Home Depot stops doing business with federal government

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    This seems realy weird and makes no sense to me.......on one hand seems anti-american and on the other seems like may be a way to not have to complay with some executive orders...

    Home Depot stops doing business with federal government
    By Andrew Schneider
    Of The Post-Dispatch
    2002, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    06/16/2002 04:52 AM

    Home Depot Inc., the nation's largest hardware and home-improvement chain, has told its 1,400 stores not to do business with the U.S. government or its representatives.

    The Post-Dispatch checked with managers at 38 stores in 11 states. All but two said they had received instructions from Home Depot's corporate headquarters this month not to take government credit cards, purchase orders or even cash if the items are being used by the federal government.

    "Engaging in business practices with the federal government is not a strategic focus of the Home Depot," company spokesman Tom Gray said. "The Home Depot is not and does not plan to become a federal contractor or subcontractor."

    When asked what the statement meant and what it had to do with purchases by an FBI agent in St. Louis or an Environmental Protection Agency investigator in Seattle or a supply sergeant for an Army Reserve unit in Ohio, Gray declined to comment, other than to say it's an old policy.

    But the store managers contacted said they received the policy within the last couple of weeks.

    Responding to an e-mail request for clarification, Gray said the refusal to sell to the government was "a business decision based upon the company's strategic direction."

    The General Services Administration, the government's quartermaster, just learned of the policy.

    "I was contacted by the Department of Defense last week, and they said that some of their people were stopped from making purchases at Home Depot," Susan McIver, director of the GSA's Services Acquisition Center, said Friday.

    "Home Depot has not contacted us, so I've got no idea what their problem is. We are checking with the other federal agencies to see what they are encountering and then will call the company."

    As of April, 384,520 government employees were using "GSA Smart Pay" cards for purchases other than travel or fleet operations, McIver said. Congress approved use of the cards to reduce paperwork and to streamline the paying of merchants.

    "Use of the cards is mandatory for purchases under $2,500," she said, adding that last year, $3.7 billion was charged to the cards, which are backed by Visa and MasterCard.

    McIver called Home Depot's actions "puzzling."

    "This is the first company I've ever heard of establishing a policy of not doing business with the federal government. I find it hard to understand," she said.

    She described a continuous stream of calls to her office each day from businesses eager to sell to the government.

    Most of Home Depot's managers interviewed by the Post-Dispatch shared the confusion. All the managers contacted declined to be quoted, but most said they didn't know what was behind the company's refusal to sell to the federal government.

    Some, especially those near military bases and large federal complexes, said the policy would cost Home Depot a significant amount of money, but they would make no estimates of how much.

    One Home Depot associate at a store in San Diego said, "It feels weird telling some kid in uniform that I can't sell him 10 gallons of paint because we don't do business with the government."

    The notification that Home Depot sent from its Atlanta headquarters to its stores offers little explanation of why the decision was made.

    But the document, which was obtained by the Post-Dispatch, offers elaborate detail on how the policy is supposed to be implemented:

    - Under one scenario, a customer wants to buy 3,000 light bulbs and asks that the product be delivered to a military base. "That transaction should not be processed," the document says.

    - Another scenario describes a person trying to purchase lumber and presenting a purchase order listed to the GSA. "This transaction cannot be processed," the document says.

    OoA third scenario uses a customer who pays cash and asks Home Depot to deliver the purchase to a federal address. The customer is told no, and he asks to rent a Home Depot truck. "Since you are aware that the transaction is for the federal government, you cannot process it," the document says.

    If store personnel are questioned by customers, the document advises, they should respond that "our focus is directed at do-it-yourselfers and private contractors" and "this has always been our policy."

    The notification has a section that says commercial credit-card customers will receive a notice with their June bill that purchases could not be made "that would cause the company to be covered by or responsible in any way for compliance with" three federal laws or executive orders:

    OoExecutive Order 11246 of 1965, which bans discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

    - Section 503 and Section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires affirmative action and prohibits employment discrimination by federal government contractors and subcontractors.

    - The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, which requires that anyone doing business worth $25,000 or more with the federal government must take affirmative action to hire and to promote qualified targeted veterans, including special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, and any other veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or an expedition. It would apply to Gulf War veterans and those fighting the war on terrorism.

    "We are going to the agencies who issued those three laws they mentioned and try to determine whether those laws would have some kind of impact on Home Depot which might explain its actions," McIver said.

    "This will impact many agencies who might have needs to go to Home Depot. But they can get those needs met by going to other stores."

    A spokesperson for Lowe's Cos., the nation's second-largest home improvement chain, said that it still sells to the government and that it will continue to do so.

    Home Depot might not want to sell to the government, but this month, it reached agreement with the U.S. Labor Department to "recruit, screen and refer" 40,000 job applicants to work in the company's new stores that are being opened "every 47 hours."

    Home Depot was founded in 1978. It operates in 49 states and overseas and has a work force of 250,000 people. Last year, it had sales of $53.6 billion.

    Andrew Schneider:\E-mail: [email protected]\Phone: 314-340-8101
  2. Shaun

    Shaun G&G Evangelist

    Good for HD they don't need to deal with the extra legistlation its too invasive to any company

  3. I work for Home Depot and was not aware of this policy. I work in tool rental and yes we do rent the one truck that we have. We have never had government personnel come in. I'll have to check into this. And no I don't have a problem with this policy. It is strange that Home Depot would pass up the buck$$$$$.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2002
  4. The federal government is notorious in their practice to postpone paying any bills as long as they can. This is a fact!

    I know of several fire departments that have rescue services. They have thousands upon thousands of unpaid medicare and medicaid bills that they can't collect on. Every time someone contacts the agencies they are told they have submitted wrong paperwork (when, in fact, they haven't) in an effor to postpone paying the bills.

    I know of people in federal government agencies that have told me (people in accounting positions too) that they continuously receive past due notices from varied companies they used credit with, or have a 30, 60, 90 day etc. payment policy with.

    It seems when the agencies run out of money (they are rarely given the amount requested from Congress) they continue to buy and are unable to pay. PS...government agencies are on a fiscal year from September to August of the next. Each fiscal year is broken down into four (three month) quarters. You can only spend that money that is alloted for each fiscal quarter.

    You and I try that stunt and we get bad credit reports, harrassment and inevitable bankrupty. In some cases some of us would go to jail for fraud since we don't have pauper's prisons.
  5. Thanks Dale I wasn't aware of that.
  6. Calvin

    Calvin G&G Evangelist

    My Dad is in the steel buisness, and he refuses to deal with the governmet. They claim the material was substandard, wrong size, scuffed, too heavy, too light, doesn't last long enough, exceeds it's expected life, or any other reason to not pay. My Dad spent 3 days in front of a Board of Inquiry at DCSC in Columbus because he had supplied a gear manufacturer with some steel to be used in the manufacture of M1 Abrams gears. The shop foreman at the customer level had accidentaly left in a couple of drop pieces that were prototypes in the final shipment. The reason for the hearings? Defrauding the US Government. The cause? The drop pieces, which weren't supposed to be shipped, were installed and outlasted their life expectancy by 4x!! The Government wanted to know of everyone involved in the process, and my Dad happened to supply the steel. My Dad was cleared, but after that, he sent a memo to his salesmen saying he would no longer approve any sales if the government was the end user. He also refuses to work with the Japanese. Just like our Government, they want it all for nothing, and they have the money and credit to turn off your power at any time.
  7. Eric

    Eric Guest

    All I can say is the best place to be as a business is next to a Military installation in September. The DoD budgets are based on "use it or lose it". i.e., if you didn't spend all we gave you last year, you'll get less next year. The government Visas are good for anything under $2,500 per use. You don't even have to keep a paper trail, FACT! You can buy toilet paper to tools. We even used it to buy Match .308 from a Gunstore for training before a sniper competition. The fiscal year ends OCT 1, so, if your unit has $100,000 left...you spend it in Sept. Talk about fraud, waste, and abuse. But, like I was told, "We've always done it this way."
  8. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    That "use t or lose it" system can work out well for the worker bees. On my Navy ship, I was Test Equipment Petty Officer. We came up needing to spend beacoup money, and I was able to order two $10,000 signal generators from Hewlett-Packard, and this greatly improved tha ET's capabilities. Since I was an ET, this was great! Each sig-gen replaced three other out-moded pieces of equipment, for a serious savings if we had replaced each piece individually as it broke. We also were able to replace our POS Lexitron office computer with a much better H/P model. Since I was the "Lexitron tech" for our entire task force, I was glad to get rid of at least one of them.
    The Navy supply system sucked, though. Often, I would go to Radio Shack on my own time to buy small electronic parts to keep my gear working. The supply system would have delays of weeks or months, I needed the stuff now! My initiative earned me a Commendation after we came back from our Med/IO cruise with all my UHF gear up and humming. The other techs had serious down time. Sometimes, you just have to buck the system.
  9. Rooster

    Rooster Guest

    I can see not accepting a govt credit card or dealing in govt contracts, but when someone walks in and wants to buy paint or a wrench with cash and they won't sell it to someone in the military whats up with that! Why wouldn't they want the cash? And also wasn't there some posts about Lowes or Home Depot being anti-gun a few months back?

    Lowes is probably looking forward for the business!!