I’ve just had a stellar run around with Home Depot this past week.  And what I’ve come away with from this experience is that they have the most archaic way of running their company.  From a large-scale store I really expect them to be technologically up-to-date and interconnected.  Let’s face it, they have the money to pay the people who know how to do this.
Here’s the story:
For my daughter’s birthday I asked people to buy her Home Depot gift cards that I could use towards the purchase of her first bed.  I wanted a loft style bed that they had available Online Only.  So that is what several people bought for her.  Now, we come to the part where I actually have to deal with Home Depot and find out that they are the most useless and inept company imaginable.
I try to order the bed online.  There is no place to input the gift card numbers.  I cannot use Gift Cards online, though this is something that the American site offers.  And, quite frankly, even tiny stores with one location often have websites with the ability to accept gift cards.  I mean we are just talking about a system of numbers registered to amounts of money.  It’s really not rocket science.  I digress.
I then go into a store and try to order the bed and use the gift cards.  Nope.  That is Online Only, the physical store locations cannot do anything with online merchandise.  What?  What does that even mean?  I do not comprehend how a store cannot sell you an online inventory product and allow you to pay in person.  Fine, I digress once more.
I’m told to call the online customer service, as they MUST be able to input the gift card information for me.  I look joyously forward to reading off four separate 23 digit numbers over the phone, but at least it will be done.  While online I see the live chat function and decide to give it a try first.  Here’s our conversation:

Please wait for a live chat associate to respond. Your average wait time is 0m:30sec.

You are now chatting with ‘Megan’

Megan: Welcome to The Home Depot. How may I assist you today?

Jillian: i’m trying to order an Online Only product but cannot seem to use gift cards as part of my payment

Jillian: i then tried to order it in store but they said they cannot do online

Jillian: how do i order this and use the GCs

Megan: Hello Jillian! I am very sorry, but at this time Homedepot.ca does not accept gift cards or the Home Depot commercial cards as forms of payment. We do accept The Home Depot consumer card, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal.

Jillian: so if i call then the person on the phone cannot apply the gift cards either?

Jillian: they are in store only use?

Megan: I am afraid that is correct.

Jillian: so i have a $500 purchase and $200 in gift cards that i cannot use? does that seem kind of ridiculous?

Megan: I completely understand and I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience and the frustration this has caused you. Our Canadian website it still fairly new and we do not have the option to yet accept gift cards or commercial cards for online purchases.

Jillian: thanks for your help~ where can i send a complaint about this issue? because i really do not understand why this is such an impossible issue no matter how new the website is.

Megan: Again, I am very sorry. Please allow me a 1-2 minutes to get you some contact information.

Jillian: thanks~

Megan: Thank you for your patience. I am afraid that I do not have any contact information for our higher up management. If you would like, I can definitely submit some feedback for you.

Jillian: ok, please do. i would like someone to contact me regarding this with a better explanation and a timeline as to when they plan on implementing a functional website

Megan: I can get someone to contact you but I am afraid that we do not have a set date or a time frame of when we will be able to accept gift cards on our website.

Jillian: please have someone contact me as soon as possible.

Megan: I can have someone contact you but as I said they will tell you the exact same things that I have said. We cannot get around the system to accept gift cards.

Jillian: that’s fine~ they can tell me again.

Megan: Okay, I am very sorry. Do you have any additional questions or concerns for me today?

Jillian: no. thanks for trying to be helpful

Megan: You are very welcome Jillian. It has been a pleasure assisting you today! Thank you for shopping with The Home Depot. Please close the chat window by clicking on the gray close button in the upper right of your chat window, and please take a few moments to complete our customer survey. Have a great day!

I really don’t think I am an idiot for assuming that I could use a gift card for an online purchase.  And I don’t think I’m an idiot for assuming that if that failed that someone could manually input this over the phone.  And I don’t think I’m an idiot for assuming that the store location should be able to assist me with an online order.  I do, however, think that Home Depot’s website and entire technical infrastructure is completely archaic.
They claim that their Canadian site is new…. and yet their general terms of use are dated 2003-2011 online.  At latest their site is over 2 years old.  That’s not new in virtual terms.  Not new at all.  This is a huge company with huge revenue, which means they had 2 years to dump money into online development.  I expect the best from a large company’s online presence.  And it’s also frustrating that they have implemented this option on their US site, so the framework or coding they need is available to them for the Canadian site.
My lesson from this is to buy from Canadian Tire.  I know they are also known as Crappy Tire; however, I have never had any customer service issues there.  They stand by their policies, and don’t seem to misrepresent themselves.  No, you cannot order online from them, but at least they are admitting their limitations up front.
Until Home Depot gets their house in order I’m not going back.  They either need to make their online/in store crossover more cohesive or they need to work on their website.  Sorry doesn’t cut it when it comes to my child’s first birthday present.