Wednesday, February 20, 2002
After following the Wal-Mart controversy in the Hood River News, I thought some reflections from the consumer's perspective might be appropriate. The convenience and variety that local merchants supply is a community asset, but only if the merchants are dedicated to making customer service their first priority. Examples of lack of customer service: having to get my own exchange on a defective product with an $85 value directly from the company because the local merchant wasn't able to get it done after five months -- I had the exchange within one week; not being able to get a $3 refund at an expensive women's clothing store after needing to exchange part of my $130 Christmas present.
I have many good memories with local merchants and I don't like to appear negative. While I appreciate the fact that local merchants have to make a living, I contend that consistent, considerate service will insure that. A case in point: the owner at Shortt Supply, whom I did not know, let me take home an item of clothing for my son to try on so I wouldn't have a credit if the item didn't fit. She says she has done this often and the courtesy has never been abused.
So, while it will be a loss for both local consumers and merchants, perhaps Wal-Mart is all we will have if the local customer isn't valued more. On the positive side, at least Wal-Mart will give me back my money if something is defective or doesn't fit.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge