ATLANTA- You might notice a little something different when you walk into Atlanta area Home Depot stores: an absence of marital spats, break-ups, and obscenities. The hardware chain is testing a new concept in select stores to help couples stop bickering and warping the fragile psyches of nearby small children: marriage counseling.
Sites are integrating new “Marriage Improvement Specialists” in the company’s distinct orange apron. Friendly faces are trained to step in when they notice tension at any department or kiosk. Marriage Improvement Specialists will move out immediately at the sound of whining or shouting to engage the couple.
In her first week on the job, Specialist Mary Kay Olmstead has already approached a number of couples with Home Depot patented steps to better communication and understanding. The “Measure Twice, Cut Once” relationship philosophy encourages couples to come to the store with a clear plan before selecting yard ware and light fixtures.
“The most effective tools so far are our Anger-Level Swatches,” Olmstead said, “Sometimes it’s helpful for them to know who’s at ‘Blistering Lava’ red, and who’s simmering at ‘Cherry-Crème’ red.”
“Most times, we bring couples together by giving them a common enemy,” explained Olmstead, “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to mind my own business or had a handful of screws thrown at me. At the end of the day, we just want you to pick out a countertop, grab a hot dog and go home happy.”
To minimize implementation costs and liability, some stores are choosing to outsource the service, working with state-certified therapists stationed in store parking lots near the sheds and barns.
In addition to counseling, Home Depot has one more last resort service for irreconcilable customers, the Home Depot Divorce, available soon at most nationwide locations, near the garden section.