Snapshots from the Home Depot parking lot.
Let's Get Loaded
Sometimes I wonder if people arrive at HD with any idea of what they'll wind up walking out with. Here's a few of the more unusual load-outs I've seen:
1. A young-ish couple exits the store with a 12-ft long roll of carpeting, about 3 feet in diameter, on two rolling carts. She hangs with us while he goes out to grab their car... we Lot Geeks joke that he'll drive up in a Prius.
HE DRIVES UP IN A PRIUS.
Seeing the looks on our faces, she says 'Don't worry... he hauls all kinds of giant stuff in his car. He brought home a huge exercise machine in it last week. He'll make it fit." Sure enough, he pops the hatch, lowers half of the the rear seat back, fully reclines the passenger seat (my idea) and we proceed to insert that carpet roll into the car. It gets shoved up against the windshield with only about two feet hanging out of the rear! We're gobsmacked. We tie down the hatch, she gets into the rear seat and they drive away.
2. I get a radio call from the Garden Center to assist a customer with a load-out. A minute later I'm looking at a cart with 50 concrete pavers that the very nice older lady wants me to load into the back seat of her obviously new White Maserati Ghibli. I ask about the trunk and she says the trunk is full so the pavers gotta go into the back seat. The Italian luxo-sedan Beige leather back seat, that is.
I rustle up some thick clear plastic sheeting and proceed to line the rear seat back, cushion, door panels and floors with the stuff. I even scrounge up some cardboard to place on the seat back and cushion underneath the plastic sheet. Then... gingerly... I start stacking the pavers first in the footwells, then the seat, making sure they're nested so they don't slide around. I decide to also drape plastic on the backside of the front seats... just in case.
After about 10 minutes of mega-careful stacking, the pavers are loaded and the lady seems happy with the result. She tips me $5, jumps into her White Maser and drives off. I'm a wreck about it but then decide not to worry... I mean, it's HER car, right?
3. I'm shagging carts one evening and see an older guy come out of the store, balancing two long sheets of Masonite on a shopping cart and heading out to his dark Green Camry. I snag some carts from the far side of the lot and bring them to the corral near the Green Camry and notice him still trying to load the Masonite into his car. I ask if he needs some help and he politely declines. As I'm hustling more carts around, I keep an eye on him... he tries the rear seat, front seat and the trunk, no dice... the sheets are too long.
After about 20 minutes, he gets out a flashlight and starts looking around inside the trunk and rear seating area. I finally walk over to him and ask again if I can help, and he says yes. I reach up inside the trunk and pull the rear seat back release, which pops the entire rear seat back down, allowing the Masonite sheets to slide into the trunk and finally fit inside so the trunk lid can be lowered. The man is almost giddy.
He says "I knew there was a way to do that, but I've had this car for almost 10 years and never needed to lower the seat back, so I couldn't figure out how to do it!" I tell him the rear seat back releases are semi-hidden up inside the trunk and are hard to find, even in the daytime, that he was on the right track and would have found the release eventually. He thanks me, shakes my hand vigorously, slowly gets in his car and drives away.
Lost and Found
Here's a partial list of some items I've found discarded in the HD lot:
Giant empty glass bottle of cheap whiskey, tossed into the hedges.
Dozens of mini-plastic booze bottles.
Plastic water bottles filled with urine.
Plastic shopping bag heavy with human feces (trust me, I knew it without even looking inside).
Partially-eaten tamales from Der Wienerschnitzel.
Partially-eaten chicken from Popeye's.
Banana peels... everywhere!
Cigarette butts... everywhere!
Water bottle caps... everywhere!
Dozens and dozens of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans.
Used work gloves.
Used rubber gloves.
A Black two-drawer file cabinet.
A power washer, complete with wand, hose and filled with fuel.
Giant overstuffed bags of garbage.
Three perfectly good ladders.
Two giant dog beds.
AA batteries, usually flattened
A basket filled with new hand tools still in their packaging, likely pilfered from the store and abandoned.
Miscellaneous trimmings from 2 x 4's, drywall, tile and other building materials that were left after being hacked off of freshly-purchased goods being prepped in the lot before going into the truck and out to the jobsite.
NO DIAPERS... so far.
A small hardened mountain of cement that resembles the Devil's Tower from the movie 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'. Someone had spilled a whole bag of cement onto the lot, didn't clean it up and the ensuing rain turned it into a solid eroded monolith. It's sill there.
The list goes on and on. I guess many customers are OK with dumping their crap out into the lot before they leave. Who knew?
During many of my evening shifts, there are hundreds of crows that fly near the lot on their way to favorite overnight local nesting sites before darkness falls. Last night was different. At around 4:30pm, I noticed huge flocks (murders?) of crows flying in from all directions and circling directly above the lot, alighting in trees all around the lot and the adjacent greenbelt.
Over the next hour, literally thousands of crows were crowding all the trees, walking on the asphalt lot to pick at food scraps, spinning in the air overhead, lined up on the HD building facade, crowding on top of building roofs across the street... they were everywhere! Even some of the customers would stop to look at the huge cloud of beautiful black birds. The sound of thousands of crows all 'cawing' at the same time was mesmerizing.
I was in heaven, because I love crows.
There was an ebb and flow going on. One minute, the crows would be mostly all stationary, noisily cawing out to each other. Then all of a sudden, a huge murder would swoop up into the air all at once, boiling out of trees and dive-bombing each other like so many fighter jets.
One hour later, they were all gone. I cannot WAIT until the next time this happens.
Here's a partial list of some bitchin' cars I've seen parked in the HD lot:
1969 Corvette LS454, Dark Green with Rallye wheels, totally original.
2019 Ferrari GT Lusso, Dark Gray, brand-spankin' new.
1972 Ford Ranger XLT pick-up, two-tone Silver/Black, giant chrome alloys, totally restored by the son of the original owner.
1974 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon, Light Green with alloys, 45k miles, stainless steel exhaust, perfect interior, gorgeous.
1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air hot rod, street slicks, alloys, hood scoop, flared rear fenders, 'push bar' bumpers front and rear, 4-speed, partially-open headers, nasty and rasty street machine.
1972 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van, Red/White, 100% restored.
1965 Ford Mustang Coupe hot rod, alloys and meats, Bright Yellow with yellow dice hanging from the inside rear-view mirror, 4-speed, muffled headers.
1967 MG MGB GT, British Racing Green, spoke wheels, excellent condition, broken down in the lot, owner waited almost 3 hours for a friend to rescue him.
Although it's only a part-time job, my HD gig gives me much more than the hourly wage. I never thought I'd be thanking HD Founder Bernie Marcus, a hard-core Conservative Republican, for anything... but Thanks, Bernie!
Lead image, Gracias de Google Images; Cake 'Alpha Beta Parking Lot' video, Muchismas Gracias de YouTube.