METHUEN, Massachusetts (AP) -- Home Depot Inc. apologized to a carpenter who was banned by the chain worldwide after he absent-mindedly pocketed a pencil he had used up to do some quick math.
Michael Panorelli, 51, of Lawrence, was accused of shoplifting from the Methuen, Massachusetts store last Thursday and banned from Home Depots.
Panorelli was with a client and had just bought some lumber when the client picked up the pencil sitting next to a cash register for Panorelli to use. Panorelli pocketed the pencil and was met in the parking lot by a worker who asked for identification.
The worker presented Panorelli with one letter saying he was banned from Home Depot, and another advising that he would be hearing from the company's lawyers.
Panorelli took his story to the Eagle-Tribune newspaper in Lawrence, which published it over the weekend.
On Sunday Atlanta-based Home Depot issued a written apology, saying the incident was prompted by a narrow interpretation of its shoplifting-prevention rules.
"We will not be pursuing any claims against Mr. Panorelli for this incident," the statement said. "We welcome Mr. Panorelli back as a customer in our stores at any time."
But the carpenter said he had no intention of doing business there again, adding, "Why should I put money in someone's pocket when they treat me like this?"