Looking for good service on the South Shore
December 14, 2003
I have been accused of living in “K World” at times – so much so that my personal e-mail account has kworld in the address. It’s a great place to be, not quite a fantasy world, but still a happy place.
In K World there is no need for guest relations classes at Lake Tahoe Community College because everyone in the service industry on the South Shore is friendly. Though this utopia is unattainable, the second tier of K World would have a packed classroom for such a class.
The reality is the class never was taught because not enough people signed up. This is because of apathy on the part of business owners who are not mandating their employees take the course – and pay for their employees to do so. The minimal expense would be returned a thousand times over.
Word-of-mouth is the best way to promote or criticize a business. The Los Angeles Times did a travel piece this fall about the South Shore. It was a mixed review. What people may not realize is that even if your business does not get a negative review by the media or individuals, the repercussions are felt everywhere. This is because people want to spend their vacation where they get a totally positive experience.
This goes for locals as well. If we get lousy service, do you really think we’re going to go back to the establishment, let alone take our family and friends?
There will be 12 people at my house during Christmas week and eight on New Year’s. Rest assured we’re not staying inside the whole time. So the past few months I’ve made a concerted effort to sample places where I might take them.
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Yes to Heavenly. Lifties are definitely friendlier than they’ve ever been. Hopefully, my family who has not been on the gondola won’t have an experience like my friends from New Orleans had in February. My friends asked where to get off and the attendant was rude and basically said you’ll figure it out.
A road closure prevented me from skiing Sierra on Friday, but in all the years I’ve skied there the people are always cheerful – it’s hard to imagine things have changed. At Kirkwood on Saturday the lifties seemed to have laryngitis because there was no communication with riders.
Though I would highly recommend warming up at the Battered Beaver Saloon at Kirkwood.
Speaking of eating, a waitress at the Cantina made my friend’s tostada herself because my friend has an aversion to iceberg lettuce. Points were scored. Mama’s Red Tomato staff is friendly – and there’s a locals’ discount. Mirabelle’s is great on service, as is Fox and the Hound, Rude Brothers and Sno-Flake. I know there are others, I just can’t eat out all of the time.
Safeway would go a long ways to appeasing customers if it would keep its sidewalks clear. I was confronted there Friday by a reader wanting to know what to do about it. I tried calling on Sunday, but they wouldn’t talk to me and their district manager has yet to return my call.
I was a bit peeved on Sunday with Motel 6 and Red Hut. I skied in to work on the path behind those businesses only to have my route blocked because of them using the path as a dumping ground for their parking lots’ snow. The city has been informed and said they would look into this. Otherwise Red Hut is one of my favorite breakfast spots – with my parents insisting we go there whenever they are in town.
In the other category, service at Kmart is hit or miss – much like any Kmart. John’s Cleaners gets a gold star. Longs’ staff is consistently helpful.
I stayed at the Ridge Tahoe this fall. It did seem odd the pilot light on the gas fireplace was not lighted, but it was quickly remedied. The most disconcerting thing was when the bus driver said, “Oh, s—” when he saw a group of black women. Whether this was in reaction to their color or the size of the group, there is no acceptable excuse.
In town the folks at the Inn by the Lake were super helpful to inquiries about how to operate some of the things in the unit.
Just remember, good service is something people will pay for.
– Kathryn Reed is managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 541-3880, ext. 251.
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