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Lowes (and other box stores) vendor selection

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Lowes (and other box stores) vendor selection

Old 01-09-2013, 01:30 PM
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Default Lowes (and other box stores) vendor selection

Has anyone worked at Lowes or another box store?
I wonder how they choose their vendors (people who sell to them) and how/if they give feedback to the vendors.
I dont buy much lumber from lowes but over 6 months while doing a garage interior bought a few sheets of plywood at a time. the last few I bought I had to sort through a lot of damaged sheets (they had massive 6 inch long 1/8 inch deep gouges all over the center of the sheets) which you think someone at the factory would have seen- sheet after sheet as I went down the stack of sheets of plywood was like that. I did not buy those sheets. when u complain to lowes you get a call from a perky friendy customer service rep , but when u ask the head of the lumber section about who picks the plywood vendor - he says "the store does not have anything to do with it- corporate buys the stuff and ships it here- we unload it and sell it. " thats our only involvement.

My theory is that the wood makers of the world are well aware that they send out a lot (10%) of out of spec wood with each shipment but since none of it ever "comes back " on the truck- who cares? somebody gets stuck with it. I think even the high end wood people like cox durapine also have their share of bad pieces.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:44 PM
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I worked at Home Depot in the lumber section. Part of our job towards the end of the day was culling out the bad pieces of lumber and stacking them at the loading area to be sent back to the lumber mills. What a pain in the ass since most of the lumber was crap and you nearly removed the entire stack from the aisles.

One thing I learned from all of that was to go to an actual lumber yard if I needed more than a few sticks or sheets.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:13 PM
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I worked there part time right after college to help pay back student loans, talking late '90's to 2000.

How their system is supposed to work.
Everything that gets returned and is broken/ damaged/etc gets RTV'd(return to vender). Same goes for damaged merchandise that was received. Anything that gets tossed into the dumpster should be marked down first to adjust inventory.

In my store(I worked in paint). This was more the reality......
Twice a year inventory. For the six I was there for ,the store ranged from $600,000-$1.2M in shrink. So you are talking about $2M a year min in "lost" items. Some is from bad accounting in receiving, theft(employee and customer), and some is from tossing In the trash non marked down items. Employee theft was a huge problem. Every week they were taking a cashier out in handcuffs.

My old department head used to head to another store and request a transfer however he would stick it in his garage instead of bring the merchandise back to our store. they finally caught on when another store called asking how the hell are you selling so many Wagner power painters.

I know when I left we had 32 pallets full of tinted Oops paint that had not been marked down. If they had 1000 stores x $50,000 in worthless paint thats a crapload of money.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:21 PM
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I was at Lowe's last week ans needed 4 sheets of OSB sheathing. The manager showed me some with slight damage (the outside sheets). He sold them to me for $1 a sheet and their condition didn't matter too much for my project.

I was at a lumber company that has someone pull the 2X4's and put them in the truck, no sorting and it showed.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:55 AM
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Lowe's "premium" or "select" wood sucks. You have to pick through nearly the whole pile to find a few pieces worthy of your project.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:01 AM
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Lumber and plywood is visually graded according to established guidelines. however, different mills interpret the guidelines differently...seems like GP usedta have Stevie wonder as the visual grader. You musta bought CDX, the lowest rated grade, and most common. If the gouges were actually physical damage, the sheets were probably restacked from a bunch of damaged surface sheets.

For sheathing, surface imperfections are acceptable, and common.

Lowes started as a lumber supplier, and generally has superior wood products to Homey.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DFreedom View Post
Lowe's "premium" or "select" wood sucks. You have to pick through nearly the whole pile to find a few pieces worthy of your project.
It burns my butt when some home owner picks through the stack of 2x4's looking for perfect lumber. It's FRAMING lumber fer chrissakes. Sure, if it looks like a pretzel reject it, but lumber with slight twist or bend is either straightened on the job or cut up and used for blocking and other short pieces.

If you want perfect lumber, pay for it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
It burns my butt when some home owner picks through the stack of 2x4's looking for perfect lumber. It's FRAMING lumber fer chrissakes. Sure, if it looks like a pretzel reject it, but lumber with slight twist or bend is either straightened on the job or cut up and used for blocking and other short pieces.

If you want perfect lumber, pay for it.
Since they are paying for it, they'll sort through the stack to find those perfect pieces.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Because Boat View Post
Since they are paying for it, they'll sort through the stack to find those perfect pieces.
They're NOT paying for perfect pieces, they're paying for AVERAGE pieces. You get good and bad. Stop stealing my wood. You want perfection, pay for it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:18 AM
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I like going to the local places, not that I have anything against box stores.

You can't find anyone at the box stores to help you here, locally they don't want you to help them. Plus the local guys always go through the lumber to cull bad pieces before anyone has time to complain.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
They're NOT paying for perfect pieces, they're paying for AVERAGE pieces. You get good and bad. Stop stealing my wood. You want perfection, pay for it.
Your argument is flawed. Every stick in that pile of wood is priced exactly the same. The barcodes aren't adjusted based on the quality of the lumber. Those are in a different stack with a higher price.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Because Boat View Post
Your argument is flawed. Every stick in that pile of wood is priced exactly the same. The barcodes aren't adjusted based on the quality of the lumber. Those are in a different stack with a higher price.
Your rebuttal is flawed..the higher price lumber is better..buy it! Quit sorting through the less expensive stuff looking for a bargain.

Do it like the lumber suppliers do..buy longer stuff and cut off the bad part. Called "upgrading". Cut that spike knot off the end of a #3, and turn it into a #1.

I've been buying lumber since a 2x4 was 1-5/8" thick. Built a lumber handling and pressure treating facility. "Cherry-picking" a bundle of lumber is the sign of an amateur.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:35 AM
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This is funny, if I goto lowes and want 2x4's I am not there to buy whatever they give me, I want the best out of the pile.
The sign on the lumber doesn't say 2x4 lumber that could be bowed, missing half of one side etc.

I don't care if the 2x4 is 99cents a piece I will pick through the whole pile and leave it a mess to find what I want. Don't want that then stop putting out shitty lumber


Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Your rebuttal is flawed..the higher price lumber is better..buy it! Quit sorting through the less expensive stuff looking for a bargain.

Do it like the lumber suppliers do..buy longer stuff and cut off the bad part. Called "upgrading". Cut that spike knot off the end of a #3, and turn it into a #1.

I've been buying lumber since a 2x4 was 1-5/8" thick. Built a lumber handling and pressure treating facility. "Cherry-picking" a bundle of lumber is the sign of an amateur.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by bellsisland View Post
I don't care if the 2x4 is 99cents a piece I will pick through the whole pile and leave it a mess to find what I want. Don't want that then stop putting out shitty lumber
I'm with you. If there was a stack of $5 2x4s right next to them at lowes/hd that were guaranteed straight I'd buy those instead.

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten home and realized one board out of a dozen I needed was crap and had to go back and buy another.

I would like to know (seriously) how you "straighten a board on the job"?
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:38 AM
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All retailers have buyers and they work on the best price,return policy/damaged freight and last the grade of quality for there price point. No big deal, like the man said if you want high quality go to a lumber yard. Do you go to Target to buy top of the line or medium quality at a reasonable affordable price.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by bellsisland View Post
This is funny, if I goto lowes and want 2x4's I am not there to buy whatever they give me, I want the best out of the pile.
The sign on the lumber doesn't say 2x4 lumber that could be bowed, missing half of one side etc.
Yes it does. It's UTILITY, or at best #2. By DEFINITION those grades can have knots, wane, and other flaws. You want #1 dense select, but you want to PAY for utility.

Lumber and plywood are graded for those reasons. It's about structure, NOT appearance. Those studs are rated to carry a specific load..doesn't make any difference what they look like.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Yes it does. It's UTILITY, or at best #2. By DEFINITION those grades can have knots, wane, and other flaws. You want #1 dense select, but you want to PAY for utility.

Lumber and plywood are graded for those reasons. It's about structure, NOT appearance. Those studs are rated to carry a specific load..doesn't make any difference what they look like.
No one said they wanted #1 select for utility prices. But if the utility pile is all priced the same, I'm taking the best pieces I can find from it.

Isn't it fair to say that some lumber in that pile is better than other pieces? Let me help you. Yes it is. That's the lumber that is worth my money, not the crap that looks like it was left out in the rain for a year.

Try framing a wall with a stick that looks like a boomerang. A little crown is fine as is a slight twist, but I'm not taking some knotted up piece of wood that is arguably weaker than one of the others in the pile.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Your rebuttal is flawed..the higher price lumber is better..buy it! Quit sorting through the less expensive stuff looking for a bargain.

Do it like the lumber suppliers do..buy longer stuff and cut off the bad part. Called "upgrading". Cut that spike knot off the end of a #3, and turn it into a #1.

I've been buying lumber since a 2x4 was 1-5/8" thick. Built a lumber handling and pressure treating facility. "Cherry-picking" a bundle of lumber is the sign of an amateur.
Rather a savy consumer who knows they can get the best for their buck with a few minutes of patience.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:27 PM
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I am the op. and I was buying b/c 3/8 inch thick plywood.
The gouges were not surface cosmetic imperfections but (in my opinion) were never seen before in plywood scratches 6 inches long in groups of 6 or 8 thru just about the full first layer of the plywood, and it was in every one of the first 7 sheets in the stack, which were at eye level so they were hard to get at to sort through.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by edwardh1 View Post
I am the op. and I was buying b/c 3/8 inch thick plywood.
The gouges were not surface cosmetic imperfections but (in my opinion) were never seen before in plywood scratches 6 inches long in groups of 6 or 8 thru just about the full first layer of the plywood, and it was in every one of the first 7 sheets in the stack, which were at eye level so they were hard to get at to sort through.
Interesting. BC has a plugged surface, but should be smooth. Crap happens. Some of that appearance grade plywood comes from central/south America. I don't think the big box stores by Chinese lumber crap yet.
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