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Saturday, May 05 2012 19:08

Home Depot May Kids Workshop - The Rock Father Adventure

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I need to lower my expectations for everything. As depressing as that may sound, it's true. We've been having bad luck when it comes to cool-sounding events being 'as-advertised' when we actually get there. The May Kid's Workshop at Home Depot? No exception. On a National Scale, I think this is a great program with great partners - but my local store was lacking in execution. Allow me to explain...

Take three companies I really dig - Home Depot, Bonnie Plants, and Growums - and partner them for a fun little workshop in which the kids can build their own wooden planter box, then receive a free Growums vegetable or herb to place inside. Educational. Fun. Builds motor skills. Encourages an interest in gardening. AND a great FREE event for the whole family. 

I'd posted about the May Workshop right here on The Rock Father website earlier in the week, and was super-excited to take the little one to the store this morning. What we found was an example of weak execution at store-level. In the interest of protecting employees that may take heat unfairly (sometimes the end-level staff may not have been provided the tools for success), I'm leaving out the location we visited, and blurring elements of the photos. 

Upon getting to the store, we made our way back to the lumber department as I had to purchase a replacement board for our deck. While I was figuring out the logistics of the 8ft board (which I did buy), my wife and daughter headed for the workshop, which was not in the Garden Center as would've been logical, but up near the contractor desk at the opposite end of the store. The first employee we asked about it said that they "might not have any kits left," and that we "should've signed up in advance." Maybe I'm too attentive to detail, but there's nothing mentioned regarding sign-ups in any of the marketing materials for Kids Workshop. In fact, the website seems to imply that you just show up.

STRIKE 1.

hdscreenshot

That text at the top reads:

• FREE hands-on workshops designed for children ages 5 - 12 offered the 1st Saturday of every month at all The Home Depot stores between 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
• Workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills, tool safety and instill a sense of pride  and accomplishment.
• All kids get to keep their craft and receive a FREE Kids Workshop Apron, commemorative pin and certificate of achievement

Luckily, they had extra kits and the little one got to work with Mommy. Meanwhile, I bought that board and placed it in the car (out the window).

When I rejoined the family, I noticed that a bunch of kids had aprons, but ours did not. I'd not noticed the "FREE apron" advertised on the website, so I asked if they were available for purchase. The employee overseeing the workshop said "Actually, they're FREE, but we don't have any. These kids had them already."  

STRIKE 2.

Not having the apron available, my daughter did get some paint on her spring jacket - which we learned this afternoon does not wash out. Not a huge deal, but still should not have happened.

hdpicpainted

Upon completion, the little one received the promised "commemorative pin," but no "certificate of achievement." So how about the promised FREE Growums Plant?

It was pretty disheartening to see what was placed in my daughter's planter box as her crowning item... a dilapidated Winterbor Kale that in no way was ever going to make it.

hd3pic

Yes, it was a (poor example of a normally awesome) Bonnie Plant, but it was not a Growum. For reference, here's what the plant we're supposed to receive looks like (screenshot from YouTube vid):

plantscreen

This is what Addie was given:

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STRIKE 3.

When the family went off to the restroom to get cleaned up, I politely asked for a replacement plant - a healthier-looking Kale from the same batch on the cart. The employee kinda chuckled and agreed that the first one was unacceptable.

hdpic1

At the same time, a Garden Center employee rolled up with a cart full of Growums! "Oh, would all of you like one of these?" the initial employee asked? Of course, all the kids and parents wanted the Growums - a mix of Tomato varieties. At this point, I showed the Home Depot crew the green Growums.com bracelet that I was wearing - one sent to me from the Growums folks in a care package as a part of all those blogs I've been writing about our "Growums Adventures." I explained that I'd been writing a series of blogs here on The Rock Father website, and was curious why the kids weren't being given what was promised.  Again, there was little chuckle. Was it the "Heh heh, we almost gotya!"??

IMG 8388

Overall, this was a fun event - and eight hours later, the little one is still talking about doing "arts & crafts at Home Depot." As for inspiring and educating, it wins. Where it doesn't is in the failures I've noted above. I'm constantly called a "grump" and a "jerk" for pointing out the negative, but I'm tired of accepting the bare minimum. I'm tired of accepting mediocrity. I'm tired of promises half-kept. As a blogger, I cannot tell part of the story. Sure, I could gloss over the negative and tell you how great everything was. But that wouldn't be the whole truth, would it?

More Garden Adventures to follow...

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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