I asked this question on The Wall at HeatingHelp.com:

“Just curious. What gets under your skin these days when it comes to your local wholesalers?”

Then I sat back and waited about five minutes for the contractors to answer. Here is the gist of what exploded out of them. There’s opportunity here if you’re paying attention, so please take a deep breath and just listen to what they have to say:

  • Counter people do not know their products. Employees do not know how to offer recommendations. Paying online on some sites can be troublesome, and billing online can be a hassle, too. When calling on the phone, you get an answering machine rather than a living person. You leave a message and they don’t return your call.

  • Orders written and pulled wrong by people who don’t care. It has gotten to the point that you have to pull the order apart and check it carefully before you load up. Either the order-taker writes it wrong or the guy pulling it gets the wrong stuff. I just spent a half-hour at the counter today getting an order fixed. This behavior costs the contractor and the wholesaler big bucks.

  • The problem that seems to be getting worse is the very lean inventory at their locations I visit. They say they have more inventory at the warehouse and they can have it for me tomorrow. That was the main reason I don’t even bother going to Grainger anymore.