Posted on March 14, 2005

Illegal Immigration Protest in California, March 14, 2005

Our goal was to transfer economic pain to Home Depot for supporting racist, anti-American organizations like La Raza and for aiding and abetting illegal aliens through their sponsorship of day-labor centers.

To accomplish this, we set out to essentially lock down their store by filling it with customers attempting to purchase small items. This would consume valuable time and discourage other customers from staying to purchase. Ultimately, this would hurt their bottom line sales and profits for the day.

Earlier this week, Home Depot spokeswoman Kathryn Gallagher stated that she expected “business as usual” at their Rancho Cucamonga store in response to our demonstration.

Apparently, “business as usual” consists of placing spotters with walkie talkies and cameras on their rooftop, having “undercover” personnel film and follow various activists from our organization during the entire event. Business as usual also apparently consists of staffing the store with approximately 200 employees. There was nothing typical about Home Depot today.

In total we had approximately 75 activists who showed up and participated in our demonstration, with a peak crowd of approximately 50 activists rallying at the same time at the entrance to Home Depot. We received a rather warm response from passing motorists, with a smattering of opponents who expressed their displeasure with our appearance by cursing at us, giving us notable hand gestures and by blessing us with very loud Spanish music.

Reporters from the Los Angeles Times and the Daily Bulletin interviewed many activists and took pictures. We were also greeted by a camera man from the Lou Dobbs Show and we hope to see a segment on CNN regarding this rally in the very near future.

Lets turn our attention to the response by Home Depot. It was absolutely incredible. Before our activists were even scheduled to meet at 8AM, they were already out in full force. They had numerous employees standing at the front of their store, rooftop and parking lot. I have never seen anything like it.

The most interesting facet of their response was their sniper-esque spotter(s) on the rooftop apparently doing surveillance on our activists. They apparently documented our vehicles and the activists with numerous pictures.

Later, while congregating on the main entrance into the Home Depot parking lot, two men approached and started filming with a video camera. When I asked “who they were with,” they lied and intimated that they were just passing by and decided to film the crowd. Apparently, they had nothing else to do on that Saturday than to randomly stop and film us for over two hours. When we later entered the store as a group, they were milling about and following us around.

Entering the store was rather comical. Home Depot literally had 5-10 employees congregated at the entrance to the store. Once inside, we were met with a phalanx of orange apron wearing employees. We are all familiar with our local grocery stores and how they place little sales displays of product at the end of each aisle. Imagine, two to three employees literally standing at the foot of each aisle. It was amazing. And that doesn’t even take into account the employees milling about the store or the two employees that were manning each of the fifteen checkout terminals.

To their credit, the employees were incredibly gracious and kind. We were all greeted repeatedly. I think I literally had 20 employees ask if they could assist me, ask me how I was doing, etc. It was a rather phenomenal display of customer service.

Once inside the store, we all split up and milled about. Eventually, many of us gravitated to the nuts, bolts, screws and washers aisle. One side of the aisle was already blocked off by the gates they use when they are stocking the aisle so as to prevent customers from being injured in some way. Within minutes, two employees brought another sliding gate to fence off the rest of the aisle. On the next immediate aisle, where there were additional items like nuts and screws, we were once again met by their fences to seal it off and prevent customers from entering. We never saw any stocking and there weren’t any forklifts there. It was rather comical.

However, many of us had already picked out our item(s). We then proceeded to check out where Home Depot employees leapt into action. Employees began to direct traffic, shepherding customers to other checkout counters and so forth to prevent any backup.

While preparing to purchase my washer, I had to wait for the customer in front of me to finish his purchase. Have no fear. Another Home Depot employee took the washer from me to her pricing book (it was already opened to the right page) where she matched the size of my washer to a picture in her book. Then, she begin to rang up my purchase. My total, 22-cents. But, there was a mistake, I stated that the washer I purchased was priced 7-cents on the box (I wasn’t lying, that was the truth). So, I asked for a price check. Without hesistation, she rang it up at 7-cents. So, I gave her my bill and proceeded to get the change back.

As I walked out the store, I thanked one of their employees for their excellent customer service. He said, “Thank you. Come back again.” I responded, “Oh yeah! We will be coming back.”

Although we had anticipated transfering pain with our lockdown idea, Home Depot’s overwhelming response prevented the lockdown from occuring. However, due to their very overt indication that they took our organization very seriously, we managed to hurt them financially anyway.

When all is said and done, Home Depot will have spent several thousands of dollars on wages for this extra man power. Assuming that they conservatively placed an extra 100 employees in that store for the day (and they werent all low level cashiers) at a cost of roughly $18 an hour per employee, we are talking about $7,200 for four hours.

Now, remember, an average Home Depot does a little over $100,000 a day in sales, not profits, but gross sales. This extra expense in wages to man the store represents a considerable impact to the profits that store will realize today. Combined with the publics’ growing awareness of Home Depot’s actions and affiliation, we believe our financial impact was even greater and will continue to grow. In fact, it is quite possible that Home Depot did not realize a profit today since many mega box stores rely on bulk sales of products with a low profit margin. I will need to investigate their annual statements to find out what their margins are to determine how impactful we were.

With a little more manpower and replication, we can drop Home Depot to its knees and force them to honor our demands.

If Home Depot’s actions today equate to “business as usual,” I am extremely curious to see what unusual looks like.