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Mormon Towns - My Rexburg Experience


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These days it would seem that customer service is the first thing that businesses cut. Remember the day when the grocery store would not only bag your groceries, they would take them out to the car as well?

The same type of thing can be said for many other types of businesses. I've lived in Rexburg for a number of years and there are some benefits, but one of the worst disadvantages is customer service. In many ways living in Rexburg is a lot like going back in time to the 40's, along with American honesty and integrity, but customer service is the worst here.

I would love to support my community, but it’s difficult when fish is rotten at the grocery store, the lettuce is brown, and you have to wait in line for 45 minutes to buy it. Sometimes I wonder if their customer services skills were simply left in the barn in which they were born.

In another instance, when I moved to Rexburg, I moved my Insurance to the local office here. For over a year I had been paying them, but they just couldn’t seem to figure out how to change my address. I complained and complained, visited the local office and it never got changed. I was worried that if I ever got pulled over I would show my insurance card with the wrong address. Further, I never got correspondence from them in the mail because it was going to an incorrect address.

I ended up purchasing my insurance from another company on-line that, not only got my address right, but was quite a bit less money as well.

The same thing happened to the local tire store. I purchase new tires and I always had a problem with getting one of them balanced. After 3-4 visits to the local tire store, and complaints to the corporate office, it turns out that they sold me a factory 2nd tire that wasn’t round. Why didn’t they notice it on the 2 or 4 visits afterwards?

Any suggestions on how I can support the stores in my community without getting ripped off? Further, is this typical with Mormon towns? If so, why?

Edited by Messenger
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No, it's not typical of "Mormon" towns. It's typical of businesses that feel they have a captive customer base. With the ability to go elsewhere, such as the Internet, for many things, such businesses are shooting themselves in the foot.

If you want the benchmark to judge all bad customer service experiences by, try some "choice" areas in New Jersey or Philly if you ever visit the east coast.

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No, it's not typical of "Mormon" towns. It's typical of businesses that feel they have a captive customer base. With the ability to go elsewhere, such as the Internet, for many things, such businesses are shooting themselves in the foot.

If you want the benchmark to judge all bad customer service experiences by, try some "choice" areas in New Jersey or Philly if you ever visit the east coast.

Thanks. Most of the things I buy now from Idaho Falls, which is where I work. I'll be ready to buy a new place there probably at the end of summer. There's always good wards around, so If I am choosey, I should find a good one in Idaho Falls. Real Estate there is such a good deal right now its hard to spend $40K more up here in Rexburg when service is better in I.F.

Like you say, I suppose these owners and managers dont realize that people can go other places and shop. Are they just stupid for not realizing this? Or are they trying to get ahead by giving poor customer service?

I have a difficult time promoting bad behavior.

Edited by Messenger
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Thanks. Most of the things I buy now from Idaho Falls, which is where I work. I'll be ready to buy a new place there probably at the end of summer. There's always good wards around, so If I am choosey, I should find a good one in Idaho Falls. Real Estate there is such a good deal right now its hard to spend $40K more up here in Rexburg when service is better in I.F.

Like you say, I suppose these owners and managers dont realize that people can go other places and shop. I have a difficult promoting bad behavior.

I have a daughter in I.F.; she likes it there better than Rexburg. In my opinion, it's a good thing when people vote with their wallets and feet when businesses get too arrogant. There are few things worse than an arrogant business owner or manager who thinks that he / she is doing people a favor by "allowing" them to do business with them. They need to be cut down to size quickly, or they become a cancer on the community.

Good luck in I.F.!

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My Rexburg Experience:

A couple of years ago we were covering for the Idaho guy who was sick or on vacation or something. The company wanted two guys to learn this new area. It was like another planet away. So another guy and myself had started from Boise (far enough) that day with stops in a place called Whitehorse, and some other place before Pocatello. Could it have been called Burley? Anyway it was sometime in late November or early December. It was really cold. We were from Portland, OR and trying to find our way a bit. We finally got to our last stop. It was a plasma center right on Main Street in the town you are talking about. Rexburg, Idaho. We had to park our rig in the middle of the side street and I left the flashers on for safety. When we get back in to head to our motel in Idaho Falls, the battery was dead. No big deal we thought. You just call customer service in Portland and a mechanic shows up in less than an hour and slaps in three new batteries. So we try it from Rexburg and are told that it will be at least five hours. We end up taking one battery out of the lift gate with nothing but a crescent wrench and using it for the tractor. It started! Hurray. I haven't been much happier than when that tractor cranked in Rexburg! We had been working for twelve or thirteen hours already. You can't drive anymore after fourteen without ten hours stopping. Its cold, its dark, we are an hour away from our rooms and we had to take care of ourselves and get some place warm!

I haven't been back. The other guy I went with seems to be the substitute Idaho guy now. I bet its real nice when the sun is out and its summer and you're not lost and broken down! But I am not hoping to find out.

3DOP

Edited by 3DOP
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These days it would seem that customer service is the first thing that businesses cut. Remember the day when the grocery store would not only bag your groceries, they would take them out to the car as well?

Albertson's still bags your groceries, as does Broulim's and Wal-Mart. Albertson's is also still pretty good with helping senior citizens with their groceries.

The same type of thing can be said for many other types of businesses. I've lived in Rexburg for a number of years and there are some benefits, but one of the worst disadvantages is customer service. In many ways living in Rexburg is a lot like going back in time to the 40's, along with American honesty and integrity, but customer service is the worst here.

Customer service is typically dependent on the quality of the business itself, rather than the locale. However, given Rexburg's job market and extremely high employee turnover rate (especially when students make up well over half of the population), the quality of CS may be substandard.

I would love to support my community, but it’s difficult when fish is rotten at the grocery store, the lettuce is brown, and you have to wait in line for 45 minutes to buy it. Sometimes I wonder if their customer services skills were simply left in the barn in which they were born.

The lettuce is brown sometimes, but the lettuce was also brown at times in Nebraska and Texas too. Idaho has never been well-known for having a high-quality selection of seafood. If you go back to 1940s America, most of the non-coastal states weren't either. Just be grateful it doesn't take you 45 minutes to travel to a grocery store that's five or six miles away (like I did in Texas).

In another instance, when I moved to Rexburg, I moved my Insurance to the local office here. For over a year I had been paying them, but they just couldn’t seem to figure out how to change my address. I complained and complained, visited the local office and it never got changed. I was worried that if I ever got pulled over I would show my insurance card with the wrong address. Further, I never got correspondence from them in the mail because it was going to an incorrect address.

I ended up purchasing my insurance from another company on-line that, not only got my address right, but was quite a bit less money as well.

It took me three tries to get Allstate to spell my wife's name correctly. It's Kacey. Not that difficult. It doesn't matter if your Insurance card doesn't match up with what you have on your DL. I'm glad you were able to find cheaper insurance!

The same thing happened to the local tire store. I purchase new tires and I always had a problem with getting one of them balanced. After 3-4 visits to the local tire store, and complaints to the corporate office, it turns out that they sold me a factory 2nd tire that wasn’t round. Why didn’t they notice it on the 2 or 4 visits afterwards?

Any suggestions on how I can support the stores in my community without getting ripped off? Further, is this typical with Mormon towns? If so, why?

Where did you go? I've gone with Les Schwab for years and have never had any problems. About six months ago I was getting into my car to drive home and noticed I had a flat. I called them and about 30 minutes later (it was rush hour) I had a repairman airing my tire, who also followed me back to the shop to get my tire fixed completely. Cost to me? $0.

My suggestion to you is to find a business that is able to suit your needs and best serve you. Some businesses work for some people, others not so much. Make an effort to get to know people. Rexburg still has a small town feel to it. If you get to know business owners and network with them, it's much easier to do business with them, and them with you. I spent the greater part of two years working at a hardware store in Eastern Idaho after my mission and when I was on my breaks from school. Getting to really know people was more important than making the actual sale. The business was run entirely by Latter-day Saints and served people of all walks of life. I don't think that having an LDS owner and employees made the business better or worse per se, but I can honestly say that it was a great place to work and do business. My boss had years of experience and knew what worked well and what didn't. I think that's one of the keys of good business and customer service. You don't stay in business unless you have it.

I think that for the most part, people in Rexburg genuinely want to offer good business, but many of them are still in a "trial and error" stage. Nobody's perfect. But Rexburg (for some) is a good place to live. It's a different environment for sure, but I've found that overall, I'm glad I've spent my four years of college here. Perhaps even one day I'll make it back to teach here. Who knows. Just my two cents.

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Alright, the Grocery store is Albertsons. They suck, what can I say? The whole store smells like rotton fish all the time. Plus they do bag your groceries, but they dont take them anywhere. The lettuce is the packaged kind thats filled with nitrogen gas, it quite frankly should not be displayed if its in brown liquid form. I've tried and tried to shop there, and had numerous conversations with managers. Broulim's is awesome, they stomp on Albertsons in everyway. Also, I dont mind Walmart since they remodled and fixed the inventory problems. The only problem with Walmart is they dont take American Express.

Les Schwab is other towns is great, not in Rexburg. They are the ones that couldnt balance a tire or figure out why they couldnt until the corporate office called and told them to make it right or else.

The local Allstate office is the insurance that I had. They also suck. And was happy to drop them after the owner didnt have a clue why I was leaving. Its amazing, when I asked her to fix my address for 12 months she couldn't, but that doesnt keep her from sending me weekly advertisements to the right address.

As far as getting to know people, I know lots. And yes, some of these guys are in my stake.

So, let me put a positive spin on this .... Places I love in Rexburg .....

1) Taco Time. I home teach the manager and I always get what I ordered and love the tater tots!

2) Walmart. I've complained and they actually made the changes on what I complained about. What a novel idea!

3) Frontier Pies. Always good food and good service.

4) Dominos Pizza. Ok, not always the best pizza, but at least consistant, but its cheap and has good service here.

5) Basic Living. Ok, I know the owner, he a doctor, and to be frank, he's smart enough to know he cant do customer service. But at least the people he employs are. Thats the only reason I shop there.

6) Napa Auto Parts. Wow, is all I can say. I buy wiper blades, they fill out the rebate form for me, and install them too.

7) A-1 Equipment Rental. These guys know thier stuff. They also are the local U-Haul place.

8 ) Broulim's. Its amazing, completely packed but never an issue there.

Edited by Messenger
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Taco Time: :D

What is Basic Living?

I've pretty much quit going to Walmart since the remodel. They used to have everything now I can't find anything and the inventory really took a nosedive. Much fewer choices.

Albertsons is much more coupon friendly.

Edited by mtomm
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Taco Time: :D

What is Basic Living?

I've pretty much quit going to Walmart since the remodel. They used to have everything now I can't find anything and the inventory really took a nosedive. Much fewer choices.

Albertsons is much more coupon friendly.

Basic Living is a camping and survival store with a home storage theme. Right down town a block up from Fongs. Albertsons gave me a $20 gift card for the last screw up. I'll probably burn it later today.

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Just be grateful it doesn't take you 45 minutes to travel to a grocery store that's five or six miles away (like I did in Texas).

Actually I do travel 30 minutes south, the same as 3 families I know, and shop at Sam's Club in Idaho Falls once a month. However, for fresh fruit and vegies I go to Broulim's.

Where did you go? I've gone with Les Schwab for years and have never had any problems. About six months ago I was getting into my car to drive home and noticed I had a flat. I called them and about 30 minutes later (it was rush hour) I had a repairman airing my tire, who also followed me back to the shop to get my tire fixed completely. Cost to me? $0.

By the way, I was a lifetime Les Schwab customer. That was lost in Rexburg after a total of 10 hours sitting in the waiting room while they were 'balancing' an oval shaped tire. Again, they refused to consider the tire they sold me could be defective until the corporate office told them to fix it or replace it. The idiot person I worked with is no longer employed there. So, what you say is true about customer service, You don't stay in business unless you have it.

Rexburg still has a small town feel to it. The business was run entirely by Latter-day Saints and served people of all walks of life. I don't think that having an LDS owner and employees made the business better or worse per se, but I can honestly say that it was a great place to work and do business. My boss had years of experience and knew what worked well and what didn't. I think that's one of the keys of good business and customer service. You don't stay in business unless you have it.

My experience is probably the same. However, many people take the opportunity of constructive criticism personally, and they get offended. What I have found is that, unfortunately, people sometimes feel its a privilege to shop in their store. Actually, its their privilege to have me as a customer. And yes, I vote with my wallet, and by word of mouth. But, you'll never see me tear a person down personally, but if they own a business and i don't feel they should because of poor customer service, I am way ok with pointing that out. Because it creates a bad impression on the community.

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I was driving across the Texas panhandle. My Frontier broke down in "Groom". I went into the one garage they had there and the guy let me say in his spare truck while he went to lunch. He didn't work on Nissans, in fact they only had Ford and Chevy pick ups down the whole street. I went into the store to get a bite and they had very little. Groom is about 50 miles east of Amarillo, which the mechanic considered the big city, and from whence he called my tow truck. It wasn't too expensive but I can appreciate small towns and what they offer and don't offer. Even living abroad, one sometimes has to substitute. My wife and I lived in San Jose del Cabo for several years. Went without some basics that you would find in the US (including milk), but really enjoyed what the local cuisine had to offer.

I think small towns are a trade off, whether here in the US or elsewhere. You come out even in the end.

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I was driving across the Texas panhandle. My Frontier broke down in "Groom". I went into the one garage they had there and the guy let me say in his spare truck while he went to lunch. He didn't work on Nissans, in fact they only had Ford and Chevy pick ups down the whole street. I went into the store to get a bite and they had very little. Groom is about 50 miles east of Amarillo, which the mechanic considered the big city, and from whence he called my tow truck. It wasn't too expensive but I can appreciate small towns and what they offer and don't offer. Even living abroad, one sometimes has to substitute. My wife and I lived in San Jose del Cabo for several years. Went without some basics that you would find in the US (including milk), but really enjoyed what the local cuisine had to offer.

I think small towns are a trade off, whether here in the US or elsewhere. You come out even in the end.

Jeff,

Just to put this in perspective, Rexburg has a population of 26,284 people. Groom Texas has a population of 587. Not quite the same thing.

I never substitute poor customer service for good customer service. But I dont think that was your point. As you seem to refer to substituting brands and items such as milk and nissans for somthing else. Im sorry you missed my point.

How's your day going?

Mark

Edited by Messenger
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Your point is that you seem to think small Mormon towns don't offer good service. My point is that even in a small town, people will extend a hand and allow you to do things outside of the purview of business to help. Much like the man allowed me to stay in his truck even though he didn't know me from John. Now you may believe that "Mormon" small towns are different (hence your title), but generally small town people are the same everywhere and sometimes you recieve good service and sometimes you don't.

I understood your point, perhaps I needed to be less subtle in revealing what I was attempting to express. Perhaps I should be more basic in the future. I can appreciate how such subtlties can be missed by you. I will endeavor to simplify my point for you in the future. ;)

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And I congratulate you on learning how to use google. Its nice to know you differentiate between "big" small towns and "small" small towns. :air_kiss:

Thank Jeff. Many of us have learned how to look up something before we put our foot in our mouth.

Mark

Edited by Messenger
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Thank Jeff. Many of us have learned how to look up something before we put our foot in our mouth.

Mark

Let when you still put your foot in your mouth? :search: Or was my post still too subtle?

Allow me to reiterate.....

Your point is that you seem to think small Mormon towns don't offer good service. My point is that even in a small town, people will extend a hand and allow you to do things outside of the purview of business to help. Much like the man allowed me to stay in his truck even though he didn't know me from John. Now you may believe that "Mormon" small towns are different (hence your title), but generally small town people are the same everywhere and sometimes you recieve good service and sometimes you don't.

I understood your point, perhaps I needed to be less subtle in revealing what I was attempting to express. Perhaps I should be more basic in the future. I can appreciate how such subtlties can be missed by you. I will endeavor to simplify my point for you in the future.

8)

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One of the things I do like about small towns, and Rexburg, is that most of them dont work on Sunday. Most of us dont shop on Sunday unless we really have to. Further, we dont want to have people work on Sunday either. I've never liked to work on Sunday, even on Saturday for that matter. Those that are open on Sunday dont do too well. One nice thing is that Broulim's is closed on Sunday. I like that.

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I love my small town. We only have one light and that is out on the edge of town on a state highway. Downtown is the city center, the funeral home, a dentist, a bank, the firestation, an old church and the elementary school. We have announcements about irrigation turns at church and town parades for the fire department and men and women coming home on leave from the military. I do admit I am looking forward to the day there is a nice little grocery store within walking distance like the library, but since walmart is only 15 minutes away in the big town next door, I doubt we will get one anytime soon.

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I love my small town. We only have one light and that is out on the edge of town on a state highway. Downtown is the city center, the funeral home, a dentist, a bank, the firestation, an old church and the elementary school. We have announcements about irrigation turns at church and town parades for the fire department and men and women coming home on leave from the military. I do admit I am looking forward to the day there is a nice little grocery store within walking distance like the library, but since walmart is only 15 minutes away in the big town next door, I doubt we will get one anytime soon.

I grew up in a time when all the lights on the main downtown street blinked yellow on Sunday. You had me thinking of those nostalgic days right up to the point when you said Wal-Mart was 15 minutes away from your small town! That’s not in the same town????? LOL. Times have indeed changed. Perhaps I am lucky to have at least one good market.

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I grew up in a time when all the lights on the main downtown street blinked yellow on Sunday. You had me thinking of those nostalgic days right up to the point when you said Wal-Mart was 15 minutes away from your small town! That’s not in the same town????? LOL. Times have indeed changed. Perhaps I am lucky to have at least one good market.

My small town is nestled in among some larger towns and then with the big 'cities' of Orem and Provo north of us. Was primarily farming, now lots of residential but still some great spaces left. I love it, all the quiet and friendliness without having my husband complain about his commute to work (except on days the construction delays him 5 extra minutes or so....coming from the Bay area where my dad's drives to work were over an hour because of traffic, I find it hard to sympathize). And oh, very few street lamps so at night I can see the Milky Way in my back yard. Never lived anywhere before that I could see it so clearly. Just saw it on vacations up in the mountains.

Edited by calmoriah
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My small town is nestled in among some larger towns and then with the big 'cities' of Orem and Provo north of us.

I'm familiar with that area. I lived in Pleasant Grove for 4 years before I moved to Idaho. The only thing I miss is the smog there in the Utah Valley. It really messed with my Allergies. It was difficult to work. But having Mount Timpanogos in your back yard was a sight to see for sure!

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I'm familiar with that area. I lived in Pleasant Grove for 4 years before I moved to Idaho. The only thing I miss is the smog there in the Utah Valley. It really messed with my Allergies. It was difficult to work. But having Mount Timpanogos in your back yard was a sight to see for sure!

Mapleton escapes a lot of it and since Geneva was closed (2001 I believe) it is tons better...I hated winter back then.
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Mapleton escapes a lot of it and since Geneva was closed (2001 I believe) it is tons better...I hated winter back then.

It was completely down when I lived there. But then again, I did work in Sandy, so that was worse on the north side of the point of the mountain. Speaking of your area, Smiths market was always good down there.

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