• Business Insider asked former Home Depot employees what they wish customers would stop doing. 
  • Avoid disrespecting workers and be patient when they hunt down a product.
  • Don’t ignore warning signs around the store and put your cart back in the right place.

Home Depot offers housing products, tools, appliances, services, and more for home improvement. It’s become a one-stop shop for contractors, interior designers, and DIY fanatics.

Business Insider spoke with two former Home Depot employees, Janet Federico and Matthew De Fiebre, about things they wish customers would stop doing in the big-box store.

Expecting every employee to know where something is offhand

De Fiebre, who worked as a garden and order-fulfillment associate in 2019 and 2020, said showing employees grace goes a long way.

He told BI that patience is key — especially since employees aren’t always in their assigned departments.

“It’s our job to assist you no matter what,” De Fiebre said. “Giving us time to try and find the product you’re looking for, or find another associate who knows the area better, allows us to focus on solving your problem.”

a main aisle of a home depot with several signs pointing down other aisles

There are lots of different departments in each Home Depot store.


The former employee said the Home Depot app also allows customers to search for products, figure out what’s in stock, and find which department items are in.

“Knowing this information can help associates find your item faster and limit the amount of time you may waste in the store,” he told BI.

‘Just browsing’ right when the store is about to close

Federico, who was a customer-service sales associate in Austin from 2015 to 2016, said some people would come in 15 minutes before closing just to browse.

“If a customer is in your department you have to attend to them, and you can’t do your closing activities,” she told BI. “This is just rude. We’re tired. It can wait until tomorrow.”

Interrupting an employee who’s helping someone else

“Entitled customers who came into the store and interrupted us while we were trying to find or grab a product for another customer would be frustrating,” De Fiebre told BI.

He said employees were always trying to move as fast as possible, so patience was always appreciated.

Using the wrong cart

woman walking past a flatbed cart at home depot exit and another customer pushing a regular shopping cart

There are flatbed carts and regular carts at Home Depot.


“Home Depot has flat carts as well as regular shopping carts across the store that can hold different sets of items,” De Fiebre said.

But Federico told BI that too many people ignored the options, leaving the burden on the employees.

“Please don’t ask the staff to load lumber into a regular cart,” she said. “If you don’t know what kind of cart to get, it’s better to just not get one. Staff will likely have the right cart nearby anyway.”

Leaving carts in parking spaces

With multiple sizes of carts floating around, Federico said, it was always difficult when customers left them in parking spaces instead of the designated corral spots.

“When shoppers leave their carts everywhere, staff will get pulled to go corral carts,” she said.

The former employee added that the weather in Texas was often 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, which made the task even more arduous.

Blatantly ignore warning signs or employee instructions

interior shot of the front of a home depot store

Employees often use forklifts and other heavy machinery in Home Depot stores.


Home Depot stores have signs designating potentially dangerous or closed-off areas. It can be stressful for staff when people ignore them.

“With the amount of large products Home Depot sells, there is a constant need to lower pallets with heavy equipment or move them down aisles,” De Fiebre said.

The former employee added that a “spotter” would always walk in front of the forklift to alert any nearby customers.

“One of the most frustrating things for me was when customers would blatantly ignore us — or signage — just because they were frustrated that they had to wait a few more minutes for a product,” he told BI.

Coming in without measurements isn’t going to help anyone

Federico said it’s important that customers are prepared when they request help.

This is especially true for items that depend on exact measurements or specific tools.

“I can’t eyeball measurements from a photo, and holding up your hands and saying, ‘about this wide’ is not helpful,” Federico told BI. “Know your measurements.”