Home Depot manages to draw in a wide variety of customers. While your average home improvement shoppers might be looking for something as simple as paint or basic tools, the retailer has also managed to earn something of a cult following with novelty items like Skelly, its beloved 12-foot skeleton decoration. But these eclectic offerings may not be enough to keep all of Home Depot's customers coming back, as some shoppers are now threatening to boycott the company. Read on to find out what's driving this controversy.
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Home Depot is no stranger to backlash.
Home Depot has faced its fair share of controversy.
In Septembers, shoppers were upset to find more products locked up at the retailer's stores. Home Depot confirmed that it has been tracking high-risk goods and locking them up in the hardest hit areas to prevent retail theft while it works to test "more-customer-friendly, higher-tech solutions" to stop shoplifting.
The month before that, some customers started demanding that Home Depot stop selling invasive plants. According to a Change.org petition that now has nearly 70,000 signatures, Home Depot is selling at least 23 plants that are officially listed as invasive species in many states.
And in November, Home Depot was among several retailers who had to pull certain portable generators from stores. A recall was issued after 24 people lost their fingers because of a major safety problem with the product.
Now, the popular home improvement retailer is facing a different kind of controversy.
Shoppers are threatening to boycott.
Home Depot is back in hot water—and this time, customers are threatening to stop shopping at the retailer's stores altogether. Calls for a boycott against Home Depot have been growing on Twitter over the past few days due to a link between the company and the recent block against student debt relief, Newsweek first reported.
"I used to prefer @HomeDepot vs. @Lowes. No more Home Depot for me," one user tweeted on Nov. 27, amassing more than 350 likes. "I have one kid still in college and another going next year."
"Shop at Lowe's instead," John Anthony Castro, the CEO of AiTax.com, tweeted on Nov. 25, earning over 500 likes. Another user shared a similar sentiment on Nov. 27, tweeting out: "I'm taking my business to Lowe's. #BoycottHomeDepot."
Home Depot's co-founder is tied to a lawsuit against student debt relief.
Per CNBC, President Joe Biden announced his student loan forgiveness plan in Aug. 2022 but it has yet to come to fruition—largely because of two high-profile lawsuits. One of these suits is backed by the Job Creators Network Foundation, a conservative advocacy organization founded by Bernie Marcus, who is also the co-founder of Home Depot.
"Did you know that Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus's nonprofit 'Job Creators Network' is the Texas group behind stopping Biden's Student Debt Cancellation Bill?" a Twitter user posted on Nov. 23, spurring calls for the boycott. The tweet has garnered nearly 7,000 likes and more than 6,000 retweets.
On Nov. 10, a federal judge in Texas decided in favor of the Marcus-backed lawsuit—which was brought forth by two plaintiffs who weren't eligible for the full amount of student loan forgiveness—to block Biden's plan, calling it "unconstitutional," CNBC reported.
Following this decision, Job Creators Network Foundation founder Elaine Parker said, "The court has correctly ruled in favor of our motion and deemed the Biden student loan program illegal."
The company has distanced itself from its co-founder and his views.
As far as the company is concerned, however, there is no association between its co-founder and the retailer. A Home Depot spokesman told Best Life that Marcus was no longer involved with the company.
"Our co-founder left The Home Depot more than 20 years ago, and his views do not represent the company," the spokesman said in a statement.
Marcus retired from The Home Depot company in 2002, according to the Associated Press, and this is not the first time Home Depot has responded to similar backlash surrounding its co-founder's political contributions. Just last month, the retailer also faced calls for a boycott after Marcus contributed to a political action committee (PAC) of Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker.
"The company has not contributed to this campaign. The contribution was from our co-founder Bernie Marcus, who left The Home Depot more than 20 years ago," Home Depot's official Twitter account replied to a tweet about the Walker contribution.
In 2019, the company gave a similar response after Marcus pledged to back then-President Donald Trump's bid for re-election. "As a standard practice, the company does not endorse Presidential candidates," Home Depot spokeswoman Margaret Smith said in a statement to NPR.