Posts for Tag: emeryville

A great example on why you should shop locally...

This is great news. Saves me about half an hour when going to Target by avoiding the bad I-80 traffic. It can't be overstated the impact that big box stores have on a city's bottom line. Even though Oakland is splitting the tax revenues with Emeryville, it's still substantial what one store like Target can provide. There's a lot of debate about whether a city should invite big chain stores but folks need to realize that just because a store like Target isn't in your city doesn't mean your citizens won't still travel outside the city to shop at one which means your tax revenues just went to the city next door. As a Target shopper (and former employee), I'm happy my purchases will now at least benefit the city I live in.

An evening at Santana Row

We were visiting friends yesterday in the South Bay for dinner and a movie. We ended up hanging out at Santana Row before the movie (specifically for Pink Berry). I'm actually quite amazed at how many people were there eating, drinking, shopping, etc. Guess the recession hasn't really hit Santana Row that much. I've noticed attendance at other mix-use malls like Emeryville's Bay Street has gone down compared to a few years ago.
I was thinking how much this place reminded me of a Vegas theme hotel, specifically the Venetian. Maybe it was the live music, the promenade, or the formulaic restaurant/bar/clubs. Actually, it was probably all the girls in skimpy dresses sloppily/drunkenly coming out of the bars.

At Stage Left Cellars event

So the wife and I were helping our friends Rich and Melinda of Stage Left Cellars yesterday during the 2nd Annual Passport to the East Bay Wine Trail organized by the East Bay Vintner's Alliance. We had a great time being on the other side of the table and met hundreds of really interesting folks on the tour. Stage Left Cellars is new to Oakland having moved up from Paso Robles in January and joins a ton of great wineries right here in Oakland and the neighboring cities of Berkeley, Alameda, and Emeryville. It's great to know there's a thriving community of small independent wine makers within 10 miles of us and we'll absolutely support them in the future. Thanks again to Rich and Melinda for letting us take part in the event!

A lesson in customer service

I used to work in retail and have always been amazed at the thin line between a great customer service experience and a horrible one. As retail employees, you can never control what issues customers will come to you with but you can always control how you handle those issues. It's in your actions after a problem has manifested that will usually dictate what experience the customer walks away with.
Case in point, I needed a new USB hub right away and ordered one from and chose to pick up the item at the local store in Emeryville. A few minutes after ordering, I get the "Your item is ready for pick up!" email notification. Smooth sailing so far. A couple of hours later, I swing by the store on my way home and walk up to the pick up counter. I'm immediately greeted by the person behind the counter who takes my information, checks my ID, and then proceeds to look for my item in the pick up pile behind her. I'm getting a good feeling. After a few minutes of looking, the sales person gets a nervous look on her face as she continues to search through the pile. After a few more minutes she comes back and tells me she can't find my item but will just go grab it off the shelf. Kind of defeats the purpose of online ordering for pick up, but oh well, no big deal. After about 5 minutes she comes back and says they can't find any on the shelves and that she'll need to call the sales person in charge of those items to grab one for her in the back. Getting a little annoyed but what can I do? After another 10 minutes, I'm starting to get pissed. What should have been a 5 minute pick up has become nearly half an hour. When the sales person finally comes back, she says they can't find the item. When I ask what my alternatives are, she says I can always check back tomorrow or she can refund my purchase. After asking whether they can ship me the product (no) or call me when it is available (no), I'm ready to erupt. It's at this point that a passing manager sees what's going on and jumps in. After a quick explanation by the sales person, he tells me he'll go grab me another brand and they'll substitute it for my missing one. After a few minutes, he comes back with a more expensive model (mine was $29.99, the one he brought back was $49.99) and they'll match the price from my original purchase and another 15% off for my trouble.
Just before that manager resolved the issue, I had told myself I would never buy another item from Best Buy. I was never a big Best Buy customer to begin with (you can always find lower prices online) but in one quick stroke, that manager turned around the situation. Not only did he save the sale, he actually made me want to shop there more often. I know the sales person didn't have the authority to creatively change the transaction but she could have checked with her manager for whatever options were available to soothe an upset customer. Hopefully, she'll do this in the future.