As the coronavirus swept the world over and the pandemic really started hitting home, rare phrases like "curbside service" became customer service standard throughout every industry. Some pharmacies have done it forever, drive-in eateries of course, but beyond that, I can't place curbside service really anywhere else. It's something really reborn out of the ashes of a global pandemic, and everybody hopped on board.

Side-bar, why anybody would order their steak to-go from a curbside something or other is beyond me... How are you going to pay a premium for something so prime if you're just gonna have to microwave anyway? That is just crazy. You might as well order fajitas and find a way to make them sizzle at home. It's just not the same.

Back on track, Home Depot adopted the curbside service very early in the pandemic. Mid-March, right after Spring Break is when I first used it. The 'rona had just made a huge splash in  America, the government borrowed money from us to give back to us, our own elected city officials went drunk with tyrannical power, and for some reason, as more and more people "worked" from home, the home improvement warehouses in town suddenly ran out of parking spaces. Honestly, you couldn't squeeze any more traffic into those lots.

Another side-bar, and I know it's a 50/50 unpopular opinion, but Home Depot is better Lowe's. Home Depot is where builders and handy-people get the stuff they need. Lowe's is where amateurs walk around aimlessly hoping to find the confidence to start a project, waiting for someone to guide them through a project with probably bad advice. I don't know how true that opinion is, but it's mine and I feel it to my core. Maybe it's how helpful the Lowe's associates are... always asking if I need help finding something and junk. I'd rather be ignored and left to my own devices, hence, I prefer Home Depot.

So there are a few different options for pickup at Home Depot. As stated, you can pull into a designated parking area and have your stuff brought out to you. You can also go into the store to customer service and pick your wares up there. All the same, you can also shop normally and just go get what you need and leave... So which one is quicker?

Here's the convoluted answer...

It really depends on what your buying. If you're buying a huge amount of stuff, it's quicker to just have it brought out to you curbside. In other words, it saves you the time of walking around gathering everything on your mental list and waiting in line to get back to work. All the same, do you really want someone else picking out your lumber for you? The home improvement warehouses have never had a real good reputation for good wood, so why risk getting the worst of it because some employee sees you need thirty-seven 2x4's instead of what you actually need... thirty-seven straight 2x4's... But I digress, if you're buying stuff in bulk, it's much quicker to order it online and have them bring it out to you in the parking lot.

But what about just needing one or two little things? Well, it's actually quicker to just go in, grab it off the shelf, and check yourself out. To tell you the truth, when you reserve stuff online for pickup, it more than likely gets gathered, labeled, then placed in an area of reserve. So, no matter how much stuff you have on order, it's going to take the same amount of time to bring out your goods whether it's a single toolbox or a pallet of crooked lumber.

So, if you want to paint by numbers, odds are, unless you're picking up a ton of stuff, it's easier and quicker to just walk in and grab what you need. At least the self-checkouts are usually empty enough you don't have to wait to give them more of your money.