Does anyone go to Harbor Freight on line check local inventory, etc.?


#1

There is a Harbor Freight store near me and while they do have some great prices on tools and equipment I have once again found myself disappointed with their poor control of inventory and really aggravated at the apparent lack of concern for their poor performance and it appears that company policy is somewhat off track.

First, their web site has had me running in circles entering my zip code to “assign” me a store after I choose an item and once the store is chosen the item is lost. Then when the item is searched out again I find that the site gives me no option other than to order the item and have it delivered. Possibly younger people find that the site is easily mastered but then are the young people who quickly master the site buying anything?

But specifically, I saw a 4 wheel yard cart that hopefully would speed up and reduce some drudgery in the yard and after much button pushing found that the product was in stock locally so I went to the store and after some searching found one on display under some other products with a coupon hanging from it to use at check out. With the coupon at checkout the young lady sent a young man to the rear and I stepped out of line to let the line move along and 5 to 10 minutes later the young lady told me they were actually out of stock. When I mentioned that the display model would be OK I was told that they don’t sell display models, a policy they have stuck to before, strangely.

With all the bar codes, computerized stock controls, etc., how could a store’s computer indicate that there were 6 of an item in stock when there were none other than the display? And how does a retail business expect to refuse to sell the display model and build a loyal customer base?

Rant over.


#2

About the only thing I can say is computer inventory systems are designed by humans, operated by humans, get their input and output data from humans, and sometimes they are not accurate. I go to HF frequently, and while there I can see exactly what they have in stock. I think that’s the best solution. If going there is a long drive, suggest to phone them up and have a staff member check to see if they have the item you want in stock.


#3

I strongly suspect that the entire HF operation from the smallest store up to near the top is undermanned, underpaid, and has low morale.

The founders of HF were involved in a nasty lawsuit with their son who shoved them out and was running the operation to maintain a massive jet-setting lifestyle involving hundreds of millions of dollars.


#4

The local strore definitely has a high turnover of staff. I go there once or twice a month at most and rarely see the same people twice.


#5

I don’t understand why they would not sell a display model and simply replace it on the next stock order.

They’re putting it up for show just to say sorry we’re out of stock when asked about dragging one out of the back room?


#6

I don’t often shop at Harbor Fake, except for minor things

Anyways, I have noticed there are large variations in accuracy among stores in general, as to whether their online information about a particular location’s inventory goes

For example, I have found napa and o’reilly to be extremely accurate. Every time I check online, then head off to the store, they’ve had that item. A few times, it’s clear I bought the last one. Because when I go home and recheck, it shows 0 on hand. So somebody at those 2 stores is doing their job. Or their online inventory is updated automatically, with each transaction

Sears, on the other hand, is a joke. Better off just heading to the store to check. i’ve also called ahead a few times. Some punk usually answers the phone and checks their store inventory, on his computer screen. Then they say they have it, according to his screen. I tell him “I don’t to waste a trip over there, only to see you don’t have it. Can you send somebody over to physically lay a hand on the item?” Usually they grumble, but send somebody to check. Half the time, they come back and say they don’t have it, after all . . . !


#7

We have one near me. I’ve bought a few things there. I’m very disappointed with the few tools I bought there. I’m not impressed with the store.


#8

The closest HF to me is 95 miles away and I’ve dropped in for a few things if I’m in the area; mostly nit-picky stuff like single edge razor blades which I use a lot. Couple of bucks for 100 of them is better than a pack of five locally for 3-4 bucks.

HF is hit and miss on tools. Some of their stuff is actually very good for the price. On a whim I bought a 1/2" industrial drill that was on sale cheap and it’s actually been an excellent tool.
Ten years and counting with never a hiccup out of it. Surprises the crap out of me as I figured a few thrashings would send it up in smoke.

I’ve had some issues with AutoZone online at times showing a certain price on a part and at the store it’s different; and always higher at the store. There’s a disconnect there somewhere…


#9

It puzzles me @ok. Why would I be concerned with finger prints and scratches on a cart that will be used to haul yard debris across a muddy yard? But a year or two ago I needed a new vice and their mail out circular advertised a good price on a 6" model and when I got to the store the only one was on the shelf and they refused to sell that one to me. I won’t ask again. I may just make it a point to drive a couple of extra miles to Tractor Supply from now on and save myself the aggravation.


#10

I found the best thing to do is call and ask them to physically check the inventory, I have been disappointed checking on line and finding it out of stock. But this has happened at some of the McParts stores and Wally World too. Choose carefully at HF, some stuff is great, some is good for one job only, but for the price it can be worth it. My local store is about 20 miles away, so I have to plan the trip. The staff seems to be stable and pretty helpful


#11

I find Harbor Freight to be a great source of tools for the average person. No, they’re not the ones the pros in the trade buy from the trade suppliers or the Snap-On truck, although I suspect there’re more pros picking up small items there than it would appear, but they have a wide selection of homeowner tools there that the average homeowner would otherwise have difficulty getting without paying S&H… and who wants to pay S&H on a grit blasting cabinet w/grit? The only complaint I have with HF is those shopping carts with four caster wheels. But that’s a minor quibble.

The software that “assigns” a zip code is a canned software that IMHO is BS. I’ve seen it with other companies and gotten extremely frustrated trying to find the information I wanted. I blame the company that developed and is selling the software rather than the companies using it.

I’m sorry to hear the story of HF from OK4450. It isn’t car-related, so I won’t elaborate, but I’ve seen numerous companies destroyed by second-generation owners who didn’t know their soft parts from their elbows. It’s long been my contention that company founders have a gut instinct and understanding about what it is that compels their market to want to patronize them and how to make that happen, and that is often lost on second generation owners who often surround themselves with and believe academically-trained accountants and lawyers. They also often spend the companies money on idiotic ideas sold to them by slick salespeople from other companies. The aforementioned software might fit into that category.


#12

I have a chipper shredder from HF that was a gift and after 5 years it continues to start on the second pull and runs like an old plow horse without complaint. It’s a Chi-Com contraption that I would have never bought myself but it has proven to be an excellent piece of equipment.

As for the auto parts stores here, O’Reilly has seemed to be the most on the ball store re inventory control and customer service. The store I often visit insists on physically verifying inventory if I call and their screen shows only 1. And when I get there the part is on the counter waiting.


#13

It’s all about service, isn’t it? And service comes not from the name of the store or the chain, but the management and people behind the counter. If they care about the customer and the service, it shows, regardless of the quality of the merchandise or the price.


#14

@RodKnox, I don’t see any harm in selling a display with a few marks on it. Good Lord, even a brand new yard cart is going to get scuffed up the first five minutes of use anyway.
You can walk into Lowes, Home Depot, etc and buy a floor display washer, refrigerator, or what have you. It makes zero sense to me to have it sitting there collecting dust.
It’s no different than a demonstrator car at the dealer. It would be ridiculous for a dealer to refuse to sell a new car because it’s dirty and has a 100 miles on it.

@the same mountainbike, I seem to remember the parents are octogenarians and being shoved aside by the son to take control of HF is disgusting. That guy would likely have little or nothing on his own. As it is, he has a 50 million dollar mansion, 20 million dollar apartment, and so on.
The HF money goes to the lifestyle; everything else below has to be hashed out on its own. Sad.


#15
The software that "assigns" a zip code is a canned software that IMHO is BS. I've seen it with other companies and gotten extremely frustrated trying to find the information I wanted

There are many companies that sell Zip Code software. Some are good, some are bad. You can even buy the service from the USPS. HF might be using a free version which may or may not be reliable. But what I’ve seen with their on-line system…they have other problems.


#16

I just go to the store and take my chances. It’s not only HF that has this problem…Walmart, Lowe’s and True Value Hardware have the same problem in my area.


#17
"Walmart, Lowe's and True Value Hardware have the same problem in my area."

You can add Target to that list, also…


#18

Some software company had a really good year last year…


#19

Home depot is the only one that I’ve had really good luck with, gives how many the store has in stock and the exact aisle and section you can find it at your store.


#20

I’m not surprised they don’t sell the display item. They are a low-margin company, they don’t want to have an employee spend time to assemble a new one when they get it in just to make a few bucks selling the one they already have on the floor.