Free Enterprise at Home Depot

Home Depot

Home Depot, often ridiculed for their consumer-first approach to merchandise, is a godsend for neophytes and DIYers who desire the hand-holding from the men (and women) in orange. It’s also a haven for day laborers, handymen looking for work, and man-with-a-van-types who want to transport your 2x4s and drywall for you. For a price.

What price? Whatever they charge.

There’s no union; no esteemed order of gofers; no decision-making body that regulates rates, hours, and codes of ethics. Each person decides what they will charge you for what they’re offering.

You can find these individuals sauntering around Home Depot, blending in with the customers. They’ll causally walk past you and mention, ever so discreetly, “van service,” or “sheetrocking,” or “electrical,” or whatever skill they profess to be able to sell you services for.

Have you ever used their services? I haven’t and likely never will. While it’s an unexpected blessing to have someone eager to get their hands dirty on your behalf when you’ve made a larger purchase than you expected, the danger lies in not knowing if these individuals can actually perform what they say they can.

Do they have references? Are they licensed? Can you see their work? What happens if there’s a dispute? What guarantees are offered? I don’t believe they have the credentials or ethics of a professional, licensed contractor. There is no way to establish any absolutes with these individuals so the oft-repeated caveat emptor is certainly in order.

You may find it worth the risk and you may even be fortunate enough to find a legitimate craftsman who is diligently earning an honest dollar. Conversely, you may find yourself ruing the decision to use an untried, untested, and unknown laborer. I’ll let your mature decision-making guide you.

At the very least, I tip my hat to these individuals who have discovered a way to earn a living in this down economy. Choosing to work with them is a gamble, though, and I’m not willing to play a game with rules that are determined on a per-game basis.

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