The business world in California is in turmoil because of
some merging companies and the loss of jobs to other states.
Are China and Mexico the bad guys? Or should we vent our frustrations
at Wisconsin and Minnesota for taking our jobs?
Are you looking for a good story to develop? Try checking
out how many local jobs are being moved to other states while
the guilty vendors try to pull the wool over our eyes.
One of my pet peeves is not receiving what I pay for, especially
when it involves my newspapers in the morning. So I am quick
to call the L.A. Times when the worst newspaper carrier in
the world, who happens to be on MY route, screws up AGAIN.
Over and over, AGAIN!
This is how I discovered that L.A.s largest newspaper
has outsourced its subscriber services to some outfit in Wisconsin.
Honest!! "Cheeseland" handles our newspaper deliveries
in La La Land. It has always been a weird hobby of mine to
identify peoples national and regional accents when
dealing with them. When the Times subscriber services
lady couldnt pronounce my home town here in L.A., I
was shocked, but quickly picked out her "Wis-CAN-sen"
accent. I inquired and sure enough, she copped out to trying
to solve my problem from 2,000-miles away.
It bothers me that Im dealing with a cheesehead on such
a personal and local issue as not getting my morning paper.
On top of that, they do a lousy job. I recently put a vacation
hold on my L.A. Times and when I returned, I found five newspapers
on my font yard. However, I quickly found that on the day
they were supposed to RESTART my newspaper, they actually
STOPPED delivering it. What a joke!!
The other outsourcing I have found involves Best Buy. When
you call the local store and ask for the appliance department,
or the music department, guess what? The local store phone
system transfers you to a call center in Minneapolis. I discovered
this little trick one day when I was looking for a particularly
hard to find computer accessory.
I asked for the correct department and when I didnt
get a reply, I pushed zero and the operator came on the line.
I expressed my frustration at not getting an answer and because
I was used to visiting the store, I asked her if the guy in
the computer department was busy. She told me he probably
was. So I asked her if she could please page his department
or ask someone else to help me.
Some guy came on the phone and tried to help me, but he obviously
was not knowledgeable about the product I was seeking. So
I asked him to find the department manager and I would gladly
hold on the line until he became available. That didnt
seem to sit well with the operator so I asked him, Can
you please just go tell him that I am holding for him?
The reply shocked me. The operator told me, I cant
see him, Im in Minnesota!! What?!? I gasped. What
was going on here? I thought I was speaking with someone at
my local Best Buy in the Los Angeles area and now I learned
I was dealing with some ice fisherman on the edge of the Great
Well, I never found someone to tell me if the product I was
seeking was in stock. Having already been irritated by the
L.A. Times fiasco, I decided I will no longer patronize any
company that takes jobs out of California, and then tries
to fool us into thinking they are still our neighborhood pals.
Its really been a bad week for me dealing with national
companies. The recent merger of AT & T Wireless with Cingular
is yet another example of how companies are becoming too big
to provide good service to the little people.
Loyalty today in business means NOTHING! Absolutely nada!
Having been with AT & T for more than nine years, I was
generally treated well by AT & T. But when Cingular took
over a couple of weeks ago, I became a nobody. My four cell
phones and the national account that I brought to the former
AT & T now meant nothing to Cingular. They could care
The Cingular people like to refer to their stores and operations
as our orange network and derisively refer to
AT & T as the blue system. That great cell
phone rate plan you had on the blue system will soon go away
and the orange system does not offer as good a deal. They
wont admit to that, especially when you point out the
facts. Their reply is that you now will have access to 46
million other saps and can talk with them via more cell towers,
all at a higher cost.
Change is generally difficult for our society to accept. We
like comfort zones in our lives and expect the business world
to treat us well, respect loyalty, and give us incentives
to keep patronizing their products. I suspect those days are
ether behind us, or soon will be.
Business is in a difficult fix in our state. Some people blame
the job losses to other states and other countries on Californias
over-burdensome tax and regulatory climate. The workmans
comp mess is also seen as part of the problem. Clearly those
are contributing factors.
Regardless of the actual cause of the fleeting Golden State
jobs, the bottom line is that the business world should not
forget that the customer ALWAYS comes first. Making money
is clearly an important part of staying in business. But if
businesses are going to alienate their customer base by failing
to provide good service, good products, or good prices, their
future will probably be outsourced to the junkyard.
Do these names ring a bell? Air Touch Cellular, the Los Angeles
Herald Examiner, Zodys, GEMCO, White Front, Fedco, Market
Basket, Western Airlines, PSA, J.J. Newberrys, Western Auto.
No business is invincible. The L.A. Times, Best Buy and Cingular
should heed the warning.