Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?

Quality is very important to me and I’ve made the commitment to reviewing products when I can. As a reviewer there are certain things needed to ensure the review is useful and true. Thus, I was able to explore the question “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?” with a real world experience. That is, it was with great shock and frustration that I encountered Home Depot’s archaic online review policy (homedepot.com, homedepot.ca).

The Background – On the Hunt for an LED porch light

I’ve been on the hunt for about 5 years for an “LED porch light” but just saying that doesn’t do it justice. If you’ve ever shopped for LED light bulbs, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with the number of specifications you need to keep in mind. Lest you buy the wrong bulb and spend endless trips to the store to find the right one. So, our specification for an LED porch light are:

  • “suitable for damp locations”
  • have a temperature rating of at least -20C (ideally more of course since we live in Canada)
  • at least 100W incandescent equivalent (1500 lumens or more)
  • “A” shaped bulb (A19/A23) – this is the classic bulb shape
  • Medium or standard base (“E26”) – the standard North American light bulb screw-in socket size of 26mm diameter
  • dimmable since most porch lights are on a low-level light until they detect motion and output more lumens
  • colour temperature of 2700K (like an incandescent bulb)

For the last 5 years there have been absolutely no bulbs with these specifications at Home Depot and I’ve been testing various inexpensive LED bulbs from Amazon; some are even only indoor rated! Suffice it to say, they start flickering in the 6-18 month range.  

LED Porch Light Found at Home Depot

Until recently when I was looking again at Home Depot, I found the “Ecosmart 100W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb (3-Pack) – ENERGY STAR” (Model # B6A19100WESD01)”. The Home Depot site link for this product can be accessed by clicking here.

It looked good on paper and the online reviews looked ok. The cost per bulb was $7.42 CAD. Quality indoor bulbs are a bit cheaper than this so this seemed reasonable for an outdoor capable bulb. Upon connecting it the first day it seemed to work ok. I posted this review thinking I could modify it later when I had more operating data:

“Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Not Listed as “Outdoor” But…

Body: I bought these to use as porch lights; so outdoor. The box says “Indoor” which is opposite from the online listing. It does say “Minimum starting temperature -20 C (-4F)” and “Suitable for damp locations; do not use where directly exposed to water”. I suppose it may be able to be used outside so I’m giving it a try. I’ve installed the bulb in summer and I’ll try to post again how it does through a Canadian winter (-30 to -40 C). It’s really hard to find 100W equivalent 2700K outdoor LED bulbs so beggars can’t be choosers!”

LED Porch Light Goes Wrong

However, within 2-3 days, it started flickering immediately on start-up. With LED bulbs this indicates a shoddy/inexpensive LED controller which is a common issue of cheaper LED bulbs. I’ve encountered this issue with LED bulbs many, many times and because of this it’s rare to achieve the “long operating life” promised by LED bulbs.

The solution, of course, is to source a more expensive bulb. This is usually from specialty lighting stores that are not local. I found a replacement on 1000bulbs.com, which is a site that has a good filtering/search mechanisms for bulbs, and then sourced a somewhat more favorable price on amazon.ca once I knew what I was looking for. The replacement bulb cost $14.07 CAD. The cost, being approximately double, the bulb also came with a -30C rating and a 25,000-hour bulb life (15,000-hour is the typical bulb life). When I plugged it in, you can tell right away it has a quality LED controller.

Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?

Back to my home depot review and answering the question “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?”. I was excited, so I provided a more favorable review of the the Ecosmart bulb than I should have. But when I asked Home Depot Chat Support to modify or delete it, they quoted me this:

“Home Depot does not guarantee that you will have any recourse through Home Depot to edit or delete any content you have submitted. Ratings and written comments are generally posted within two to four business days. However, Home Depot reserves the right to remove or to refuse to post any submission for any reason.”

This means if a reviewer submits a review, they cannot edit or delete it after. As in my situation, say the product works great day 1 but by day 3 it’s not working, the reviewer has no recourse. You can’t go online and edit your review. You can’t take your review down by deleting it. Instead, you get to look like a chump if you think the product is great and days later it’s a piece of crap. Basically, Home Depot owns your review. Sure, Home Depot is allowing you to “make an honest review written by a customer” but it’s static, which makes it useless. Home Depot moderates all reviews anyhow, so I don’t understand this requirement.

Conclusion on Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?

When I raised the issue of “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?” on reddit, user ShinyYoshi surmised “I suspect they don’t allow editing or deletion of reviews because they don’t want positive reviews being changed to negative ones or vanishing. From what I have heard, negative reviews don’t even get approved for posting. I would recommend posting/trusting reviews from other sources.”

My recommendation: Avoid Home Depot reviews until they address this issue and rely on reviews on other sites. Amazon comes to mind. You can run Fakespot (fakespot.com), ReviewMeta.com or any other review analyzer to determine the overall trustworthiness of the specific URL’s reviews since fake reviews can creep into any review site despite the sites trying to moderate all reviews.

About the Author

Trevor Textor loves, loves, loves quality products. So much so that he’s been accused of having ugly things that work really, really well. On his journey for quality he has shared his knowledge as a reviewer as a Google Local Guide, which can be viewed by clicking here, and as an Amazon Reviewer, which can be viewed by here. If you’d like to get in touch with Trevor click here.

“52 things I learned in 2019” – A summary of a fantastically interesting list:

 
#9 Placebos are so effective that placebo placebos work: A pain cream with no active ingredients worked even when not used by the patient. Just owning the cream was enough to reduce pain. [Victoria Wai-lanYeung]
 
#27 Spotify pays by the song. Two three minute songs are twice as profitable as one six minute song. So songs are getting shorter. [Dan Kopf]
 
#41 Disco, a Japanese high tech manufacturing company, has introduced an internal billing and payment system, where every cost is charged back to workers. Renting a conference room costs $100. “People really cut back on useless meetings,” says one staffer. [Yuji Nakamura & Yuki Furukawa] -> Haha!!! Useless meetings are the harbinger of the apocalypse.
 
#33 According to WaterAid research, women spend 97 billion hours a year looking for a safe place to go to the loo. That equals 46 million working years, which is the same workforce as Germany, the fourth largest economy in the world. [Caroline Criado Perez via Tanya Gold]
 
#42 A man who bought the personalised number plate NULL has received over $12,000 of parking fines, because the system records ‘NULL’ when no numberplate has been recorded. [Jack Morse]
 
#29 Three million students at US schools don’t have the internet at home. [Michael Melia & co] -> Why Trevor is so passionate about internet delivery. Such a critical problem…
 
#3 Emojis are starting to appear in evidence in court cases, and lawyers are worried: “When emoji symbols are strung together, we don’t have a reliable way of interpreting their meaning.” (In 2017, an Israeli judge had to decide if one emoji-filled message constituted a verbal contract) [Eric Goldman]
 
#4 Harbinger customers are customers who buy products that tend to fail. They group together, forming harbinger zip codes. If households in those zip codes buy a product, it is likely to fail. If they back a political candidate, they are likely to lose the election. [Simester, Tucker & Yang]
 
#7 At least three private companies have fallen victim to ‘deep fake’ audio fraud. In each case, a computerised voice clone of the company CEO “called a senior financial officer to request an urgent money transfer.” [Kaveh Waddell, Jennifer A. Kingson]
 
#15 People hate asking sensitive questions. However, it turns out that people don’t hate being asked sensitive questions. So talking around difficult questions in research interviews is a waste of time and money. [Hart, VanEpps, Schweitzer]
 
#18 Mechanical devices to cheat your phone pedometer (for health insurance fraud or vanity) are now all over AliExpress. [Matthew Brennan]
 
#19 In 2017 Google and Facebook lost $100 million between them to one scammer who sent them fake invoices. [Jeff John Roberts] [found by TomBot*]
 
#20 Teenagers with acne get higher marks, are more likely to complete college and, if female, eventually get paid more than people without teenage acne. [Hugo M. Mialon & Erik T. Nesson]
 
#32 In 2018, the Nigerian government spent more on subsidies for petrol than on health, education, or defence. [Andrew S Nevin]
 
#36 At least half of the effort of most AI projects goes on data labelling, and that’s often done in rural Indian villages. [Anand Murali]
 
#44 Some blind people can understand speech that is almost three times faster than the fastest speech sighted people can understand. They can use speech synthesisers set at at 800 words per minute (conversational speech is 120–150 wpm). Research suggests that a section of the brain that normally responds to light is re-mapped in blind people to process sound. [Austin Hicks & R Douglas Fields]
 
#46 SDAM (Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory) is a rare syndrome where otherwise healthy, high-functioning people are unable to remember events from their own life. There is also an exhausting syndrome called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, where people can remember precise details about every single day of their life. [Palumbo & Alain]
 
#50 Six reluctant Chinese hitmen who hired each other to carry out a murder went to jail when their outsourcing scheme collapsed. [Eric Cheung] – explained more in the Planet Money podcast “WHITWELL: So this one is a guy hired a hitman to kill somebody else. That hitman said, I’m not doing that. He gave half the money to somebody else. He said, I’m not doing that. He gave half the money to someone else. Went all the way down the chain. The last guy was getting paid so little money, he said, this isn’t worth my while to do it. He went back to the victim and told him what had happened and said, we should split the money. Instead, the victim called the police, and all six of them went to prison.”
 
#52 Asking ‘What questions do you have for me?’ can be dramatically more effective than ‘Any questions?’ at the end of a talk. (Many more good tips in this thread. [Jacqueline Antonovich]
 
And also covered by Planet Money podcast episode:

End Plastic Waste

To end plastic waste simply make fossil fuel plastic more expensive than recycling plastic. QED

No more plastic bag bans, no more plastic garbage everywhere, reduce or eliminate plastic in our food chain, improve impoverished nations, etc. There are a lot of advantages.

Total cost to consumers on a soda bottle is a quarter of a cent to half a cent.

Full TED talk here “A radical plan to end plastic waste”:

Add your name to the #NOPLASTICWASTE petition:

NPR “The Indicator”: How Temperature Affects Workplace Productivity

Men like it cold, women like it hot – it’s a zero sum game. At 80F (27C) women get a 10% productivity boost while men lose 3%. Men prefer high 60s (20/21C).

The ideal temperature for 50% male/female office? 75F (24C)

AHHH!!! SAVE US ALL! (men) In a 75F office, men will be dressing in tank tops and mini skirts.

Click here to read more from the Podcast entitled “The Battle For The Office Thermostat”.

The Gender Pay Gap Explained

Education and Experience explained only 8% of the gender pay gap according to the “Progress on the Gender Pay Gap 2019” study. Occupational differences, e.g. the career that was chosen, explains 56%. Not “who you know” or specifically targeting women. “I think what’s important to recognize there is that women and men don’t randomly sort into occupations, partly because of influences early on: what kind of jobs get taught to people as being a male job or a female job. And some jobs, frankly, just aren’t friendly to family lifestyles.”

The kind of jobs with a large part-time pay gap are generally in areas where it’s harder to divide up hours and be flexible. Any job where relationships need to be maintained with clients are especially bad; e.g. careers in sales, lawyer, banker, etc. There are jobs that pay a part-time premium and these tend to be jobs where it’s easy for people to swap shifts or work as a team. E.g. Nursing, waiters/waitresses

“When an occupation pays less money per hour to its part-time workers than to its full-time ones, it’s known as the part-time penalty. That penalty tends to be higher when occupations have less flexible hours. Here’s the catch: the jobs that tend to be more flexible — and ones that many women and mothers gravitate towards — pay less.”

So how can the gap be reduced? “…[E]ither men would also have to increasingly choose those flexible occupations or the rigid, inflexible occupations would have to become less rigid and inflexible so that women and mothers could join them, perhaps by, you know, embracing more of a team approach at work.”

Sources:

“Where The Gender Pay Gap Is Widest”

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/04/29/718389455/where-the-gender-pay-gap-is-widest

“Progress On The Gender Pay Gap 2019” study

https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/gender-pay-gap-2019/

Source: “Jobs Friday: The Part-Time Penalty”

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/03/720122267/jobs-friday-the-part-time-penalty

How To Measure Happiness

Happiness is elusive but it helps focus an individual with their life design if they consider what metrics contribute to happiness. These metrics might be in error, but at least they are something. The 6 measures, as explained by NPR’s “The Indicator” podcast, are:

These measures have been found to be highly correlated with people’s overall happiness. Of these measures social support and GDP per capita are the most important. But at some point, GDP per capita stops mattering; the Easterlin paradox. “It’s the idea that wealth adds to people’s happiness only up to a point. And at some point, for some reason, getting richer stops making you happier.” There are many working theories and here are some of the more prominent ones:

  • GDP per capita (a rough idea of how wealthy people are in a particular country),
  • healthy life expectancy,
  • how much people trust the government and businesses in their country (is corruption a problem in the government? In businesses?),
  • social support (do you have somebody to count on in times of trouble?),
  • generosity (has a person been generous in the last 30 days to others) and
  • freedom (did you feel a sense of freedom to make your key life decisions?).
  1. (India #141, China #94) Social support has declined even though GDP per capita is rising. Stuff like moving into cities, decline of the extended family.
  2. (USA #19) “People overestimate the happiness they’re going to get from more income or a bigger house. And they underestimate the happiness they would get from more time with the family and less time spent commuting. So, they end up finding themselves in circumstances where they’ve chosen to go for too high an income, too much consumption, not enough time to spend with family and friends. And they end up being anxious, harried, stressed.”
  3. It could just be that the measurements are wrong.

Regardless, the researcher shares that he’s changed his behaviour as a result of this research and recommends “…[T]o start conversations with strangers, to smile at people in the streets, to assume the best rather than the worst about them is a win-win situation. And so, I do it more than I used to. And that’s improved my happiness. And I hope it’s improved somebody else’s, as well. …”

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/04/08/711132741/how-to-measure-happiness

https://worldhappiness.report/

Canada is #9, Finland #1. Excel file with the data is here (“Chapter 2 – online data ‘Figure2.6’ worksheet):

https://s3.amazonaws.com/happiness-report/2019/Chapter2OnlineData.xls

Canada is just 6% behind Finland and USA is 12.72% behind (5.6% behind Canada). South Sudan, #156, is 272% behind Finland. Surprisingly Australia is at #11 with all it’s sunshine and most goods being locally sourced.

Easterlin Paradox:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easterlin_paradox

Plastic single use bags – the economics

Planet Money explains in “Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?

“…sales of garbage bags actually skyrocketed after plastic grocery bags were banned…So about 30% of the plastic that was eliminated by the ban comes back in the form of thicker garbage bags…. On top of that, cities that banned plastic bags saw a surge in the use of paper bags, which she estimates resulted in about 80 million pounds of extra paper trash per year. paper bags are actually worse for the environment. … They require cutting down and processing trees, which involves lots of water, toxic chemicals, fuel, and heavy machinery. … the huge increase of paper, together with the uptick in plastic trash bags, means banning plastic shopping bags increases greenhouse gas emissions. That said, these bans do reduce non-biodegradable litter.”

Organic cotton tote bags need to be used 20,000 times before its use is better than a plastic grocery bag. “…the best reusable ones are made from polyester or plastics like polypropylene. . Those still have to be used dozens and dozens of times to be greener than plastic grocery bags, which have the smallest carbon footprint for a single use.”

“As for bag policies, Taylor says a fee is smarter than a ban. She has a second paper showing a small fee for bags is just as effective as a ban when it comes to encouraging use of reusable bags. But a fee offers flexibility for people who reuse plastic bags for garbage disposal or dog walking. … The best policy, Taylor says, imposes a fee on both paper and plastic bags and encourages reuse.”

15Apr2019 update: Another economics podcast on plastic packaging (Cellophane). It presents the data and decisions that have made the modern plastic world and illustrates nicely the counter-intuitive conclusions that come up all the time in plastic packaging.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csz2w3

Planet Money Talks Trade Wars And The Batman Problem

Instead of a trade-war which impacts the global economy and hurts everybody, why not just use anti-currency manipulation to address the trade deficit? As explained by Planet Money’s “indicator” podcast it’s practically free. What it doesn’t do is buy politicians votes… The world economy just might be suffering in order for a politician to get re-elected…

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/07/18/630265851/trade-wars-and-the-batman-problem

People on opposite sides of the globe with the same income level live very similarly

Visit dollar street to find how income affects how people live. Also startling… everyone in a 1st world nation is considered RICH! And unfortunately we take a lot for granted; like having a toothbrush. Bill Gates introduces the Dollar Street site here.  Explore Dollar Street in full here.

(11Sep2018 edit) The book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling describes the 4 levels of income groups and explains the kind of life these people have (similar to Dollar Street). Explore these income groups (which replaces the concept of developing vs developed world): https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Factfulness