Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kids' Crafts: Lowe's versus Home Depot

I took the kids to Lowe's today for our first kids' craft session there.  Since we've only done the Home Depot kids' events in the past, I thought I'd let you know our take on the comparison.

The Lowe's set-up starts out impressively.  It's a big deal; you have to register online, they have a limited number of slots, you get a waiver/ticket that you must print and bring with you ... it seemed to be a lot more formal than the Home Depot "show up when you show up."

But that's about as impressive as it gets.  One of the nice things is that they hold workshops more frequently than Home Depot does, but (at least for today) I have to give the win to Home Depot.

Here's why:

Today's craft session was very crowded. 

They have exactly one kit per child, so if you mess up there are no extras to work with or to pilfer for parts.

To their credit, Lowe's had a TON of tables set up.  But because this was a very nailing-intensive project, we (and most others) ended up using the floor. 

The kits did not include extra nails, and for a very precision-reliant craft today, people were bending nails left and right, and the Lowe's folks couldn't provide us with spares.  Um, hello?  You are LOWE's.  Can you not go check down an aisle and open a box?  Call me crazy, but I found that to be a little silly.  Definitely the win goes to Home Depot here, which always has an over-abundance of supplies.

The kids get a certificate, just like they do at Home Depot, and similar to Home Depot, the kids get a badge (Home Depot gives them a pin; we can call this part a draw).  However, Lowe's was out of aprons.  Yes, you read that right:  they had no aprons to hand out at a craft day with 75+ families.  What?!?!  The staff was friendly about it -- they "hope" to have them by the next craft day.  But I thought that was kind-of ridiculous.  It's not as if they didn't know that they were running low last time, or that today's event was a surprise.  So I was not impressed there.

The parents all around us were all complaining about the kit today.  (And to be fair, many of them had kids with aprons with multiple parents, so these were parents who've done a few projects.)  That tells me that maybe today's tricky project was an anomaly.  The project had lots of pieces and lots of nailing, and although they did have pilot holes drilled, it was still a heavy parent-help-required project.  I suppose that will happen occasionally, so I don't really mark Lowe's down for that, necessarily.  (And to be totally fair, the Home Depot project we did two weeks ago was overly simple, so let's call this a draw.)

In the end, I think Home Depot's staff has just been more welcoming, and more relaxed, and by comparison today's experience at Lowe's was more rigid and somehow also more chaotic.  It was strange.  And if I didn't already stress this, it was CROWDED.  I'm not a big fan of crowded.  We're signed up for a few more sessions, so I'll let you know how they go.

In the meantime, here are CAM and WHM with their final products. 

WHM didn't want me to see his face ...

... and CAM told me she wanted to make a sad face.  I have no idea.

Oh, and one last thing -- maybe we've just not encountered it yet, but the Home Depot crafts don't tie into commercial stuff, and the Lowe's craft was a merchandising tie-in with the new movie The Guardians.  Win goes to Home Depot on that one; I prefer regular old crafts to merch opportunities (especially for a move I don't think I care for; a tattooed Santa?  Not a fan.)  But I'm wondering if that contributed to the crowd.

Bonus points, though:  on our way out, we spent a solid twenty minutes playing with all the Christmas stuff and that really put us all in a fantastic mood!


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