Voice: Reader says customer service in Valley is deplorable

August 30, 2001

Interestingly enough, I've been going to write a few letters for months, actually probably years, about customer service in the Valley. I too agree with Mr. Abatti and Mr. Riggs regarding local services being far below minimal standards.

Case in point: our local paper cannot hire a paperboy who can find our two-and-a-half-car-wide driveway, nor can he get the paper delivered before 9:30 a.m. the last two Sundays. The paper doesn't call the delivery boy unless they get three calls from a certain route. Many neighbors are away for the summer and others say they don't bother to call because it does no good.

Our local music store, owned by a local, cannot get children's music books ordered. Our children's music teacher wished me luck in ordering books from the local store. After six phone calls and four visits to the store, we only had seven of the eight originally ordered books. My son had been taking piano six weeks by then.


Exasperated, I ordered the books online, paying about three times the price, but got the book in half the estimated time. Luckily a friend told us of a family member's music store north of Los Angeles, which now has twice delivered books ordered within one to five days at a price no higher than the local store, plus about a $5 delivery charge.

How about ordering pizza locally? Do the stores try to have the most heavily accented person answer the phone? I almost gave up once after having to have their employee repeat everything three times.

I used to be a tolerant person but after experiencing this service with medical care locally — waiting up to two hours in the local pediatricians' or OB/GYN offices — my family goes to San Diego for important services like child eye examinations and asthma care. Getting prescriptions phoned in by the local pediatricians' nurses was always hit and miss.

Having worked as an occupational therapist in many local businesses over the last 10 years, there were usually decent professional staff but the level of support staff was pathetic. I have had a few great therapy aides but only about 30 percent would be worth rehiring. Details like getting to work on time, realizing Monday and Friday were not part of the regular weekend days off or actually completing the minimal job requirements taught on the job without being told daily were beyond most of the support staff's skills.

My all-time favorite is when you ask a local store employee if they carry a certain item, after looking a bit myself, and they assure me the store, does not carry the item. After looking a few more minutes on my own I find the exact product.

I try to shop locally but it is usually a battle between my tolerance for incompetence as I try to shop in the heat with four young children.


El Centro

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