Home Depot Panics Over Millennials; Forced To Host Tutorials On Using Tape Measures, Hammering Nails

Tyler Durden's picture

As wall street analysts celebrate the coming of age of the millennial generation, a group of young people who were supposed to lead another revolutionary wave of consumerism if only they could work long enough to escape their parents' basement, retailers like Home Depot are panicked about selling into what will soon be America's largest demographic...but not for the reasons you might think. 

While avocado resellers like Whole Foods only have to worry about creating a catchy advertising campaign to attract millennials, Home Depot is in full-on panic mode after realizing that an entire generation of Americans have absolutely no clue how to use their products.  As the Wall Street Journal points out, the company has been forced to spend millions to create video tutorials and host in-store classes on how to do everything from using a tape measure to mopping a floor and hammering a nail.

Home Depot's VP of marketing admits she was originally hesitant because she thought some of their videos might be a bit too "condescending" but she quickly learned they were very necessary for our pampered millennials.

In June the company introduced a series of online workshops, including videos on how to use a tape measure and how to hide cords, that were so basic some executives worried they were condescending. “You have to start somewhere,” Mr. Decker says.


Lisa DeStefano, Home Depot vice president of marketing, initially hesitated looking over the list of proposed video lessons, chosen based on high-frequency online search queries. “Were we selling people short? Were these just too obvious?” she says she asked her team. On the tape-measure tutorial, “I said ‘come on, how many things can you say about it?’ ” Ms. DeStefano says.

And just in case you think we're joking and/or exaggerating, here is Home Depot's tape measure tutorial in all its glory:


Meanwhile, Scotts Miracle-Gro has been forced to start training classes to remind frustrated millennials, who can't seem to keep their flowers alive, that plants need sunlight to grow (apparently not a single millennial ever took biology in grade school).  Commenting on the tutorials, a defeated VP of Corporate Affairs, Jim King, admitted "these are simple things we wouldn’t have really thought to do or needed to do 15 to 20 years ago"...sorry, Mr. King this is your life now.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has started offering gardening lessons for young homeowners that cover basic tips—really, really basic—like making sure sunlight can reach plants.


“These are simple things we wouldn’t have really thought to do or needed to do 15 to 20 years ago,” says Jim King, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Scotts. “But this is a group who may not have grown up putting their hands in the dirt growing their vegetable garden in mom and dad’s backyard.”


“They grew up playing soccer, having dance recitals and playing an Xbox,” says Scott’s Mr. King. “They probably didn’t spend as much time helping mom and dad out in the yard as their predecessors or their predecessors’ predecessors.”


Companies such as Scotts, Home Depot Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. , Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s West Elm and the Sherwin-Williams Co. are hosting classes and online tutorials to teach such basic skills as how to mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, hammer a nail and pick a paint color.

Unfortunately, at least for the Home Depots of the world, millennials now represent the largest demographic in America with 4.75 million 26 year olds roaming the streets of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles without a clue as to how to use a tape measure.

The biggest single age cohort today in the U.S. is 26-year-olds, who number 4.8 million, according to Torsten Slok, chief international economist for Deutsche Bank . People 25, 27 and 24 follow close behind, in that order. Many are on the verge of life-defining moments such as choosing a career, buying a house and having children.


Millennials as a whole are America’s latest demographic bubble, overtaking the baby boom generation and, like them, transforming popular culture, retailing, media and lifestyles. They make up about 42% of all home buyers today, and 71% of all first-time home buyers, according to Zillow Group . Some 86% of millennial home buyers reported making at least one improvement to their home in the past year, more than any other generation, Zillow says.


While we have our doubts that it will save their business, retailers like J.C. Penney and West Elm are trying to adapt to the millennial generation by offering basic in-home services like installing televisions or hanging wall art.

J.C. Penney Co. says the group is willing to hire others for projects. The retailer has pushed into home services, including furnace and air-conditioning repair, water-treatment systems and bathroom renovations, and expanded its window-covering installation.


“They’re much more of a ‘Do-It-for-Me’ type of customer than a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ customer,” says Joe McFarland, executive vice president of J.C. Penney stores. “You don’t need a ladder or a power drill, you don’t even have to wonder if you measured your window right.”


Home-furnishings retailer West Elm offers service packages, which start at $129, to provide plumbing and electrical work, painting, installing a television and hanging wall art and mirrors.


All that said, at least some millennials are trying to be more self-sufficient...as an example, the WSJ notes the case of 26-year-old Breanne Loes who recently borrowed her dad's power tools to craft a wooden headboard...which went really well AFTER she realized the saw blade was on backwards.

Ms. Loes enjoys do-it-yourself projects, and two summers ago built with her now-husband a wooden headboard in her parents’ garage, with help from an online tutorial, her dad, two older brothers and their tools.


The saw wasn’t working at first because the blade was backward. “That was embarrassing,” says Ms. Loes.

Congrats, Breanne, really great job...really.

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Ignatius's picture

My old man told me about driving a truck in the 40s and shifting, often without the clutch, by listening to the engine.

smallblockchevy350's picture

It's easy to shift without the clutch. RPMs must be decreasing while you pop it into the next gear. I do it every day.

Nobody For President's picture

Ditto. Learned clutchless driving when our volunteer fire dept got an old truck with no syncromesh. Learned to drive my pickup without the clutch, made driving the old rig with the clutch doable - some guys never got the hang of it. Probably not an app for it either...

Learn fourth to third downshift first, then third to forth upshift next. Then add the other gears as required.

BeansMcGreens's picture

My auto shop's teacher had over his desk the old auto front tag 'Ass, Grass, Or Cash no one rides for free'. Of course this was about a1969.

hllnwlz's picture

The answer is no. Every kid now is shuffled into the a through G track which means they're being prepared for a life of debt service to the banks in exchange for a questionable college education. Some of my smartest students are going straight into the trades because they recognized the college at this point as a total scam.

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

I took Shop throughout my middle/high school years.  I absolutely love woodworking, and was able to make several pieces of furniture that my folks still have in the living room.  I don't think my alma mater bothers with it anymore...

rpboxster's picture

Wood shop, metal shop in middle school, and basic machining in engineering school were my all time fav classes.  Those and typing were probably the most practical.

Casey Jones's picture

I loved wood and metal shop but ultimately stuck with print shop. I got real experience and was working in print shops all through college making treble what my friends could pull down. Launched me into a life of publishing in fact. We've given away do much of what made sense.

hawaiian waverider's picture

In Jr high then high school I took: metal working, wood working, foundry, screen printing, made business cards, sewing, home economics, photography etc.  My dad taught me to weld before I was a teen, I used a chain saw and sold cord wood at 13.  

Sorry millenials, you are frankly pathetic.  Yeah, you can blame your parents or society as you have that skill down but, there has never been an easier time to learn something new than today.  Get off your pathetic asses and stop being worthless.

PT's picture

White collar jobs, Double-income families, Serviced Apartments.  What more do you need to know? 

When I was at kindygarten one of the activities was banging nails into pieces of wood.  As an adult:  I once had an apprentice who had never done wood work, metal work or industrial work shop.

Re "...millennials now represent the largest demographic in America ..." :

So that means our pensions are safe, right?  Right????  Plenty of workers to pay for them or to keep company pensions afloat.  Or the millenials have all the voting power to pay less taxes so they vote not to support Gen-X in their later years becoz guvMSM tells them they don't have enough money?  Don't bother answering, it's a rhetorical question.  Point being, the news is shaped around a narrative with "reasons" that sound, ummmm, reasonable, but then there is also a lot equal but opposite "reasons" that are completely ignored.  Sorry about that last sentence.  I'm in a hurry.  But you should know what I mean.  It ain't just what they say, it's what they don't say.

DaiRR's picture

Sadly it isn't.  No wood shop, no metal shop, no home ec.  Got to go the vo-tec route to get any of that.  But wow, they sure can play video games and text on their phones like champs, or is that chumps?

Antifaschistische's picture

after 10 years of non-stop video gamining, the human brain has already been rewired in ways we do not understand.  what I do understand is that after that...all iniative and motivation for tactile kinetic learning seems to be lost forever.  I'm sure there are exceptions....but I've never seen a PlayStation/Nintendo/xbox Junkie transform into a DIY guy.

toady's picture

I think you really hit on something there... when I was a kid we played outside all day, watched a couple hours of tv (happy days, Laverne & Shirley, etc) in high school I did shop classes, did pretty good in English... joined the air force (Reagan years, recession, that's about all I could find) and did civil engineering...

Anyways I always felt good, sharp, you know, like I was on top of things...

Then I got into computers in the early 90's and stared at screens for twenty years... and my brain got rewired... couldn't remember stuff, 1000 yard stare...

Now that I've been out of it for almost ten years my head is starting to clear....

It's something about vision... staring at a screen, interacting with a non-human... it alters the mind.

logicalman's picture

When my kids were in school I used to say to them 'you have to go to school as I can't support you and teach you. When you are at school you will be schooled, but when you are home with me I will do my best to educate you.'

Both my kids are creative, good at solving problems and fixing shit.

I can strip an engine (as long as it's old enough not to have too much electronic gadgetry), weld, bulld furniture or a longbow, put a computer together from parts, build a temporary shelter from scratch in the woods, use a lathe and a milling machine, do simple blacksmithing among other things. I've managed to pass on most of these to my kids. They grew up without a TV in the house and we always did stuff together, very often out in the countryside.

It's about being a real parent and passing on knowledge, something that seems to be getting lost in modern society.

HedgeJunkie's picture

I too took wood shop in seventh grade and metal shop that year in summer school (wasn't much else to do after chores in the summer).  Grandfather was a carpenter and taught his boys, all were masters except dad who STILL can't hammer a nail straight for shit.  Uncle, dad's brother, was a master machinist with his own mill and lathe in our workshop.  I learned a few things in my youth.

At fourteen I built a combination pigpen, corral and horse/feed/tack shed while dad was overseas.  The corral covered an acre using railroad ties hand split with axe and awl and barbed wire.  The barbed wire hand stretched with a come-along.  Then I built a drinking fountain from stone/concrete.  All remain functional 44 years later.  (wasn't much else to do after chores and summer school in the summer)

Growing up in the middle of nowhere in the mojave desert.

safe as milk's picture

exactly. it's not their fault that they were raised in this culture. it's encouraged all the time. take self driving cars, the latest fad. i was concerned that none of the 30 somethings in my family have a clue how to diagnose a car problem. they call aaa to fix a flat! they can't wait to get self driving cars. what's it going to be like when there is a hurricane, etc and no one even knows how to drive?

Never One Roach's picture

Maff and frax shuns make my head hurt.

PT's picture

and how can you learn to fix cars when they don't break down any more?

nope-1004's picture

My take on this phenomenon is the availability of credit.  I know in my own family of younger people that they don't give a shit about DIY... they'd rather just put down the credit card and pay for someone else to do it.

Easy money and cheap credit have massive social implications.  It dumbs down the economy to a level where initiative and entrepreneurial spirit die, because cheap credit removes the time component to labor.  Businesses and people can buy things, screw it up royally, and carry the debt ramifications no problem.  It makes everyone and the system dumb.

All bankers should hang.


Eyes Opened's picture

Think that clueless millenials are a problem for HomeDepot ??

Read this thread & see just how bad things are in the construction industry.....



Byte Me's picture

All bankers should hang.

Just this^^ will suffice.

atomic balm's picture

one (((thing))) left out


atomic balm's picture

(((Easy money and cheap credit have massive social implications.)))

skbull44's picture

This is no surprise to me since during my 25 years in education I witnessed a constant deterioration of the curriculum from hands-on skills/knowledge (e.g. home economics and shop) towards special interest group subjects (e.g. music, drama, visual arts) and ‘21st century’ subjects (e.g. mathematics, science, and technology). You reap what you sow.


hawaiian waverider's picture

One saving grace for millenials, there are a few of them that are joining the Maker Movement.  Across America, there are Makerspaces springing up that provide tools from 3d printers to welders and have classes and people with expertise all coming together to make cool stuff.  It is pretty cool.  If you have never heard of an Arduino, that is another thing that is cool that a tiny minority of millenials are engaging in and, hats off to them as they will dominate going forward. 

StychoKiller's picture

Wow, I just got the Arduino IDE to work with all of the different widgets that I have on hand!

Check out my RPi projects page: http://www.frontiernet.net/~jimbot/rPiProjects.htm

helloimjohnnycat's picture

Too funny but only half true.

What male wants to fuck any grossly obese, putrid, mouthy-ass fucking cunt who thinks she's something special because of her gender.


oh wait, I left out WHITE.  What WHITE male wants....

Carry on nigger boys !

There's a whole lotta' mulatto waiting in dem fat-girl holes.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

I do everything myself. 

Buy yourself the right tools, watch a few youtube videos, and you've added a new skill to your portfolio and get tools that will last forever (if you get the right ones) for the price you would have payed someone else to do it. 

No idea what this article is on about. 

mkkby's picture

Feminism has destroyed our world.

Perfectly predictable for kids with only a mom. Or both parents working, kids abandoned to day cares that don't really care.

There wasn't a dad around to fix things and set the example. There was only a stressed-out woman armed with a 45 caliber credit card. In addition, we can thank these INDEPENDENT (what a joke) women for all the muzzies/illegals turning everything to shit.

On the plus side, even more work for competent tradesmen who are good at marketing. Become a handyman who charges snowflakes $80 to change a light bulb.

Agent P's picture

"Buy yourself the right tools, watch a few youtube videos..."

I believe that's exactly what this article is about. 

tmosley's picture

Yeah, I met a guy like that a few years ago. Kind of inspired me to do the same. Shit has to get pretty damned hard for me to call in a "professional", and half the time when they come out, whatever problem I have is beyond them too, and we have to work together to figure it out.

FireBrander's picture

I just called my local Toyota dealer; inquired the cost of a "flush and fill"...$200 plus tax and "shop fees"...GTFOAH!

Total cost to "do it myself"..simple as can be...even youtube vids that "show you how" in less than 3 minutes...$25.

Friend took a Jetta to the dealer for a FRONT ONLY brake job...estimate was ~$1000..whoa!. Claimed rotors were "warped", bearings "scarred" and needed replaced..hogshit...bearings looked fine, spun perfect and a couple turns on the lathe for the rotors and back to perfect condition.

I'd bet a $1000 they didn't even take off the wheels to write that estimate; probably just a standard estimate they give everyone. Would be interesting to take a car in there with fresh brakes and see what the "estimate" is for new brakes...

Couple years back, local media set a trap for HVAC companies.

1. A "older" furnace in perfect working condition.

2. An old lady calls for a "tune-up".

A few shops were super honest and charged her nothing, others wanted just the trip charge..but one told her the furnace was shot, dangerous, and should be replaced...should have seen the guys face when the TV cam popped out of the woodwork.

logicalman's picture

Problem with new model cars is that everything is an electronic 'black box'

It's getting to the point where you'll soon have to go the the dealership to get gas fitted to the tank and air fitted to the tires.

tmosley's picture

Do yourself a favor and get a code reader. That black box is pretty damn handy for diagnosis.

ed31337's picture

Hogwash. Personally, I -prefer- working on those newfangled vehicles with their fancy electronics. Why? Because it's so much easier to simply run your scan tool against the vehicle, search the internet for the problem codes revealed, and then go to work fixing only the parts of the vehicle that are actually causing the problems. VW TDI's are particularly good in this aspect. Can't count the number of times VAGCOM saved me major time, frustration and dinero. All of my prior vehicles without onboard diagnostics were always such a crapshoot whether I could figure out what needed replacing. One reason why I don't have any of those older vehicles today yet still have my 2001 VW running strong and good as the day I drove it off the dealership.

Zeej's picture

I also do EVERYTHING myself. Plumbing, electric, roofwork, landscape, paint, tile, woodwork, etc. all. These are things many boomers do. I also do all IT for my entire family and my small business.  Frankly this article is retarded. 

hawaiian waverider's picture

Ditto.  If I buy a tool and use it once, it pays for itself as it's still cheaper than hiring someone.  Thank god for Harbor Frieght hahaha

shovelhead's picture

Got my HF 6" polisher to cut and buff my paint and to sand down my roof and hood for repainting. That old '95 F150 is going to look brand new again.

Bryan's picture

No need to "sit them there"... they do it all by themselves if that's available.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

Both parents were busy working, with the moms often working a two-bit job for luxury money and driving wages down for those without unearned income from a spouse or government, rather than one parent sacrificing an income and raising the kids instead of letting babysitters, low-wage daycare attendants or the grandparents raise the kids.

Whatever millennials are reflects the energy levels of their elderly grandparents or the give-a-care ethos of low-wage daycare workers or untrusted babysitters with NannyCams.

That said, if true, this is good news for the business I once owned, but only if millennials have a lot of superfluous money and the will to use it on that product, as opposed to using it to fund expense trips, restaurant patronage and other entertainment.

On the internet, I have seen evidence that millennials are more di-it-yourself than other generations, but maybe, those are just the outlier women who want more control over cost and the finished product.

Semi-employed White Guy's picture

And warehouse them in a "daycare" staffed by mininum wage workers.  Mom had to have a career so she could get a BMW and blow the boss at work.

MaxMax's picture

Part of the problem is that the kids are also broke and in debt. Getting rid of all the high school wood and metal shops didn't help.  it is pretty hard to work on modern cars so that's mostly out.  Many of the younger generation have no interest either.

I know a kid graduating with an enginerring degree and is at the top of his class.  Last summer, he was driving one of my cars and he commented that something was wrong with the car because it was making a lot of noise.  He had accidently hit a  paddle shifter which took it out of automatic and the engine was staying in first gear.  His solution - turn up the radio.  True story.

SubjectivObject's picture


my wife did that with a new vehicle purchase, I had bought it over the phone off craigslist while I called from malaysia, had the owner deliver it

she called it noise too

tmosley's picture

>it is pretty hard to work on modern cars so that's mostly out.

I disagree. I have a ten year old car that I do most of the work on myself. Code readers are a lifesaver. The car tells you what's wrong 99% of the time! They cost way less than a single trip to the mechanic.

I also have a good mechanic for jobs that are too much for me, but when you maintain your vehicle well, such jobs are a rarity.

MaxMax's picture

Depends on the car and what is wrong with it.  On my 1980 Suburban, I can change the alternator in 10 minutes.  I have a 2003 Mercedes S600 and the alternator died.  The Mercedes has a water cooled alternator inside the engine block.  To get to it, you either have to remove the crossmember from under the car and work you way to it , or you have to take the entire front end off - headlights, grill, radiator, A/C, transcooler. The new Merc alternator cost $2,500 before any labor costs.

SaulAzzHoleSky's picture

And a decent remanufactured alternator for your Suburban will only cost about $125. Too bad the Germans can't figure out how to build an air-cooled alternator at a reasonable cost!

Semi-employed White Guy's picture

Don't get me started on VW and its crappy AC compressors. Germans don't know scheise about air conditioning.