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#1
Old 04-02-2010, 11:17 AM
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Can anyone tell the difference between Office Depot and Office Max?

The names are similar. They're both laid out basically the same. They stock the same stuff in each. They both have a red color pattern running through the store. Neither of them have a catch phrase or a branded slogan that readily jumps to mind.
There are multiple locations of each here in town and, for the life of me, I can't remember which one is which. Heck, even if I'm inside the very building I have a difficult time figuring it out. I even shop at both often enough to figure out that one sells cardboard boxes for 89 cents and the other sells the same ones for 1.99 but I can't remember which one does what!

I have to assume this is intentional on both companies' parts and I have no idea why they'd want to confuse their customers like that. There's simply no way I could walk into a McDonald's and be at all confused that I was in Wendy's or Burger King or even Taco Bell.

what the heck's going on here? Anyone else get these two confused?
#2
Old 04-02-2010, 12:01 PM
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I thought Office Max was yellow? Now, Staples is red. And I get all 3 confused all the time! I know there's an office store in this one plaza in Cuyahoga Falls...no idea which store it is, tho

Frankly, I get Home Depot and Lowes confused as well. Yes, one is orange and one is blue. But if I'm just walking up and down the aisles and I see something, I wouldn't be able to tell you later which store I was at unless I thought about it real hard.
#3
Old 04-02-2010, 12:04 PM
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To me they are interchangeable and I love office supplies. O how I love them.
#4
Old 04-02-2010, 12:15 PM
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I just call it Office Whatever or Office Thingie.
#5
Old 04-02-2010, 06:21 PM
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I'll out myself and say that I work for one of those two in the corporate office and this is a common complaint. We have people who, when approached for a customer survey on the way out of the store, can't say which store they just left. We have customers that write checks out to our competitor while standing in our store. We once got a cute letter from a child asking us to sell one of our recently closed stores to ESPN so they could put a store there - aside from the obvious, the main problem was that the closed store was actually one of our competitor's stores.

Really, I can name a million differences but that's because I'm in the middle of the storm. For the average consumer, there's really very little difference.

Oh, and no, it's not intentional to confuse customers. We really do try to differentiate ourselves, but it's a lot harder than it sounds. People just don't pay attention.

Last edited by interface2x; 04-02-2010 at 06:22 PM. Reason: added a thought
#6
Old 04-02-2010, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
Oh, and no, it's not intentional to confuse customers. We really do try to differentiate ourselves, but it's a lot harder than it sounds. People just don't pay attention.
As a customer I can say I don't pay attention because I usually don't really care which of the two stores I'm walking into. Office Depot & Office Max sound similar and sell such similar products they could be the same company for all I care.

But if your name is totally different, like Staples, then it is stands out better. I still don't necessarily care if I'm walking into a Staples or an Office Whatever - but the store name registers in my subconscience better.
#7
Old 04-02-2010, 07:04 PM
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I always confuse Office Depot and Office Max. I just say take me to Office whatever it is two blocks away.
#8
Old 04-02-2010, 07:36 PM
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May I suggest one of them choose blue?
#9
Old 04-02-2010, 07:37 PM
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For some reason the only place around here that seems to stock the particular style of little pocket day planner I like is Office Max. I suppose all the kids these days are using some kind of electronic gizmo instead of a little black book with pages made out of paper.
#10
Old 04-02-2010, 07:52 PM
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We only have Office Depot around here. The Office Maxes closed a few years ago. Staples is across the highway from the Office Depot I go to and more expensive. Found that out when I went to Staples after OD once didn't have all the inks for my stupid printer which takes 6 color cartridges.
#11
Old 04-04-2010, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
Really, I can name a million differences but that's because I'm in the middle of the storm. For the average consumer, there's really very little difference.
Can you name a few, in the interest of ignorance fighting?
#12
Old 04-04-2010, 11:46 AM
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To me the difference is very clear: Office Depot has very little variety of product, and Office Max has clueless help & difficult POS systems that take 10 minutes to check out a 2-item order.
#13
Old 04-04-2010, 11:47 AM
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No wait, I think I got that backwards ...


Or did I?


Hmmm.
#14
Old 04-04-2010, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by This_Just_In... View Post
As a customer I can say I don't pay attention because I usually don't really care which of the two stores I'm walking into. Office Depot & Office Max sound similar and sell such similar products they could be the same company for all I care.

But if your name is totally different, like Staples, then it is stands out better. I still don't necessarily care if I'm walking into a Staples or an Office Whatever - but the store name registers in my subconscience better.
Staples also has an awesome gimmick with their Easy buttons that you can buy (or, if you prefer, the facil button)
#15
Old 04-05-2010, 12:33 AM
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I don't think we have Office Max around here, but I don't really bother to differentiate between Staples and Office Depot. They are similar enough that it doesn't matter to me.
#16
Old 04-05-2010, 02:09 PM
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I do know that Office Max carries the brand of pens that I like to use (TUL). But apart from that, if I were standing inside one, I couldn't tell you which store I was in.
#17
Old 04-05-2010, 08:33 PM
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Here Office Max is in the same shopping center as our grocery, while Office Depot is far away, near where Costco used to be, in the land of the furniture stores. Our local version was bigger and more warehousy than Office Max. Staples moved to the new cclassy shopping center though I must confess that I thought Office Depot was there until I went there to buy a Christmas present.
#18
Old 04-05-2010, 09:56 PM
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I use both to check out products. Then I go online and buy the product from Amazon or someplace else because it's cheaper. I will buy from one of the stores if they are having a special price for something I've had my eye on for a while, providing it's cheaper than online.

And I never buy from one of these stores. I've caught them out a couple of time with bait and switch tactics, or hidden surcharges, and despite confronting the store manager, they don't give a damn.
#19
Old 04-05-2010, 10:00 PM
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I don't frequent any of the stores, but Staples is pretty cool because their name is on the stadium of my favorite basketball team, the Lakers (as well as the Clippers junior varsity team).
#20
Old 04-05-2010, 10:15 PM
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It is actually very easy to tell them apart.

Office Max is the one that made getting a rebate a huge hassle that was not resolved until I sent a letter to my state's Attorney General.

Office Depot is the one that sends me a coupon for $15 dollars off a $50 purchase or some such thing every month, but then in the fine print excludes anything that I might actually want to buy.

I hope this makes it easy for everyone to remember which is which.
#21
Old 04-05-2010, 10:18 PM
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Office Depot has a lot of blue, and exists here in town, while Office Max does not. We don't even have a Staples, I don't think.
#22
Old 04-06-2010, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by wellanuff View Post
Office Max is the one that made getting a rebate a huge hassle that was not resolved until I sent a letter to my state's Attorney General.
Actually, two years ago, OfficeMax did away with mail-in rebates altogether and made them all instant. The $15 off $50 coupon is pretty standard in the industry but should only exclude the really low margin items that we take a bath on even before discounts.

The biggest differences have been noted here already - different private label brands (my chain has upwards of 50 brands that are owned by our company), store designs, marketing tactics and the like. It's hard to judge based on logos as it varies from location to location (a problem in and of itself) - in some places the logos are red, some places blue, some places yellow. Depends on what year the store opened. My chain has also worked hard to target a particular consumer in the past year or so - the recession hasn't been helping at all so hopefully over time we might be able to see some positive results from that.

But, as noted above, it's hard to get people to notice the difference because most people just don't care. If it sells supplies, good enough. I was the same before I worked here so I can't really complain.
#23
Old 04-06-2010, 09:45 AM
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I got my laptop from Staples, so I remember them, but no, I can't tell OD and OM apart at all.
#24
Old 04-06-2010, 10:15 AM
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Office Depot is in Canada; Office Max is not. Clear?
#25
Old 04-06-2010, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv2draw View Post
We only have Office Depot around here. The Office Maxes closed a few years ago. Staples is across the highway from the Office Depot I go to and more expensive. Found that out when I went to Staples after OD once didn't have all the inks for my stupid printer which takes 6 color cartridges.
We only have Office Max around here. The Office Depots closed a few years ago. However, all the office supplies we order through our corporate ordering are shipped from Office Depot. So in my mind, one has stores and the other has only a catalog.
#26
Old 04-06-2010, 10:46 AM
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I could tell you the exact locations of the closest dozen office supply stores.
But there's no way I could tell you which ones were Depot vs. Max vs. Staples.
#27
Old 04-06-2010, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
My chain has also worked hard to target a particular consumer in the past year or so - the recession hasn't been helping at all so hopefully over time we might be able to see some positive results from that.
What's his name?
#28
Old 04-06-2010, 02:01 PM
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Its kind of like the situation with the soft-goods home supplies stores. I could never tell the difference between bed bath and beyond/linens n things/strouds,etc. I just called them “Sheets n Shit” and went with whatever was having the sales coupons in the Sunday newspaper that week..
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#29
Old 04-06-2010, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by kittenblue View Post
We only have Office Max around here. The Office Depots closed a few years ago. However, all the office supplies we order through our corporate ordering are shipped from Office Depot. So in my mind, one has stores and the other has only a catalog.
All three (Depot, Max, and Staples) have catalog businesses. Staples bought out Corporate Express a couple of years back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
Office Depot is in Canada; Office Max is not. Clear?
Yes, they are, they're called Grand & Toy up there

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbetter View Post
What's his name?
I can't say, but I can tell you that we do have a first name for this target consumer.

Last edited by interface2x; 04-06-2010 at 07:12 PM. Reason: added a reply
#30
Old 04-07-2010, 04:14 AM
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Tony Stewart drives the Number 14 Office Depot Chevrolet. Remember in NASCAR, it's not if you win or finish 43rd, it's how often you can plug the sponsor when being interviewed,
#31
Old 04-07-2010, 10:10 AM
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Holy crap, I can honestly say that until this thread, I never realized that they were two different stores. It just never clicked for some reason. I think I only got as far as the "Office" part of the name and never bothered registering the rest. Wow. The next Sherlock Holmes I clearly am not.
#32
Old 04-07-2010, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
Yes, they are, they're called Grand & Toy up there
:: reads G&T site ::
Apparently both Office Max in the US and Grand and Toy in Canada are owned by Boise Cascade. I did not know this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiobottle View Post
Holy crap, I can honestly say that until this thread, I never realized that they were two different stores. It just never clicked for some reason. I think I only got as far as the "Office" part of the name and never bothered registering the rest. Wow. The next Sherlock Holmes I clearly am not.
It's worse for me. I often get "Office Depot" and "Home Depot" confused, especially when considering a home office.

Last edited by Sunspace; 04-07-2010 at 12:50 PM.
#33
Old 04-07-2010, 01:23 PM
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And to add to the fun is the thought that Staples reached a deal to buy Office Depot in the 1990s, but the FTC rejected the proposed merger. The combined company would have been called "Staples the Office Depot", opening up all sorts of room for comedians.
#34
Old 04-07-2010, 10:31 PM
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So, after following this discussion for a few days, I am told by my fiance that we need to go to Office Max to pick up wedding invitations. We hop in the car, drive the 10-15 minutes from the apartment to the Office Max we go to all the time, and as we near it, I ask her...

"Honey?"

"Yeah?"

"Were those invitations that you wanted at Office Max or Office Depot?"

"... Office Max. Why?"

"The Office Max we always go to is an Office Depot."

"Oh. Let's go in anyways."
#35
Old 04-07-2010, 11:47 PM
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In my experience, the employees of Office Depot are helpful reasonable people. I stopped shopping at Office Max after finding their employees to be lying lazy jerks one too many times.
#36
Old 04-08-2010, 11:09 AM
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We used to have one of each, across the street from one another. One closed. I have no idea which.

Oh, and one sold me a pretty good flat screen TV at a great price and one sold me a shitty office chair that had to be "repaired" with duct tape maybe 15 months after purchase because the leather was already coming apart from normal use.
#37
Old 04-08-2010, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
Oh, and no, it's not intentional to confuse customers. We really do try to differentiate ourselves, but it's a lot harder than it sounds. People just don't pay attention.
While this may be true, I could easily say that the creators of the 2nd one to exist weren't paying attention, picking a store name so similar to one that was already around.

Apparently someone came up with a way to tell the two apart.
#38
Old 04-08-2010, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by President Johnny Gentle View Post
And to add to the fun is the thought that Staples reached a deal to buy Office Depot in the 1990s, but the FTC rejected the proposed merger. The combined company would have been called "Staples the Office Depot", opening up all sorts of room for comedians.
If Staples was going to rename Office Depot I would have imagined they'd choose the name 'Staplers'.
#39
Old 04-11-2010, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
All three (Depot, Max, and Staples) have catalog businesses. Staples bought out Corporate Express a couple of years back.
Corporate Express being mostly focused on the international market, Staples does most of its U.S. catalog business through Quill, a super-scummy front corporation that sends poor kids recruited through pyramid schemes to show up unannounced at businesses and try to pitch office supplies. I can only imagine a world where the OfficeWhatevers finally merge their businesses and take down the big shitbags at Staples and their strategy of drumming up accounts by breaking employment and solicitation laws.
#40
Old 04-11-2010, 07:52 PM
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A few years ago, I worked in a retail store behind which a huge Office Max store was built. It closed in a fairly short amount of time, most likely due to the fact that there's a long-standing Staples across the street. A friend of mine from work was outside one day when a guy drove up and asked her what used to occupy the Office Max space. She told him, and he told her that he was from Office Depot, scouting locations. She commented on how it probably wasn't ideal, as Max had recently gone out of business there. Guess what was put in and closed down again within a year...
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