There are a LOT of reasons NOT to shop at Record’s Raton Ace Hardware:
- Unfriendly store atmosphere
- Disinterested and rude employees
- Ungrateful and discriminatory “Record Brothers” store owners
- Locally owned and operated in a small town, so there is no accountability to Ace Hardware’s national management, and nobody in the store feels that they have to give a damn. On the other hand, I’ve been happy with service received at the other locally O&O store in Raton, Alpine Lumber.
- High prices
- Inconvenient hours, with early evening closing and no Sunday hours
- Limited selection and low/out of stock on many items
- Ace Hardware’s antiquated and unreasonable shipping policies and poorly designed website
We’ve already covered the first four reasons not to shop at Ace Hardware, on previous webpages. So, let’s cover the other issues below.
ISSUE 1: HIGH PRICES
Ace balances its supposedly high customer service quality against its significantly higher retail item prices. Here are some examples:
- 1-pack of Alex Plus white caulk. Ace $3.59, Home Depot and Lowes, both $2.58. Ace is 39% higher
- American Standard Cadet 3 ADA toilet. Ace $189.99, Lowes $165.75, Home Depot $159. Ace is 15-19% higher
- 1 gallon Kilz2 primer. Ace $18.99, Lowes $17.68, Home Depot $15.98. Ace is 7-19% higher
If you had an easy way to compare 100s of products among these 3 stores, it’s my educated guess that you’d find Ace prices would average about 20% higher than Lowes and Home Depot.
Also, briefly, Lowes and Home Depot offer additional substantial discounts that aren’t honored at Ace. Examples are military (10%), project/mover coupons (also 10%), and “Pro Desk” large order discounts (10-20% on orders above $1000).
ISSUE 2: INCONVENIENT HOURS
Ace is open 9 1/2 hours, 6 days per week, and closed on Sundays, for a total of 57 open hours.
Home Depot and Lowes typically are open 16 hours, 6 days per week, and 12 hours on Sunday, for a total of 108 open hours.
Lowes and Home Depot are open almost twice as many hours as Ace.
ISSUE 3: LIMITED SELECTION/OUT OF STOCK ITEMS
This issue can be attacked from many angles. I’ll do it from personal experience.
For most products, be it a light fixture, a bathroom vanity, a drill, or a shovel, Record’s Raton Ace Hardware has at most a handful of choices. Oftentimes, “we don’t stock that” is the canned response. On the other hand, for any of these items, the big box stores will have 10s of options in store, and 100s to 1000s online.
The display shelves at Record’s Raton Ace Hardware usually will have just a few of any item, versus several hundred on hand at Lowes or Home Depot. When you go to Ace, don’t be surprised if you hear “that item is out of stock.” At Raton Record’s Ace Hardware, when I have asked “when will this be in stock?”, “Wednesday” seems to be the popular answer. Then when you come back, let’s say on Thursday, the item still isn’t there, and the answer is again “try back on Wednesday”. Eventually, you’ll probably want to give up.
ISSUE 4: BAD WEBSITE
If you read Ace Hardware social media complaints, many of them relate to Ace’s poorly functioning website. People can’t get the website to work correctly — it won’t process credit cards, complete orders, and so on.
My personal experiences have been:
- Website won’t accept discount coupons. No matter what you have in your cart, when you enter the coupon, an error message to the effect of “this discount does not apply to anything in your cart” appears. Hey Ace, why bother to offer coupons that cannot be used on any purchases? It just frustrates and angers customers.
- “Free store pickup fulfilled from store” does not work. I have purchased several items through the website. Many of these items I knew for a fact were in stock at the Record’s Raton Ace Hardware. Yet, when I went into that store, I was again told “it should be here next Wednesday” when I wanted to pickup the items. Basically, I had to wait a week or longer, to get something I needed now, even though I could see and touch the actual item, because it was sitting right there in front of me. Having to wait one to two weeks for an in-store pickup isn’t good service. Lowes and Home Depot both promise to fulfill online orders for pickup within 1 to 2 hours on all in-stock items. The 120 minute wait at Lowes and Home Depot is 100 times faster than Ace’s 12,000 minute eternity.
ISSUE 5: BAD SHIPPING
Now, as for shipping, Ace Hardware does not offer free shipping to your house. Ace relies on “free store pickup”. I’ve already detailed how the one in-store option, pickup fulfilled in store, does not work. That leaves their fallback option, “Free store pickup fulfilled from warehouse”. This method means a customer orders an item online, and then waits 1 to 2 weeks for the item to arrive at their local store. This is much too long of a wait for most people, especially if they are working on a major project, and tasks have to be completed in a certain order.
Lowes and Home Depot both promote free shipping to your home, with fast fulfillment (2 to 3 day delivery). Home Depot claims this offer applies to millions of items. The minimum purchase for free shipping at both stores is a low $45. Both stores also have 3 to 7 day warehouse fulfillment for non-stock items that don’t include free shipping — so they must either be delivered (usually for a fee) or picked up in-store.
Across the board, the big box home improvement stores beat Ace on shipping and fulfillment. For a chain that trumpets its great customer service and down-the-block convenience, Ace Hardware’s performances in the website and shipping arenas are starkly substandard.
Also, real quick, Ace’s website outlines a delivery capability. I have never used that, but it does not appear to be “free”. Lowes and Home Depot will deliver free to your home or business, and usually they will service a fairly wide radius from the store. This applies if you purchase a major appliance (generally $399 and up) and bundle the appliance delivery with your other items.
Disclaimer: This review, ratings and complaints website exists to provide information, and to review issues and problems, that the authors experienced with Ace Hardware and Record’s Ace Hardware in Raton, New Mexico. The contents of this website represent the facts, personal beliefs, opinions, recollections, email chronology, and a pinch of satire, as determined by its authors. The website content is allowed as reasonable, and is classified as protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.