Last weekend I was at the Menards store on Clyborn Ave in the lincoln park area of Chicago and requested to have a Key copied. Apparently they discontinued the manual key cutting machine and replaced it with an "automatic" vending machine.

I asked a middle age employee named Bob in the lock area regarding the new machine. He told me you either deposit the exact amount of cash into the slot or insert a credit card and the key is cut automatically. I then noticed a sign stating receipts are either e mailed or texted to your phone. I asked how do i get a printed receipt for the purchase and he said its not an option.

I then asked what if they key does not work and he says you call the phone number and they handle the situation. I stated it sounds like menards is basically trying to pass the buck if keys don't work to the vendor and cut back on employees labor at the store. He then proceeded to continue stocking shelves instead of continuing to provide customer service. I asked then how do I go about getting change for the machine if I want 2 key cut at $2 a piece and don't have 4 $1.00 bills on me since the machine does not give change and was advised to go to the front desk.

I approached the cashier for change for the key machine and she says sorry sir we don't give taxi or meter parking without a purchase. I said I need it for your key machine that does not provide change. She then rings a bell and waits for a supervisor to come over to authorize exchanging a $5.00 bill for singles. The manager gives me some goofy look asking why i need change without a purchase and yet again explain for the *** key machine.

She says why don't you use a credit card and I say as a customer of your business I desire to pay with cash if I have your authorization to do so. She exchanges the money slamming the singles on the counter without even counting them out to me and she walks away. I then return to the key machine and go though the 5 step process for each key to be cut. Guess what the garage key was cut on the completely wrong blank and the 2nd key for the house was cut 1/16" out of alignment compared to the original key.

I returned to Bob to explain my concern and frustration over this "easy to use" machine, and he insisted both key were perfectly fine even though even Stevie Wonder could see the blank was wrong for one key and improper alignment for the 2nd key. I returned home and neither key worked as I suspected. A couple days later i returned to menards to inquire about getting keys recut or refund. I explained I had keys cut and neither one worked.

The return desk clerk replies in an firm angry tone "do you have a receipt" to which I reply "your new key machine doesn't print receipts" using the same tone of voice she did. I tell her the only option is to have the receipt e mailed or texted and not printed which i felt was extremely unprofessional of the company. I attempted to show her the text message "receipt" and she says its against company policy for store employees to have any form of contact with a customers cell phone. Another employee comes over and explains the store can not recut the keys or reimburse me I need to contact a 1-800 phone number to be reimbursed.

Then he says "its only $4.00 anyways whats the big deal" I reply if $4.00 was randomly taken out of your paycheck or wallet would you care? And also told him what about the other customers who had defective keys made to which i got no reply. I then tell him so far I spent over an hour f@arting around with your store trying to get 2 keys cut neither of which work and your advice is for me to call a phone number? The employee walks away and proceeds to the organize the end of an Aisle display.

As a proceed to leave the store a cashier asked if I found what i was looking for I replied it appears your store no longer stocks "customer service".

I then call the toll free number and connected to some overseas person who barley speaks english and give him my information to have a $4.00 check mailed to me which has not arrived yet. Menards needs to quit trying to minimize customer service by getting rid of these piece of junk key machines and bring back the manual key cutting machines which the employees can recut if needed.

Monetary Loss: $4.

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You were confrontational with several employees over something that is not their decision, not under their control, and not something Bob can really help you with. You're upset that he kept stocking shelves instead of standing there taking your abuse?

Taking your abuse is not "giving customer service." I've made several keys in the key kiosk (enough to know now from experience that you only make 1 and they'll offer you a second at a lower price, hint, hint!). None of my keys have ever caused me any trouble, yet you complained *before* you took yours home and tried them (and, of course, they didn't work--which again HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BOB!!!) It's not something he can help you. You pay, the slot opens, you stick your key in and hold it. It copies and drops in the bin.

Yay, you're done. I don't like the machine either, but it's convenient if I'm there.

If I'm not looking for convenience, I love the service over at Ace. They've always been good to me.


I need 2 keys cut. Looks like I will not be going to Menards, as they pretty much suck at everything, and I will definitely stay away from MinuteKey.

Cary, Illinois, United States #1327817

I had a huge issue with MinuteKey as well. I was leaving to go on a trip and last minute stopped at the MinuteKey kiosk near me and had it duplicated.

On my way to the airport I had dropped a key off to a friend who was watching my house and cat. He called me that night when I was states away and said the key did not work. I told him to keep trying and see if a window was unlocked by chance to climb in. Long story short it was below freezing out and he tried getting in and could not so I told him he had to break a window otherwise my cat would starve.

So he broke the window (not the glass but forced it past the lock since he's super strong). I tried to contact MinuteKey to tell them of the situation and they held absolutely no responsibility for their machine producing faulty keys. They told me they would refund me for the key (big whoop) after over a week of emailing back and fourth. I asked them if they would do something for my window that I had to have replaced when I was away and they said that they would look into the kiosk and get back to me.

I emailed them again and received no response for a few more days. Then finally they asked for me to send them the reciept for the window (which costed over $100 + the cost for the handyman to come out to replace) and the handyman never left me a reciept as I had requested for one. So I had contacted the handyman and he had lost the reciept for the window (since it took over a month for the process). Instead of trying to work out this problem I had that all began from the key not working which caused this series of unfortunate events, MinuteKey basically told me to ***.

I was never even refunded for the whopping key and I will never use that kiosk again.

They developed a system where nobody can be held responsible for anything. Downfall of corporate America

Toledo, Ohio, United States #1318693

Exact story for me but nicer clerk . Happened at Lowes in toledo.

Key blank was incorrect so their key would not even go in the lock.

100 percent guarantee? they make getting your money back extremely inconvenient

Berea, Ohio, United States #1267586

I'm a realtor and I absolutely prefer to use these machines as I have Never got a bad one!

It's a machine and it was new (looking at your posting date) It probably needed some bugs worked out.

I'd hate to see what happens when something "really" bad happens around you. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near you


Louisville, Kentucky, United States #1257273

Talk more about the quality of the key. And less about how much you like to complain.


You are an ***


I love those machines. I have lots of keys made for rental properties & never have had a challenge.

To me its much quicker way to get it done.

Oh how I miss Menard's here in AZ. Thank god I still go to WI enough!


ba hah just shop at home depot or if you need money email me gary@knbr.com or i now a guy in hodd whipo can do it.


stop crying dude....email the receipt and print it at home..it aint a big deal......grown men whining....SMH

Omaha, Nebraska, United States #1045010

I have used the Menard machine a couple times. It worked just fine.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States #1029935

Had a similar experience with the MinuteKey machine at Menards in St. Paul, MN.

I asked an employee if he thought the machine could make my key. He said to "give it a try". I asked if Menards would give me a refund if it didn't work. He said they would if I gave them the receipt (which has to be emailed or texted to you).

What happened next was insane. First, I accidentally asked for two keys instead of one. Before pressing the "start" button (or whatever it was called), I asked the employee how I could go back a page, or cancel? (Like editing your cart when shopping on line).

While talking to the employee, the screen offering a receipt by email or text came and went--without any input from me. Apparently it times-out after a bit and assumes you don't want a receipt and starts making the key anyway. "Fine" I said "probably better to get two keys anyway." When they were done, it was obvious that the blank the machine chose wasn't even close to the original. The employee then told me to call the 800 number on the machine.

I said "you're kidding, right?" "We don't have anything to do with the machines and can't give you a refund". "Seriously?!" I said. "You helped me do this!" I asked for a manager and was referred to the millwork manager. He actually seemed delighted to tell me that they wouldn't give me a refund and I needed to call MinuteKey's customer service.

What about being "Dedicated to Service and Quality"? He then pointed to the Coke machine and said "we don't own that--it's not our responsibility." "Seriously???" I said again. "If that Coke machine ate your money, would you call Coca Cola customer service or ask a cashier for a refund?” Finally I was referred to the store manager who reluctantly agreed to the refund--which was handled by another employee who parroted the same "we have nothing to do with the key machine" line—which by now I realized must have come down from corporate. Great customer service, Menards.

You put a money-making machine in prime retail space, have a store employee help me feed it money, and then say you have nothing to do with it? Seriously?


Following directions is something taught in elementary school. If you can't put on big boy pants and use self service machines you should probably get your keys cut where someone can hold your hand the whole time so we don't have to read your wah-wah.

to Anonymous Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States #959435

If you read the complaint thoroughly as described you would realize the customer was fully competent to function independently and handled the situation professionally considering the store was staffed by less the professional people. The issue the gentleman had is when the automatic machine malfunctioned the store only provided excuses and passing the buck to some overseas vendor resulting in a monetary loss for the customer only left with 2 useless defective products.

Also unable to receive printed receipt documenting the transaction occurred is another big issue for most consumers.

Perhaps you are right anyone who wants a key duplicated properly should go to a store that actually cares about customer service instead of making irrelevant excuses and then walk away from a customer who's frustrated to instead pretend to organize products on a store shelf when they are unable to satisfy a frustrated and disappointed customer.

Its a genuine shame both the ace hardware and true value both went under as a direct result of menards building a store a few blocks away.

The store might be the size of texas but the attitude and knowledge of the staff is absolute zero

to educated customer #1257349

Lets face it, cutting keys is time consuming for the employees of any store. In the case of a big box store with fewer employees per square foot would you rather have them tied up cutting keys or available to help customers find products they are looking for and helping with purchases of larger products?

The machine is a faster way for consumers who can follow instruction to cut their keys than finding an employee to cut them. As a big box retailer the machine is an alternative to getting rid of key cutting totally.

If you don't like the idea of following the instructions on the machine to cut your keys simply take your key to a small hardware store or locksmith. Don't tie up busy store employees with your complaints about a machine they have no control over.

Hodgkins, Illinois, United States #893534

I have been waiting since September 11, 2014 for my $10.00 refund.

Have called 4 times the last being today October 31,2014 and I have a receipt. I paid cash as the key machine is in a area that is hidden and anybody could put a card scanner in it.

The five keys are too thick and won't even fit in lock.

This machine is at Menards in Hodgkins IL 60525 Kiosk:5058

Talked to a Douglas today at minute key promised to call me back.

I spend a lot of money at Menards if I don't hear back il take my problem directly to Menards. Might have to switch to Home Depot.

Chicago, Illinois, United States #868660

It is not Bob's fault that the machine is there to replace their key-cutting duties or jobs. Nor is it his fault that the machine did a bad job or that menard's has certain policies that they have to follow as all of us do at our job regardless of how *** these policies are.

unfortunately, having a machine that is not owned or operated on site can be frustrating when something goes wrong, it is not the employees fault.

having worked retail, it sometimes ends up being frustrating or laughing matter (depending on the day) when people fail to use their common sense or do a little research before yelling and screaming. just remember, there are still a few locksmiths around and even they (or the machines they use) can make mistakes.

Chicago, Illinois, United States #853453

THANK YOU for showing I'm not the only one. This machine is a piece of ***.

I'm 0-for-2 with it. The first time, I got 2 keys made which were cut wrong & don't work. But I paid with cash & this *** machine won't print a receipt. Then yesterday I went to get a new key copied as well as return the defective ones.

Obviously no one at the store was helpful since I have to call the number posted. But then on top of it the new key I wanted copied, the machine printed & charged me for 2!! Wtf. This Minutekey is a horrible company.

Not only does the machine charge you more than before, but it takes away a human's job.

Like this guy said, you have to pay separate, and then when there's a problem I have to call some random number, spend 15 minutes on the phone, & now wait on a check in the mail. This thing is a joke.


THANK YOU for showing I'm not the only one. This machine is a piece of ***.

I'm 0-for-2 with it. The first time, I got 2 keys made which were cut wrong & don't work. But I paid with cash & this *** machine won't print a receipt. Then yesterday I went to get a new key copied as well as return the defective ones.

Obviously no one at the store was helpful since I have to call the number posted. But then on top of it the new key I wanted copied, the machine printed & charged me for 2!! Wtf. This Minutekey is a horrible company.

Not only does the machine charge you more than before, but it takes away a human's job.

Like this guy said, you have to pay separate, and then when there's a problem I have to call some random number, spend 15 minutes on the phone, & now wait on a check in the mail. This thing is a joke.


You're angry at the wrong people. The people working in the store can do nothing for you, and getting angry with them will only get you anger in return.

Matter of fact most Menards employees hate this new machine because all that it's good for is getting yelled at by people like yourself. This is what corporate decided was best for the store.

Menards makes more money from renting out the space for the key machine and by reallocating team members to selling more expensive things. Next time you go to any big box store realize the people working at the store have little say on what happens in the store and treat them the way you want to be treated, I bet you get an overall better experience.

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