Home Depot Declines Fed’s Paperwork

Jun 19, 2002

Home Depot says a policy against sales to the federal government was meant to cut down on paperwork, not skirt U.S. anti-discrimination rules. The top home-improvement retailer faced questions when reports surfaced that it sent out a memo to its stores instructing them not to accept purchase orders, credit cards or cash from customers buying on behalf of the U.S. government, reports Reuters.

Home Depot Spokesman Jerry Shields says the memo was sent to the more than 1,300 stores the retailer operates in the United States and was a reiteration of a policy that has been in place since Home Depot was founded in 1978.

“Many companies try to take some steps to avoid becoming federal contractors by mistake,” says Lowell Peterson, a New York labor lawyer who represents unions. “But this is a retailer and the idea that the cashiers would even be able to screen out federal purchases is a little absurd.”

Moderator Comment: Is doing business with the federal
government more complicated than it is worth for retailers?

Having had experience with government contracts and bidding
processes in the past, all we can say is that we agree completely with Morrison
Cain, senior vice president and general counsel for the International Mass Retail
Association. He told Reuters, “I’ve never known retailers who given the
choice would be federal contractors.” [George
Anderson – Moderator

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