Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Customer Service 101

Things are changing in Pismo Beach, and they may not be for the better.

Today the girls and I enjoyed a spectacular day at Olde Port Beach. The weather was amazing, the tide ran out so far we found loads of the largest crabs I've ever seen on shore. We had a picnic lunch with Grandpa, met some really nice people, made new friends and enjoyed each other's company. The craziest thing was seeing a large crab (6" body) rise from under the sand where we'd been walking moments before.

We decided to go to one of our favorite Pismo Beach restaurants on the way home to grab some clam chowder and a great people-watching from the window seats. Pismo has opted to start charging for parking, something I forgot completely about! I didn't notice the little signs, and after a lifetime of visiting without paying for parking, it didn't even occur to me to LOOK for the parking pay box. Fortunately, the girls can read now and V pointed out the sandwich board propped in the middle of the street just outside the restaurant. Ooops!

After gathering coins from a merchant's cash register and doing my duty with the parking permit box down the street, the girls and I decided to dilly dally a bit, window shop, and finally do some research at what was, until today, among my favorite magazine shops.

Apparently, the woman working there has decided she doesn't need to treat customers with respect, even given the current debate about whether permit parking downtown will impact businesses adversely. There was a man reading newspapers on one rack, the girls were looking quietly for their favorites (horses for V, anything kid friendly for E), and I was trying to find magazines to which I might want to sell some freelance work. (Editors like it when you actually KNOW the magazine, have read it, know its departments and its style. It's also best to put the current editor's name on the query letter and envelope.) The woman behind the counter didn't bother the man, but she started staring me down shortly after we entered the store. It was pretty apparent she wasn't just staring into space. As soon as the male customer left the store, she said, "I suggest you use the internet."

WOW! For all she knew, I could still have been shopping for just the right magazine. (In fact, I already had two I'd never seen before in my "to buy" pile.) The girls and I had only been there five minutes, tops, hardly enough time to select one (or ten) magazines, and there were three potential customers here.

My eyes popped wide in surprise and I said, "Really? Is there a problem?" I told her what I was doing (researching magazines). That's when she smugly threw in, "Try the library." As I gathered the girls and headed out the door, I asked why she hadn't bothered the man that had stopped in to read (not buy) magazines. She didn't have an answer.

She's right. Why support a long-time local business? Take it to the web. That's how we support our communities, right?

Don't worry, Mag Lady. We won't be back. We have a great new library right here in town.


  1. Sounds like you had an amazing day with a crummy ending! No pictures?? I've been wanting to go up to Pismo and visit the beach area, but yet not wanting to venture that far since we have NO BABY YET!! :=( And we leave in a few short days! I just may have to extend my, thanks for sharing Your fun!!

  2. Seriously, I wish there was a way we could prove we are locals and have like a 1 hr free bonus for that at least!


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