The good, the bad and the ugly
While growing up my experiences working at my dad’s and my Uncle Joe’s grocery store (Sentry Foods) taught me that it’s essential to walk the extra mile for the customer.
It is in that vein then, I offer the following as an expose’ of what we can expect from a few of the business that serve us on a daily basis.
The good: Awhile back I happened upon an oak step stool at the Kitchen Collage in Edwards and asked Kathy the owner how much it was since it didn’t have a price tag on it. Kathy that it was for store use, so I asked Kathy where I might find another one because it was the perfect match for the oak trim in my home. She looked at me, smiled and said, “You can buy this one and we’ll find another.”
The good: While shopping at Any Occasion Gifts in Edwards I asked the owner Daryl for some wrapping paper. Recognizing that I was busy and that the paper was for a gift I had just purchased, she volunteered, “Why don’t you leave the gift and I’ll wrap it for you when you return.” When I returned I asked how much I owed her, she said, “Don’t worry about it, it was my pleasure.”
The good: Abrash (aka SteamMaster) in Minturn was delivering several just-cleaned oriental rugs to my home when I told him I was going to try and sell one of them by consignment but that I had no means of transporting it to the consignment store or back if it didn’t sell.
Adam’s solution was simple. He took the rug back to their shop in Minturn, digitally photographed it from above (so I could give the consignment store a photograph) and then stored it. The rug didn’t sell, so Abrash re-delivered the rug about two months later all for the price of a “thank you.”
The bad: Has anyone else noticed that speaking with almost anyone at CenturyTel information is an experience in linguistics? One of my biggest disappointments since moving to the valley has been the telephone service of Information operators who don’t answer, busy signals when calling for repair service, being placed on interminable hold, and of course the outages that were once daily occurrences.
During the last year, EVERY time I’ve called information I’ve been asked to repeat the name of the person, business and the name of such tongue twisting cities like Vail, Avon and Denver; and on several occasions even Colorado. In fact, lately I’ve found myself respelling names like Vail, Avon and Edwards four, five and six times.
Then it occurred to me: CenturyTel’s information service might not be located in Colorado or even the United States, for that matter. So I decided to ask. I’ve questioned eight operators and one manager if they were located within the continental United States. Each query was evaded or not answered.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but admiration for people who are working in a second or third language. But at the same time, if CenturyTel is going to outsource services to the sub-continent of Asia (just my guess), then they may want to do so in a field that doesn’t require a reasonable command of the English language. Let’s hope they change services soon.
The ugly: Two months ago I took my SO’s daughter to the Greyhound bus station in the Transportation Center. We arrived 20 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time but could not find the ticket agent, although I could hear what was obviously a personal conversation emanating from around the corner and just out of view.
We waited about 15 minutes before I walked around back to attract that person’s attention. A woman (the ticket agent) appeared and verbally lambasted me for knocking on the door and disturbing her. She told me she would be with me “in just a minute.”
Five minutes later she appeared and asked what I wanted. I told her I wanted to buy a one-way ticket to Denver for the teenage girl. She did not say a word but handed me a form to fill out. I handed her my credit card and she said, “I can’t take that. This is a cash form.” I said OK and gave her cash instead.
I asked if the bus was on time and she said, “The bus will get here when it gets here.” The bus was late in arriving and every seat was taken. The driver exited the bus and announced to the seven or eight passengers waiting, “This isn’t my fault, I called ahead and told dispatch that I was full.”
I then asked the woman ticket agent if the next bus might be full as well, she said, “How would I know?” Since the next bus wasn’t for several hours I decided that driving to Denver was the wiser choice.
When I asked for a refund, she told me to fill out another form and that a check would be sent from Texas within six weeks. I asked, “Why does a check need to be sent from Texas when I just handed you $26?”
She responded, “Because those are the rules!”
I strongly protested and said, “You have $26 in your till because I just handed it to you and I want the refund.” She reluctantly complied.
The next day I wrote a letter to the president of Greyhound outlining the episode. Why am I not surprised that he or one of his assistants never replied?
As you can see, I believe that the good (excellent?) services far, far outweigh the bad in this valley, but I also think it’s important to recognize or reveal the entire spectrum.
Butch Mazzuca of Singletree, a local real estate broker and a ski instructor, writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org