When Hechinger Co. said Thursday morning that it would liquidate its remaining stores and go out of business, washingtonpost.com's afternoon edition asked readers to post their memories of the venerable hardware retailer. While we did get some memories, some very fond, it seems we tapped a deep well of consumer resentment against Hechinger. Here are but a few of the more than 100 submissions.
No Service, No Smile
Hechinger's is a local mainstay that Washington can do without. As a lifelong Washingtonian I've shopped there, and not once did I find a smiling face willing, let alone educated, to assist in the simplest of tasks.
C. Casey, Takoma Park
Natural Selection Works
The Hechinger's story is a classic example of Darwinian theories at work in the marketplace. Survival of the fittest. While Hechinger's used to be the only game in town -- and I try to remain loyal to a local business -- my lasting memories of Hechinger's in its final years will be of poor customer service, employees more concerned about their own affairs rather than assisting customers, poor stocking of stores and incompetence.
Paulo Franco, Richmond
It was a wonderful chain that lost its way in recent years -- customer service went south. It will be missed -- just like Woodies, Peoples Drug and so many other local businesses that could not keep up with the bigger players. May it rest in peace.
Herb Gantz, Riva
In Sepia Tone
We lived in Garrett Park when I was a child in the late '50s and early '60s. We went to church at the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church on Massachusetts Avenue at Wisconsin Avenue. Every Sunday after church we went to my grandparents' house on Fessenden Street. On the way, we always stopped at the Hechinger's at the top of the hill in Tenleytown across from Sears. We would park on the roof and walk down in our Sunday clothes. My dad always took us in to buy some exotic (I thought) tool or some little doodad that would be installed in our house later that day. Sorry to see it go. My kids won't have the same pleasure.
Nick Exarhakis, Annapolis
Who Minded the Store?
You could never find what you wanted, and nobody who worked there was any help. Almost all of the employees seemed to be high school kids; I doubt that they knew as much about the products sold there as the average Hechinger's customer. Still, this is a disturbing trend. Huge chains such as Home Depot have driven local, family-owned businesses out at an alarming rate. There are very few dignified employment options left for adults without a college degree.
Eric Robinson, Springfield
They Had It Coming
I'm sorry to see Hechinger go, but I'm not surprised. I suspect business schools will use Hechinger's downfall as a casebook example of the recipe for a business disaster. I'll most remember Hechinger's ... rude and lazy employees, the dirty, disorganized stores, the mis-marked or empty shelves, and the perpetual lack of advertised sale items. Hechinger's demise wasn't caused by competition; its roots were well established even when Hechinger was the only game in town. After my first visit to a Home Depot in Florida, I prayed the chain would someday come to D.C.
John Witherspoon Jr., Bethesda