HomeDepot Eco Options : The Paradox of Suburbia


I just stopped by the local Home Depot and saw an end-of-aisle promotion for their new Eco Options campaign.  The other half of the end cap was a sale on bulk size Round-Up(tm) weed control / vegetation annihilator.  It was surreal to see these things next to each other, almost like a Dada art installation by the store planners. 

 Funny thing is I’ve been on both sides of that coin myself… it’s the paradox of living in suburbia in our more “enlightened” age.  You want to be a good person (or at least, alleviate some of the guilt that haunts you as you drive 10 miles to buy a gallon of milk), but you also want to kill those infernal weeds dead (it’s a bit early in the season for that, mind you… let the stuff grow a bit, will ya?).

 My bluetoothless special Luddite edition Nokia phone doesn’t have a camera on it, so I’ll have to go back to Home Depot and get a picture of this.

Ok, here ya go:

Home Depot Eco Options vs Round-Up

Photo taken in Norwood, MA 4/22/07
(c) Copyright 2007… if you want to use this photo, let me know, will ya?

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About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on April 20, 2007, in Green Style, Marketing, photography. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Funny and sad at the same time. Thanks for sharing this observation.

    Assuming that very little that Home Depot does with respect to product/message in-store positioning is by accident, what does this juxtaposition say about the authenticity of Home Depot’s self-proclaimed commitment to the environment? Another corporate passenger on the ‘going green’ bandwagon perhaps? At the very least, what does the ironic positioning of these two displays tell us about HD’s ability (or genuine interest) to educate/instill any such environmental awareness to its employees and consumers?

  2. Yes, I agree. Big box retailers usually plan out their promotional product placements very carefully. These are the so-called aisle “end-caps” (although technically this wasn’t near the end of an aisle… it was next to the main entrance) and that floor space carries a premium dollar-per-square-foot earnings requirment. Especially right near the front door.

    That said, these spots are usually split in half, and it’s possible that the special promotions / marketing group that “bought” one half of the space did their thing completely separately, not realizing the other half of the spot was going to the garden department’s seasonal bestseller. Another possibility is that the local stores differ on what gets placed near the entrance, whilst the Eco Options promotion was something that came down from the central / national office. I’d be interested in hearing if this little juxtaposition something that’s happening at other Home Depots.

    In any case, even if it’s an accident, your questions still stand, Rob… and those are very good questions.

    Another thing: There are more earth-friendly alternatives to Round-Up, though to be sure they may not be as effective in certain situations. So really, Home Depot missed an opportunity to “walk-the-walk” and use the other half of the promotional spot to give the consumer some education about various herbicides and options, dare I say, Eco Options, as to how to deal with unwanted weeds.

  3. I passed by the Home Depot today and the Eco Options promo is still there, but they’ve moved away the Round-Up, probably as part of the weekly feature product rotation. (The spot this week is for the “Ultimate Lawn Chair” ..pretty comfortable, but it doesn’t fold and carry easily.)

    As for the pesticides and herbicides, there are actually now more of them nearby, closer to the front door as you walk in. The featured items include GrubEx which had a huge warning on it, “THIS PRODUCT MAY NOT BE SOLD IN LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK,” No organic / eco options. (*sigh*)

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