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The X Files
Xavier Hermosillo is the President of, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 23 years ago. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He has co-founded two publicly-traded companies where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. He has also served as a Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds degrees in Administration of Justice and Business and Communications. He can be reached at

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 people’s national and regional accents when dealing with them. When the Times’ subscriber services lady couldn’t 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 I’m 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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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 can’t see him, I’m 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 Lakes.

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.

It’s 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 less.

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 won’t 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 California’s over-burdensome tax and regulatory climate. The workman’s 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.