PROBE: September 4, 2001

September 04, 2001

Give me a break! Your response to the restrooms at Kmart and other businesses in the Valley is a typical and dependable response from PROBE. Common sense tells everyone not to throw toilet paper on the floor. Let's not have anyone be responsible for their own actions.

While I'm at it, "Voice of the People" had a letter referring to "Customer service in the Valley is horrible." Three cheers for Jeffrey in Imperial. The next day that letter was the topic of conversation at work. Everyone agreed that they shop outside of the Valley as much as possible. It's a good thing that PROBE didn't have a chance to respond negatively and stick up for people with bad customer-service skills. — Future Non-PROBE Reader

Since you are a future non-PROBE reader, I guess we don't have anything to lose by responding to that letter or your diatribe.

First, we agree with the letter-writers to this paper who have said customer service in the Valley can be horrible, although we think customer service is hit and miss and depends on the store. Some places where we have consistently gotten good service include Big 5, Imperial Stores, Hollywood Video and that little athletic shoe and sports store between Sears and Mervyn's, and those stores are only in one section of North Imperial Avenue in El Centro.


One place we used to get horrible service, service where employees often would walk away from us if we asked for help, was a large hardware-type operation that has since closed and been replaced by a competing chain. The service is better there now but can still be spotty and even indifferent.

We disagree with your contention that employees here in the Valley have bad customer-service skills. We would contend they have the skills; many just don't have the desire.

As for you comments about the toilet paper at Kmart, we stick to our previous stance. People from Mexico simply are not used to putting toilet tissue down the commode. It is considered ungracious and a potential plumbing disaster. That is not being irresponsible, it is being responsible.

Being irresponsible is what you can find in the parking lot in Calexico's Wal-Mart on weekends, where there is trash everywhere you turn, left by customers who just throw and go.

QUESTION: I have lived in Niland for almost nine years now and I never really had a problem until I saw the deputy sheriffs a number of times stopping my brother and his friends, who are underage Mexican boys. They search and take pictures of them.

I just want to know if this is legal. Also, the young boys were told if there are three or more people together that it is considered a gang and they must walk in a straight line, one behind each other. Is this true? Concerned Family Member, North County

What we think is going on — from the stops by the deputies to the photo-taking to the searches to the walking one behind the other — is the officers think your brother and his buddies are in a gang or up to some other type of no good. So the officers are going to give the youths a hard time until they catch the kids doing something wrong or the youths straighten up because they are tired of the harassment.

This is a tried and true method of dealing with young people who may be turning down the wrong road. Officers just continually make young gang members and wannabes miserable, and finally they give up that life because it is too much of a hassle.

We saw how such tactics got a bad gang problem under control in El Centro a few years ago.

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