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Jewel Wrenn
 Jewel Wrenn
(@Jewel Wrenn)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 136
August 11, 2006 2:50 pm  

You live in Philadelphia and you say there's no racism? Talk about rose colored glasses! Yours are completely blacked out! My hubby is from Philly and let me tell you racism is alive and doing quite well there.


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Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1428
August 11, 2006 8:09 pm  

Jewel's husband is hands down one of the nicest, sweetest men I have met in many years. But someone's personality isn't taken into consideration when the source of the hatred is racism and not simply a difference of opinion. I've always figured that severely prejudiced people must be inherently insecure in themselves that they seek out ways to try to look down on others without knowing the slightest thing about who they are as people. The more prejudiced someone is, the more inferior I believe them to be. Not because they were born that way, but because they've made a conscious decision to be less of a worthwhile human being by seeking to victimize others who have not done anything to deserve their bad treatment.

I have never felt I was the victim of racism on STX. I have felt at times that service could be better at certain places, but when I'm sitting at WAPA and nobody else is getting any better service than I am no matter what concentration of melanin is in their epidermis, then racism is definitely not to blame. So before relocatees get up in arms and say they've been discriminated against and the island's local population is racist, they should stop to look around and see if anyone else is really being treated significantly differently. Usually the answer is a clear NO. There are individual instances, of course, but not across the board.

As I've said in a few past posts, it's the culture and environment in the islands that is different, not the capacity for competency. The sometimes mediocre level of customer service that you get today in the islands is not due to people making a decision to treat you badly. Children learn from what they see around them. Teens and young adults new to the working world will emulate what they have always seen and assume that they are doing things the way they are supposed to. They can't produce the same type of customer service you are used to from wherever you came from because they have never experienced it. You are experiencing what is considered normal in the islands. If it isn't acceptable to you, either open your own Customer Service Training Center and somehow convince island business owners to send their employees there for training or just remember to take a book along when you go places where you are likely to have to sit a while to be waited on.

The slower pace of life is part of the charm of the islands. It's suitable to the climate and a natural cultural outcome of hundreds of years of island living in non-air conditioned environments. But can YOU as a newcomer adjust to it to the point where it feels natural and acceptable? Or are you so high strung that it will forever be the equivalent of scraping fingernails on a chalkboard? Some personality types adjust easily to island living and life here is easy to enjoy. Others work at it for years and find a way to compensate. Others never fit in.

It is possible to REALLY enjoy living in the islands. Yes! I do, as do many others. Even on days like today when I wasted more than four hours waiting for an appliance installer to show up at a property and even then he wasn't able to complete the install. Frustrating, yes, but life is still good.


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JohnTee
(@johntee)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 12
August 12, 2006 3:29 am  

Bluewater, thanks for getting this thread going. 'Negativity' mentioned elsewhere on the board and the storm of discussion that ensued after my posting, "An Interesting Editorial" have been more than offset by this thread. I'm not trying to escape problems, don't want to sit on beach all day long buzzed out and don't think this will be a 'Paradise' when I'll have to continue working for many more years. It will probably be five more years before we ever really think about doing anything like moving to USVI. It does sound like the kind of small town environment I'm used to living in and could enjoy living in.

In the meantime, we'll plan future vacations and I'll keep gathering info! Thanks for the board and to all who participate on it.

John


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STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 859
August 12, 2006 4:28 am  

Alexandra, I'm really hard pressed to understand your post about customer service and am completely gobsmacked. To quote you:

"Teens and young adults new to the working world will emulate what they have always seen and assume that they are doing things the way they are supposed to. They can't produce the same type of customer service you are used to from wherever you came from because they have never experienced it. You are experiencing what is considered normal in the islands. If it isn't acceptable to you, either open your own Customer Service Training Center and somehow convince island business owners to send their employees there for training or just remember to take a book along when you go places where you are likely to have to sit a while to be waited on. "

This lack of customer service never was and never has been "normal in the islands" and I seriously take offense to such a blanket statement because although it's catch and catch-can. I know, and have known over many years, many young teens and young adults who know what customer service is all about and who greet customers with a cheery greeting and execute business in a professional manner.

Yes, there are certainly those who emulate what they've learned from the dysfunctional families they came from. Some of them ltry to make a legitimate living. Some who started off as supermarket baggers have gone on to become incredibly productive mermbers of the community.

Some supermarket baggers who have learning disabilities spend a whole lifetime doing what they do. Others do their job and rise up in the ranks and go on to achieve BIG TIME.

Sorry if I offend you, Aexandra, but the broad generalization you made on a relocation forum such as this just got my goat. There are so many non-confrontational soft avenues to take where the ill-educated, rude and ignorant are concerned. Cheers!


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Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
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Posts: 1428
August 12, 2006 6:05 am  

STT Res - I wasn't saying that there wasn't any customer service in the islands. Just that it doesn't always follow the same format that newbies are used to where they came from. The point was that getting furious with the cashier or whomever has annoyed you isn't the answer. They didn't intentionally slight you. This is one more way that many people assume that something is bad just because it's different. Sometimes customer service truly is bad (competency or just a bad attitude) and other times it's just a bit more laid back and slower paced (cultural) than mainlanders are used to or expect. And the complaints begin.

I said quite specifically that it was a difference in culture, not competency and referred to "the SOMETIMES mediocre level of" CS. It's not really fair to just take a part of a paragraph and ignore the rest and then get up in arms.

To risk more of your wrath: for the record, I have never yet gotten even close to the same level of customer service at a McDonald's in the islands that is common on the mainland. There is a customer service training process that the managers put employees through on the mainland that seems to be non-existent here. This is the one franchise business I can think of where a comparison truly is quantifiable because the McD's corporation is so homogenized in everything they do that the island variation is quite shocking at first.


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jane
 jane
(@jane)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 532
August 12, 2006 2:43 pm  

The McDonalds at Golden Rock on StX is probably the worst customer service ever. I made the mistake of complaining to the manager once - that went well, not!!!
The only bright spot is that they are almost as slatternly and rude to the locals as they are to us transplants, statesiders,etc.
Although, I do think the checkout at KMart in Sunny Isle is a close contender.


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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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August 12, 2006 4:38 pm  

Off topic/

I was told recently that all of the things "good or bad" that we expect from a local McD's franchise are mostly due to tradition, rather than regulation.

This individual (a McD's franchise owner and former corporate employee) said that the corporation does not "own" most or any{?} local stores.

They do not distribute, regulate or manage. They own the name and (most importantly) the property where local stores operate. (they are a real estate investor?) Local franchise owners are the final voice and decide how the local staff is hired, fired and trained. Obviously, it is to their advantage to follow a proven successful formula.

I don't know that all of this is true, and I might not have understood all of his explanations, but it says a great deal about how we might be treated differently as customers at different locations.


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HipCrip
(@HipCrip)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 545
August 12, 2006 8:53 pm  

Micky D's...

My first job was at a McD's owned by a mainland franchisee. Back then, part of the franchise agreement was that local owners must comply with specific policies to protect the brand and reputation of quality set by Ray Kroc, the founder. We underwent training using videos and manuals issued by corporate, had to wear whatever uniform the local owner selected from the corporate-sanctioned options, and employees with promise were recruited to attended Hamburger College to get the training needed to make Mickey D management/ownership a career. The corporate mantra of "if you have time to lean, you have time to clean" was strictly enforced -- I got my next job and other later positions because of working at McD's as those doing the hiring knew that someone who made it through more than three months of entry level McD jobs had a strong work ethic and were often self-motivated as a result of meeting their tough standards.

Re: drive through -- our store and the others in the area had random corporate inspections to test service and quality. One killer expectation was that a customer at drive through should be pulling away from the window with food, ketchup/salt/extra napkins and change in hand no more than 60 seconds after beginning to place their order at the intercom menu board. If that couldn't be done, the customer was to be asked to "park" and have their food brought out to their car so as not to further delay the drive through customers behind them.

Not sure if all this has changed over time, or if the USVI/Caribbean franchises are subject to different agreements, but we've never been through the La Reine McDonald's drive through in under 20 minutes, regardless of what time of day, day of the week, or how few/many/special request items we order. But you know what? It doesn't bug us. We're in love with island time, and have learned to believe that there's no benefit in fretting over things you cannot control. If we're to be somewhere, we simply call the other party and explain we'll be a bit later than planned and ask if that would be an inconvenience to them.

The standard answer: no problem whatsoever.

Just my non-fast food for thought.

--HC


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jane
 jane
(@jane)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 532
August 13, 2006 4:10 am  

That's very nice for you - some people have to be places and Island time isn't always convenient - you can be sure that my husband's patients for just one example, who were docked pay for every minute that they were away from their work would not be so enamoured of "Island time" if he suddenly started dawdling his way through his work. And many many more examples among the working grunts on the islands.
In fact, it used to be the locals who would get the most frustrated and upset at the sloth. Sometimes I wonder, whether this island time is actually a luxury item.


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