky I'm at work, because if I wasn't, you wouldn't be talking to me like this."

Even though Rucker was responding to a threat against his safety, corporate Home Depot interpreted his remarks as a threat against the customer and fired him. Rucker had worked at the Albany Home Depot for more than 10 years at the time of his firing. This, plus the unfair circumstances, led to public outrage. At first, Home Depot doubled down on its choice to let Rucker go, citing company policy. However, after further public anger over how company policy allows for blatant racism, Rucker was offered the option to rejoin. It is unclear if he accepted the offer.

Home Depot was a petitioner in a Supreme Court case

According to Oyez, Home Depot went before the Supreme Court in 2019. The case, Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v. Jackson, started in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The basis of the case was that a private citizen, George Jackson, purchased a water treatment system on a Home Depot credit card. Citibank attempted to collect this debt from Jackson, but he filed a counterclaim against the collection in addition to claims against Home Depot and Carolina Water Systems, too.

Jackson told the court that Home Depot was selling water treatment systems at inflated and unfair prices, thus the debt should be invalid. After the initial proceedings, Citibank dropped its complaint against George Jackson, and Home Depot also attempted to remove itself from the ordeal. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the retailer did not actually have the grounds to make such a request.

Home Depot offered to pay the funeral expenses of an employee who died of Covid-19

According to the Hartford Courant, 26-year-old Jonathan Ferreira was the Head Cashier at the Berlin, Connecticut, Home Depot. He was a favorite among customers and known for his bright smile and friendly demeanor. He always went above and beyond to help anyone in the store and often picked up extra shifts at work to assist his coworkers. Though he had recently studied history and anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, he took a break from his studies because he discovered his true calling: art and design.

Ferreira had been named employee of the month at his local store and looked forward to a bright future. Sadly, he contracted Covid-19 and later passed away due to complications from the virus in April 2020. As his local team so loved Ferreira, Home Depot offered to cover his funeral expenses to ease his family's burden during such a difficult time.

Home Depot offers free career training to aspiring tradespeople

Home Depot is invested in the future of physical trades, like electricians, general contractors, and plumbers. Because of this, the company created The Home Depot Foundation to fund training initiatives. According to Home Depot's corporate website, the management team has partnered with other organizations like the Home Builders Institute (HBI), the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), and the Atlanta Technical College (ATC) to address ongoing education gaps and labor shortages.

The average age of an American plumber is currently 56 years old, which means that as the current workforce retires, younger generations are not coming in behind them to fill the gaps in these highly skilled trades. In addition, each year over 80% of homeowners and contractors report that they struggle to find the skilled help they need. To help solve this problem, the programs funded by Home Depot offer free or low-cost training to community members in these trades. Each course issues a pre-apprenticeship certification training diploma (PACT), which puts each student well on their way towards a new career.

Home Depot sells some strange items

According to The Family Handyman, while most shoppers might make a trip to the Home Depot for light fixtures, window shades, or even garden supplies, the renovation giant's shelves are also stocked with some surprising and just plain weird options. For example, you can buy coyote urine in bulk at most stores to keep unwanted pests off your property. If you find yourself on vacation without the proper snorkeling gear, there is no need to trek to the local sports store when Home Depot has just what you need.

If you like to bake, you can purchase a bundt cake pan shaped like a castle instead of the typical circle shape. You can also buy all-natural Bat Guano to fertilize your front yard if you're into that sort of thing. And yes, Home Depot sells practical stuff like lamps, but even within that category, there are some wild options, like a lamp that looks like a rooster or even a giant pearl. So, no matter what you may be in the market for, Home Depot has a larger selection than any of us might think.

Home Depot has been embroiled in political controversy

It's no secret that things can easily become sticky when businesses throw their support behind a political candidate. According to NPR, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus faced public backlash when he pledged his personal support for Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign. The home improvement chain clarified that Marcus no longer works with Home Depot, and the store does not comment on political races. However, this did not stop social media users from expressing their desire to boycott Home Depot going forward.

According to Insider, another co-founder made remarks about Trump that caused a lot of press in early 2021 after the January 6 Capitol Riot. Ken Langone was previously a major donor to the Republican party, but seemingly withdrew his support after the violence at the Capitol Building, calling it a "disgrace" that "should never have happened in this country." Home Depot did not respond publicly to Langone's comments.

Home Depot's merchandising managers got caught pocketing store money

Numerous corruption scandals have marred Home Depot over its many years of operation. According to CBS News, the most famous was when its purchasing managers accepted millions of dollars in bribes from flooring companies to ensure that they would sell only their products in the Home Depot stores. If a brand can make it onto Home Depot shelves, then its financial future is pretty much set, due to the store's healthy profit margins and committed customer base.

According to FloorDaily, the Home Depot spokesman Jerry Shields told the press at the time that those involved in the scandal were three men and one woman who were lower-level purchasing managers. When their scheme was discovered, the group was promptly fired for not following company business ethics policies. The whole operation was uncovered by an anonymous whistleblower who alerted upper management, which is lucky for Home Depot customers as well. Because if this had not been caught, shoppers could have been on the hook for subpar flooring so the purchasing managers could keep lining their own pockets.

Home Depot was fined millions for unsafe lead paint practices

According to the United States Department of Justice, Home Depot was fined $20,750,000 because the company did not follow the safety measures put in place for using lead paint during construction at its stores. The fine was handed down in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition to the fine, the agencies require that Home Depot create a company-wide educational program to ensure safer work practices. The program must cover the actions of Home Depot's direct employees and any contractors the store might hire for renovation or restoration work. The curriculum must ensure that all present on a job site are educated against the spreading of lead dust and paint chips during any construction work.

While monitoring the compliance of Home Depot customers who complete DIY projects is not part of the settlement, the two government departments still encouraged  Home Depot to make compliance information as widely accessible as possible for its customers to ensure public safety. Because of this, the store will promote the practice in-store, online, and during any workshops it hosts.

Home Depot gave free money to shoppers in the early days

In the early days of Home Depot, the bright orange superstore wasn't doing too great financially, so the founders had to think of something to get people in the door, and they had to think of something fast. According to Insider, Jennifer Wyatt, Home Depot's company historian and archivist, reported that the store's founders took out about $700 in one-dollar bills in what they hoped would be one of the most successful promotional stunts ever to be pulled off.

The idea was that if you gave someone free money to shop in your store, not only would they be flattered (because who doesn't like free money, right?), but they would also be more likely to spend even more money in the store since they were already in there. So, the team began passing out the dollar bills to anyone who came by: kids, parents, even employees. However, the promotion was still a bust. The founders were still holding on to plenty of the money. There hadn't even been enough interest to hand it all out. Now that Home Depot is a multi-billion dollar company, we wish you still got a dollar or two free when you entered the store.

Home Depot once employed more Olympians than any other company

Home Depot is home to many Olympic champions. According to Home Depot's corporate site, the store employed more Olympic and Paralympic athletes than any other business from 1990 until 2008. This 18 year time period covers nine games, both summer and winter. Athletes are welcome to work at Home Depot while training for the games and return to the chain once they have retired from their sport. For example, former U.S. National Rowing team member Christopher Duffy became the vice president of In-Store Environment.

However, some of the most famous Olympic athletes have had their start at the store and are still very much active within the public sphere. Ronda Rousey, professional wrestler, actor, and social media star, worked at the store in Reading, Massachusetts, while training for her 2008 Olympic judo competition. She went on to win bronze. But she's not the only employee to take home a medal. Athletes currently employed by Home Depot won an astonishing 18 medals during the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, Utah.