Home Depot’s Home Invasion

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

150px-thehomedepotsvgIt only took a few minutes for Home Depot to tell the world I visited its website. Now, my home computer reminds me of the mistake I made in providing Home Depot the chance to earn my business. I went to look at one of their products and got spammed as a result. It is truly a sign of disrespect Home Depot shows its customers for walking into its digital doors. Well, I can now add Home Depot to my list of “Fired Corporations Replaced By Small Businesses.”

It seems that window shopping is best left to actual windows instead of Microsoft Windows.


My beef with Home Depot started when I needed to buy a Water Bath Canner, a large 21 quart pot used to boil mason jars for food preservation. I thought I had one around the house but couldn’t find it. A few days ago I bought about 150 pounds of tomatoes, pears, and apples from the Mennonite grocery store nearby to can for the winter. I didn’t see a water canner there so I thought I would look at Home Depot’s website–they have a store nearby–and enquire if they had one. I used their search option with the words “canning pots” and a page popped up with several pressure canners. I clicked on one, read what it had to offer, and decided to pass.

I needed to move onto other things and about two or three minutes later I decided to catch up on today’s news. I opened the website for a major news source and immediately I was handed the first “Thank you” for considering Home Depot; a banner ad wanting to sell me pressure cookers from Home Depot. Then came a second and a third in a row from other major websites. All I could do was roll my eyes in dismay. I probably should have known better than to visit without an anonymous web-client, but I didn’t suspect Home Depot would sink low enough to resort to web spamming–much less selling/providing my information to third parties–I thought it would be o.k.

I really do not think Yahoo News and CNN need to know that I visited Home Depot to buy a pot. It makes me wonder what other information Home Depot is willing to hand out so readily. Luckily for me I did not visit the FBI’s website after Home Depot’s showing I am interested in Pressure Cookers.

Previously, I wrote how I fired my corporate pharmacy and returned to the Mom & Pop pharmacy in town. I should have taken my own advice for Home Depot.

Perhaps the Mennonites down the road will have one for sale. It’s now Sunday so I will probably have to wait an extra day. Oh well, at least I know with certainty I won’t see an ad for canning pots in the program card for the United Methodist Church when I attend service next Sunday.

Yeah, I am sure that Home Depot can articulate that buried two pages below within the fine print of their “privacy statement warning” they can claim that I consented to this by visiting their site. Or, that they did not violate the terms of this so called agreement.

Well, here is my privacy statement: Goodbye.

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

58 thoughts on “Home Depot’s Home Invasion”

  1. Darren, if you are using Windows 10, then you may like to know that Windows 10 by default assigns you an Advertising ID. This is shared with other advertisers so they know what ads to put up in front of you. Windows 10 also shares your WIFI passwords with everybody in your contacts and with all your facebook friends so they don’t have to ask you for your wifi password when they visit you. If you have upgraded to Windows 10 and you don’t like what you experienced with Home Depot, then there are several Windows 10 settings that you would probably want to change. The following article might help you with that:


    Here’s an article that makes Windows 10 sound very scary in terms of loss of privacy:


    Cortana is a sexy spy in the machine
    Turn on Cortana, the virtual assistant, and you’re also turning on a whole host of data sharing:

    To enable Cortana to provide personalized experiences and relevant suggestions, Microsoft collects and uses various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device.

    Cortana also learns about you by collecting data about how you use your device and other Microsoft services, such as your music, alarm settings, whether the lock screen is on, what you view and purchase, your browse and Bing search history, and more.


  2. You should be much more worried about Home Depot’s inability to protect your valuable data and not some perceived slight against you via digital advertising.


    This was more than one year ago, and I’m still reeling from all of the automatic payment scenarios I had attached to the credit card which was stolen from Home Depot by hackers. Home Depot does very little to protect your data and is one of many reasons, including some of the dirtiest stores and poorest service around, to avoid it like the plague. Hope Depot offered absolutely no assistance to anyone whose cards were caught up in the breach other than a feckless “we’re sorry” email. Glad I’ve got a mom & pop Ace Hardware store nearby.

  3. Tyger–it’s not merely that advertising per se is annoying–though it certainly is. So you post your ads. But then, additionally, we are spied on, “tracked,” further monetized and exponentially data-mined. Is the whole purpose of the internet to make money? I guess it is. Requests and mechanisms for privacy don’t work that well against the Goliath that is advertising and information-gathering. I just want to use the internet, without having to learn how to be a super secret under-the-radar stealth user. I’m using settings for privacy, adblock, protonmail. But it’s all incomplete. Why do advertisers’ right to make money supersede my rights? I’m not making money off every click YOU make. I guess I should figure out a way to. This model is obnoxious: that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. No, I’m not grateful for what steps I am “allowed” to take by the industry.

  4. I don’t understand what the fuss is about. Capitalists should be willing to sacrifice their privacy to those heroic corporations.

  5. Jack, I’m working for MY side. I quit the ad agency business decades ago. I’m running my own network of travel-oriented websites now. I’m an online publisher, and it’s to my benefit to know how digital advertising works, both from a consumer perspective and the publisher’s perspective. Since I have some “inside information” due to my IAB membership, I thought I would share it with everyone on this blog for whatever benefit that might provide.

    In a perfect world, advertising wouldn’t annoy people and those who promote their products and services with ads and otherwise depend upon advertising for their living would be able to make a reasonable profit without having laws and regulations limiting what they can do. Consumers would be able to indicate in one place that they do not want to see advertising and it would magically stop being shown to them. It isn’t a perfect world, however. I suggest that if current advertising practices bother you, that you use what means actually are in place for you to express your preferences and be happy that much exists. Even with some sort of near-perfect solution that all the major advertisers and networks adhere to, there will always be the amateurs or outlaws in the industry that will persist in annoying you and make money doing so. That’s Life, unfortunately. You might also consider not annoying yourself with unrealistic expectations.

  6. About 7 years ago I inquired about going back to college. I have since completed two bachelor degrees and a master’s. I am still occasionally getting ads about degree programs from colleges I never inquired about, although it’s rare today.

  7. The main owner of Home Depot is a far right wing crackpot who claimed it was the end of the world because of Obama’s reelection and ACA…Try shopping at your own local hardware store next time and stop the corporate feeding off the public………….

  8. Darren
    Yo aren’t being a good capitalist by failing to accept HomeDepot’s cookies…

  9. Darren, what web browser are you using? It would help if we knew.

    Home Depot is just doing standard business advertising on the web. There is nothing nefarious about it. It is not spam. What you experienced is likely a result of your web browser privacy settings and can be changed with a click or two of your mouse. When a web browser is installed, it prompts you to set your privacy settings, but many people don’t know what it is talking about and do not take the time to set them according to their personal preferences. One setting tells the browser whether to track the sites that you have visited. Most likely you have that privacy setting set to allow your browser to share information about what sites you have been visiting. Google, Facebook, and other sites earn money by targeting advertising to people like you. They want to present ads that you might be interested in rather than random ads which you have no interest in. That’s why on YouTube you often get an option to skip an ad after seeing the first part of it.

    Personally, I prefer ads that reflect what I am interested in, so the targeting does not bother me. But then again, I understand how it all works and the reasons behind it. I also tend to be a very transparent person.

    If you want to safeguard your privacy, you might check out this CNET article for more info about being tracked while shopping:

    Five ways to avoid being tracked on the Web

  10. Tyger Gilbert, you’re working for the dark side. The burden is on consumers to do their research, waste time on this stuff etc., when they should just be able (like “do not track” on Firefox, which means nothing to corporations) to, from a CENTRAL “location,” opt out of this stuff.

    1. “If your going to write for a top blog it’s your obligation to know how the most common form of web advertising works.”

      Sour grapes retort.

      Nobody has to learn the details of wiring harness, voltage regulator, starter motor, flywheel before they go to the auto repair man to complain ‘it won’t start’.

      Do we have to learn the rules of engagement for LE before we raise the issue of excessive force?

      Part of the role of a blog like this is to surface issues and situations that are of concern to citizens. Once the behavior causing concern is clearly understood we can then determine the techniques that facilitate the behavior.

      The description of the problem certainly matches to ordinary meaning of ‘tracking’.

      Even the Home Depot web site uses the term ‘tracking’ to describe what they do.

      When you consider the millions of people who have registered irritation about having their activity on the internet ‘tracked’, my guess that no one is going to stop using the term any time soon.

      But it is revealing to see some one who thinks they can deflect criticism by resorting to technical one-upsmanship.

      This person is not claiming the phenomenon does not occur. He does not claim this is a good thing. The sum total of his remarks are that you don’t have a right to complain because you have not used the right term (by his standard) to describe it. What utter nonsense.

  11. LOL! The problem is, even though I know it is coming, it still bothers me. If I’m not alone, I have to warn folks in my house. I have had telemarketers call me right back to give me an earful, and I just hit the mofo’s again. They’re not very bright.

  12. Thank you Tyger, I’ll definitely take advantage of your links. I get the same think Darren wrote about on several shopping sites I have visited and Amazon is one.

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