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Opinion: Where’s the customer service

If the consumer is interested in customer service, stay away from the big box stores. Madera has three of what I think of as big box stores. Two are hardware stores and the other one is the giant general merchandise store. You know which one I mean. I’m not calling them out by name because I don’t want to give them free advertising in this spot.

I try to avoid all three of these shops whenever I can.

Truthfully the hardware stores scare me quite a lot. They are filled with gadgets and doo-dads beyond my understanding. As thrifty as my late husband was, even he avoided those big box stores whenever possible.

I had a good friend who related a story about her recent experience at one of those stores. She went in for a small item and of course, she needed help finding it. There were two employees in their orange vests jibber-jabbering together and ignoring the customers.

She is a much nicer person than I am. I would have interrupted the conversation and told them, “Hey I need this. Show me where it’s at.” I may have said a few more choice words because this type of non-customer service really irks me!

Any time I need something from a hardware store, I head to GBS and get Dennis Smith or one of his employees to help me find what I need. Now this is how customer service works! I am mystified by most of the items on the shelf. The guys at GBS always help me find what I need and are quick about it.

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It seems the sound of fireworks is gone for another year. I’m torn between my sympathy for all the furbabies that are traumatized by the noise, but on the other hand, I really do love fireworks. I guess it plays to my inner pyromaniac as I watch them.

When I was a kid, the fireworks at the fairgrounds were awesome. I grew up on Martin Street in a house in the middle of the block. On the fourth, we usually had a family get-together with the families of my mom’s brothers and sister. We would sit on the front porch or on the lawn and watch them light up the sky.

The adults would make homemade ice cream. The ice cream churns required what seem like hours of cranking the handle. I have heard people rave about how much better homemade ice cream is compared to store-bought. It always looked like way too much work for the quantity of “better” you got.

Besides, my dad worked for Quality Dairy Farms. They sold ice cream, but the grown-ups insisted on making ice cream and took turns turning the crank. This was in the days before electric ice cream makers. It took a lot of ice and rock salt. My mom made the mixture from the fresh cream from our cow and eggs from our chickens.

In spite of the fact that my dad delivered milk, eggs, orange juice and any other dairy product you can think of, he insisted on keeping a milk cow and chickens that laid those rich, brown eggs. My brother, Brian Hill, got up early every day to milk the cow before school. Our older brother, Rocky, had polio as a kid, and milking the cow made his hands cramp up, or so he said. So Brian got stuck with milking duties.

He’d bring in the five-gallon bucket of milk and my mother would strain it through cheesecloth to remove any dirt or hay that got in the bucket. We always had a few gallon glass jars of milk in the refrigerator.

Rocky got a job as a box boy for Morris and Hass Market as soon as he got a driver’s license. When my grandmother died, Rocky inherited her car and he never did another chore on our five-acre farm.

I was very sorry to hear the Madera Fairground fireworks show got canceled this year, A couple of houses I have lived in the last few years gave me a great vantage point to watch the show. In one house, all I had to do was look out my second-story bedroom window to see the fireworks. It was brilliant.

This year I had our sports guy Tyler Takeda buy me $100 worth of fireworks from one of the high school sports teams selling them. My neighbors had a picnic and fireworks show I attended. I don’t mind spending money on fireworks but I have no desire to light them myself.

Once, when I was a kid, I was chased by a Piccolo Pete. That cured me of lighting fireworks.

Between what the Homeowners Association bought and the fireworks contributed by the neighbors, we had almost a solid hour of fireworks.

The resident who set them off had a table and a ladder he placed the fireworks on before he lit them. It was really cool to watch the sparks from them on an elevated platform go up in the air.

They had the appropriate buckets of water to dump on them and a water hose nearby.

After the show, all the debris was taken away and one of the ladies swept the street. When we went home, the area was as tidy as it had been before the big show.

Too many people don’t bother picking up the debris. Through the years I’ve taken a lot of pictures of dead fireworks still laying in the street the next day. Shaking my head…

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix at or @tamijonix on Twitter.


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