Gary Heckerdt has worked at Home Depot since 1998, moving his way up from a part-time staffer to shift manager at the Towson, Maryland, location.
"I know most people don't necessarily dream of working at Home Depot, but it's a good job. And they offer benefits and everything to full-time employees," said Heckerdt. "I'm proud to work here."
That's why Heckerdt bristles at fellow employees who don't give their all when it comes to providing customers with the best possible experience while purchasing home improvement and construction goods. One particular employee, Michael Phelps — who works 3 to 9 pm, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday under Heckerdt — has recently drawn the ire of his boss.
"This guy is getting ready for some swimming competition and he seems to think that's more important than helping customers in aisles 9 through 17," said Heckerdt. "He needs to look at it like this: while swimming is important to him, it's not to the woman who is simply looking for the best deck protector. In fact, to that customer, water is the enemy."
Heckerdt says Phelps recently has seemed unfocused and tired. The 27 year-old has even missed recent shifts for photo shoots and commercials.
"He needs to ask himself if he really sees a future for himself at Home Depot," says Heckerdt. "I've been there. I used to play rec league basketball. Did I dream of playing in the Olympics? Sure. Who doesn't? But when I could get extra shifts here and signed up for the manager training, I put those childish dreams aside and focused on my career. It's time he does the same."
Phelps says he is close to reaching a decision.
"I like Home Depot, but I also like swimming," he said. "What if I just bought Home Depot? I'm sure I could put up $40 million or so as part of a team of investors. Yeah, that might be the best decision. I'm not sure why I still work here anyway."