Dissatisfied with Sherwin-Williams

As everyone knows, Sherwin-Williams makes paint. In fact, they claim that they are experts. They have a great reputation online, and they had a 40% off sale, so I decided to give them a try.

BIG mistake. Here are the details.

I needed two types of paint. One to paint the underside of my house’s foundation (house is on brick stilts, and the spaces between the stilts were filled in with concrete block last millennium), and the other to paint the shed that I built. Simple, right? Wrong.

I went in to the store yesterday, seeking some of their supposed “expert” advice. I explained that I had a shed that I wanted to paint yellow, and I bought the paint the recommended for the shed. I grabbed one of each of their yellow samples that fit within what my wife requested. For the foundation, I chose a slightly less expensive paint than recommended. I saw no reason to spend 50% more on waterproof paint for a surface that has been painted at least a dozen times.

The lady who helped me was friendly, and seemed to know her stuff, but it turns out that wasn’t the case.

I had bought the paint untinted so that my wife could pick the color yesterday evening. The plan was to get the paint tinted today, and paint all day tomorrow. Like I said, I gathered all their yellow paint samples, and my wife chose the color she liked. I went back to the store this afternoon.

The same lady that helped me was there, so I tossed my gallons on the counter with the chosen colors on top, and asked for them to be tinted. She went to the computer, called over some other lady, went back into an office, and then back to the computer. The other lady came up to me and told me that they can’t tint the paint yellow. What?

She explained that some of their yellow colors fade fast when used with exterior paint, and they would not tint it that color unless I really wanted it, and understood it would fade. I asked her why I was not told there is an issue with yellows when I was there yesterday asking for expert advice. I thought that talking about yellow paint, stating that my wife wanted the paint to be yellow, and paying with a stack of yellow paint chips on the counter, was enough to make it clear that I planned on choosing yellow. Apparently it was not.

After being told that yellow was not an option, I had no use for the paint. We chose the color we wanted, they were not able to do it, and so I wanted either a refund, or to wait for the manager. The lady got the store manager, who was busy helping another customer.

I was fine waiting, but since she interrupted the manager and I had his attention, I told him about my experience. I explained that when the paint is twice the price as other stores, and they sell based on expert advice, and you receive less than expert advice, you get justifiably upset with whoever it was that mislead you. I explained that when your time is wasted because a company advertises one service (expert advice) and you receive a different service (incorrect and incomplete advice), you expect to be compensated for that time wasted.

Apparently, my insistence rubbed another customer the wrong way. She took it upon herself to start telling me off. She was there first– but I was there yesterday, and was given wrong advice. I didn’t ask for the manager until the second girl was rude to me, and unable to explain why I was not told prior to my purchase that yellow was not an option. I told her to be quiet and mind her own business. She persisted, going on and on about how I am wasting her time. Boo-hoo. Sherwin-Williams is correcting an error they made, and the manager chose to help me instead of you. That’s how it works. Any idiot employee could have helped gather paint, and in fact there were two trying to help me that I am sure would have been pleased to dump me off on someone else.

In any event, I asked the manager why I would be sold paint that I could not use in the color palette I was requesting. He told me it was because the employee who helped me was new. I stated that it was not my fault, nor my problem, and that I came for expert advice. If they are poorly trained, too bad. He stated that he wasn’t there yesterday to help me, to which I said responded, “Exactly. If your employees are not trained they need to be supervised.” Clearly the manager, who seemed like a nice guy, understood that his employee was not able to offer the “expert advice” that is advertised.

In fact, the manager told me that I didn’t even need special masonry paint for my foundation– and definitely not the 50% premium for the waterproof variety. I could use pretty much any exterior paint, since the surface was painted numerous times before. Again, why was I not given that “expert advice” yesterday? I could have bought paint with 300-350 square feet of coverage and been sure I had enough instead of paint with 200 square feet of coverage, which will be cutting it close.

And all the while, this lady keeps going on and on. At that point, the manager tried to quiet us both up. The proper thing to do, though, would have been to ask her to mind her own business, as she had nothing to do with the poor advice I received yesterday, or the steps they need to take to make up for it today.

So to sum this all up, after being insistent that I expected compensation for the time wasted due to their failure to provide the expert advice they offered, I did a full return on all the paint. The manager gave me the masonry paint.

That makes up for this single experience, but the fact is that I am still dissatisfied. Sherwin-Williams cannot be trusted to provide the expert advice they advertise. Their employees are admittedly under-trained and undereducated about their products, and unable to provide 100% accurate recommendations.

These failures by Sherwin-Williams are indicative of a larger lack of trustworthiness. If their managers know their employees are not properly trained enough to offer the advertised expert advice, but still allow them to make product recommendations, then management has failed.

The end result is that I will NEVER buy a single item from Sherwin-Williams again, and I will recommend against them to all people who ask. If your expert advice cannot be trusted, you should not advertise it.

That is all.