Scrap wood at Home Depot--Free or not?

I went to Home Depot to buy some insulation and tape to install an air conditioner. While I was there, I stopped by the section where they cut wood to order. They had a couple of boxes full of scrap wood, i.e. the wood left over after people have cut theirs to order. I picked up four scraps of wood, some were pieces of molding, and none longer than five inches, to put under the air conditioner to position it correctly.

I went to the check out, expecting that there would just be a nominal charge (or no charge) for the scrap wood. The cashier (after consulting with the other cashier) said all the pieces would have to be measured and identified. I explained that I just grabbed them out of the scrap box, but she said that “someone might want to buy them.” I said forget it.

Surely the Home Depot can’t expect to sell four-inch segments of unsorted molding and wood, right? What’s the point of having a scrap box if they are going to charge you full price?

Most importantly, does Lowe’s charge for its scrap wood? I still need some!

HD gathers up the leftover pieces of molding and gets a credit from the vendors at the end of the month. It might seem silly, but all of those little pieces usually add up to hundreds of feet after a few weeks.

In the lumber aisle, the 2 x 4s often come with 1/8" thick slats separating every few rows. (at least they did where I worked) I’d usually save those and stack 'em in a little spot for exactly the purpose you describe. Did you try the lumber aisle or the millworks aisle?

  • Jimmy Flair, former orange aproned worker bee

When I worked there, the only thing I can think of that was given free as scrap was the little cutoffs from roller shades. Occasionally you’d get someone with a really stupidly small window and those would actually work. Oh, and if we had a carpet rollend which was way to small to make a rem (marked down and sold) then we’d throw them away unless someone asked for them. Usually we’d get teachers picking them up for projects.
Other than that, everything - including wood was either sold or sent back for credit.

You’d probably have better luck at a local independent hardware store or lumber yard (if you still have any in your town).

Or you could just get a little bundle of shims for a dollar. They’ll be uniform and easier to use than random chunks of wood, unless you have a large gap to fill, in which case you should just get a piece of wood cut to fit it.

It could also be just that particular cashier that particular day. I picked up a couple of pieces of pegboard out of the scrap bin one day after asking an orange apron in the lumber area itself. No charge, no problem at all.

The thing with big companies is that left hand #4,520 doesn’t often know what right hand #9,167 is doing. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad.

Thank you, to everyone who responded. I’m glad that there is an actual reason and not just because the cashier didn’t like my face!

I am surprised that they get a refund for the unused scraps of wood. That is bizarre.

Ohh, they scrape out every cent they can, believe me. We were absolutely FORBIDDEN from giving customers any cardboard, since it was all baled and sold (presumably by the pound). Say a customer bought a $1000 BBQ and paid extra to have it assembled. This would mean that the box that the BBQ came in is now gone or too small for the assembled unit. Now, he’d probably want a sheet of cardboard to keep the BBQ (and transporting vehicle) unscratched on the way home, right?

Too bad, pal. Sure you just dropped over a thousand bucks in the store, but that piece of cardboard that covered a lift of melamine sheets might be worth a third of a cent at the recyclers!

Being the bad ass that I am, I’d meet ‘em in the parking lot with SEVERAL big pieces of cardboard! Ooooooooh! Stickin’ to the man, man!:stuck_out_tongue:

At my local Home Depot, they have a bin where they sell bits and pieces of wood - like 25 cents or fifty cents apiece, depending on the spray paint mark on it. It’s a good deal if I need a short piece of 2x4 or 1x8 or whatever.

I’d echo that. Just the other day, I tried to buy a cull (as mentioned by bup), but it didn’t have the color coding on it, so the cashier wouldn’t sell it to me. Other times I’ve picked ends of wood out of the trash bin, and the cashier didn’t make any issue of my taking them. (My view is, if it’s in the trash, you’re doing them a tiny, tiny favor by not making them bear the cost of disposing of it.)

Oh yeah!! I had forgotten about that. The damn cart was always in the way when we were trying to bring a load of tile or wood flooring to the lumber door for loading.
In addition to them sucking every cent out of people for scrap, they even are supposed to charge a deposit on pallets.

So, you spend a few hundred dollars on tile, or wood flooring and pick it up all nicely palletized but the cashier is supposed to charge a deposit and you don’t get it back unless you bring the pallet back.

I’m sorry but when I sell someone over $1000 worth of flooring, I think they should get the pallet for free.

I work at a Sutherlands, a smaller chain than Lowe’s or Home Depot. Scrapwise, one of the lumber guys will write on a price and his initials. Then, as a cashier, I ring it up under the general “scrap” number.

That was how we handled carpet and shade scraps. Oh, and tiles. We got a lot of people making mosiac furniture and they’d take the scraps from tile we cut in-house.

I’ve gone to both places many times now and the first few times I asked a worker in the lumber Dept if I could have a couple of those 2x4s they use under the stacks of lumber when they stock the store. You know the ones that are about 46" long and have the center grooved out about 1"x about 1/4" deep. They told me no problem. When I get to the register, I tell them I got the OK and that they were scrap. Bingo bango no charge. I’ve used the pretreated ones to build the sides of my steps for my trailer, and others as legs for a work bench I made. Boy I hope this doesn’t change now that the cat is out of the bag.

As others have said, it depends.

I usually go with asking the person on the floor and if they are cool with it then I do not bother trying to ‘buy’ it.

A few years ago, I had a rental house that had hardwood floors (it was from the 60s). There was one piece of one board (about 3 inches wide and less than 6 inches long), that was missing when I bought the house. I found the perfect size piece in the scrap bin back in the flooring section and I asked the employee back there how much, he just looked at me and said “just take it”. It was the perfect size and I was willing to buy it to patch the hole, but as said, it was just scrap and most of the ones back there really don’t care (it does not change their compensation at all).

Depends on who you ask. I also have taken the stacking strips many times and no one said anything, especially if you are buying something that might need to be stacked. But one time I had several of them on my cart as I was loading up and the floor guy said they are not allowed to give away lumber because of liability, and he took them back.


On a similar subject, I went in to a local newsagent the other day with a friend who’d been fostering a bunch of cats (unexpectedly, and for a lot longer than she was intending…). We wanted newspapers to put under the extra litter trays, and asked if they had any yesterdays’ papers still hanging round in the back room.

Yes, they said, but we’d have to pay full price for them. :smack:

I was kind of peeved, I have to say. I was prepared to pay a nominal charge, but it seems dumb to charge ordinary-quality prices for no-longer-first-rate goods. IME that’s what they do in fabric stores, for instance - pieces under about 50cm aren’t given away free, but they’re heavily discounted. Because obviously they’re less useful, and far fewer people want to buy them.

The cat has not seen the inside of that bag for more than 8 years, so I think you’re safe.

Unless it has passed…& come back, as you know, a whaducallthosethings? Zebra? No, that’s not it. Zipper? No, not that, either. Aww, geez, what is that word?

The store doesn’t throw them away. Distributors take back unsold papers and magazines and give the store credit for them. This is the only way the store can pay the distributor for only the items it actually sold.