While most power tools are now manufactured overseas, many hand tools are still made in the USA, Canada, England and other countries with long traditions of producing top-quality tools with pride. In recent years, more and more domestic factories have closed their doors and shuttered their windows, making it more important than ever to know where tools are made.
Home Depot’s online store does not mention the country of origin information (COO) for the tools and other products they sell, but Home Depot’s Canadian site does. That’s right, over at HomeDepot.ca, COO information for most if not all of the products they sell is disclosed to potential customers, lised along with other product specifications.
I’ve known about this disclosure for quite some time and about 10 months ago I thought I was presented with an opportunity to find out why COO info was excluded from product pages on Home Depot’s USA site. I was wrong.
It all started last November, right before the winter holiday shopping season rush, when a Home Depot representative reached out to us and conveyed that they wanted to interact more with bloggers and consumers. In introducing herslef, she also said that if I ever see a customer issue or have a question about a product, I should contact her directly and that she would “get me what I need”.
Oh boy, did I have a question right off the bat:
I already do have a question that I hope you could answer for me. Myself and a lot of my colleagues, peers, and readers have an interest in knowing where the tools we buy online are manufactured. A tool’s country of origin may sometimes guide or influence our purchasing decisions, but for the most part it is about the desire to know as much about a product as possible. Are there plans for HomeDepot.com to provide products’ country of origins in their product specifications? If not, what is the official reason for not wanting to do this?
I am asking this because HomeDepot.ca has provided products’ Country of Origin information for a long time now, suggesting that there may be a specific and deliberate reason as to why HomeDepot.com does not.
I received a very prompt response:
I will check with our tool merchants and global sourcing team to determine why we don’t currently list that info online.
Great, she was going to look into it!! I figured that at the very worst, I would receive a followup saying that they coudn’t share that info. Little did I know that I would never hear from them ever again.
Two months later I tried again:
Hi, it has been quite some time since we last spoke. I was wondering if your tool merchants and global sourcing team were able to get back to you about why country of origin info is not currently specified for products on HomeDepot.com. As I previously pointed out, Home Depot’s Canadian online storefront does provide this information.
No response at all this time.
While ultimately a tool’s quality is usually a greater selling point for me than where it’s made, I always at least want to know where it’s made beforehand.
I really don’t see any technical reason as to why HomeDepot.com excludes COO info. But it’s not that they cannot share this detail with consumers, is it? It really seems like they don’t want to.
In case you don’t quite get what I mean, take a look at the first random product I found offered for sale on both sites – a Ryobi P815 18V lithium ion compact drill kit:
Can you see where the drill is made by visiting the USA web portal? Nope. Take a look at the Canadian portal and you’ll see Country of Origin: China.
How about a randomly selected hand tool, Stanley’s FATMAX Xtreme Fubar Functional Utility Bar?
Checking the USA site, where is the tool made? Who knows, it doesn’t say. Checking the Canadian site, it clearly says Country of Origin: Taiwan.
Why is this? I’d love to know, but Home Depot’s Corporate Communications Manager never got back to me.
EDIT: To be fair, although I’m picking on Home Depot here, other retailers are equally as guilty of the same policies. I focused on Home Depot because it seems like they can disclose COO info but won’t.