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.

8 thoughts on “Dissatisfied with Sherwin-Williams

  1. By the way, I just spent 22 minutes on hold with their corporate office to see if the information about their yellow paint was accurate, as I cannot trust inadequately trained employees, or the managers that think those inadequately trained employees are able to offer the expert advice they advertise.

    I have to leave the house, but I’m going to leave the phone on, just to see how long it takes for them to take my call.

    That is all.

  2. WOW! I can’t believe this entire conversation. I wish they had never told you about the fading yellow. People are human and no one is perfect except maybe you and your wife. She must be a saint because you are obviously a difficult, definitely rude,obnoxious person.
    I have never had anything but exceptional service from Sherwin Williams.

  3. Make transactions difficult on your customer and you will find your customers make things more difficult. Once it became clear that my time was wasted, you’re absolutely right I was difficult. Wasting your customers’ time is rude, and advertising a service that you are not able to provide is obnoxious.

    Luring customers to your store with expert advice, and then providing improperly trained employees who you admit are incapable of providing that expert advice is a de facto bait and switch. You can expect customers to get difficult. I would rather be difficult, and be accused of being obnoxious and rude, than accept incompetence at a premium price.

    Companies that create difficult situations through their policies should expect difficult customers until they fix their policies. It is the customers who complain when they receive poor service, like me, that ensure the exceptional service you claim to get from Sherwin-Williams. Nobody said selling to the public was easy.

    Would you prefer to patronize businesses that claim to be experts in their products (“Ask how, ask now, ask Sherwin-Williams”), but in reality waste their customers’ time with incomplete or missing information?

    Would you prefer to patronize businesses that place items on sale to attract new customers, but fail to properly train their employees to offer the advice that is advertised as part of the service for which the customer is paying?

    Oh yeah, you already said you wish they hadn’t told me about the limitations of their product. You prefer that they lie to a customer. Stick your fingers in your ears.

    People seem to think that everything is fine if you just lower your standards and accept mediocrity. It is lower standards like those that have resulted in companies– and customers– that accept lower standards. If people don’t complain when businesses offer poor service or products, businesses get comfortable offering poor service or products. This lowers the level of quality for all customers, increasing the likelihood that all customers receive poor service or products. People accept it, rather than be accused of being difficult. This encourages companies to allow their products or services to further degrade. It is a vicious cycle.

    Since this occurrence, I have painted my shed, my bathroom, and a planter box I built. I am about to paint one of my bedrooms, and the adjoining den. Restoration of my intricate front door begins as soon as the weather cools off, and the remodeling of my utility room will occur next spring. Then it’s on to removing the paneling from the last three rooms, and repairing and painting the plaster.

    That’s a lot of paint that I could have bought from Sherwin-Williams, and a lot of word of mouth advertising lost. As many companies learn, that is what happens when you over-promise and under-deliver.

  4. Sherwin Williams screwed me. I had purchased 4 gallons of flat Wool Skein to do my dining/living/hall open area. I went back a couple of months later to purchase SEMI-GLOSS wool skein to do the laundry room off the hallway. The guy looked up my “profile” and just gave me a gallon of what I already ordered before…FLAT. He paid no attention to what I was actually ASKING FOR NEW!!! I didn’t notice the mistake (or maybe he thought I didn’t know what I was asking for and just gave me what I had already ordered before? argh!) a month later when on a Saturday morning I pulled out the gallon to start painting. ^&%$#@* jerks!!!! Idiots. Stupid people!!!

  5. My big problem is with the annoying on and off sales. For a few days you get 40% off, then for a few days its up to “regular” price, then back on sale. Drives me crazy. You have to buy paint on their schedule. If you run out and have to go back, you may have to pay full price, and then two days later its on sale again. Several stores do this annoying sales tactic and I hate it. Btw, I too get annoyed with customer service employees who are not helpful or don’t make an effort to be helpful. If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know but you will ask your manager. Don’t pretend to know or, as an employee did in one of my recent experiences at another hardware store, just walk away without any further steps to find an answer.

  6. Who buys untinted paint and brings it back? They’ve got plenty for when you come back. Had you been ready to tint at time of purchase you would have gotten the info from her computer. Sheesh… Stay home, don’t go in public and interact with humans because we are imperfect. Everyone starts somewhere. Let it go. Yellow is ugly anyway.

  7. What i read here is the consumer is the idiot. Everyone knows bright colors fade fast. Fucking idiot.

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