Welcome Back to the South Side

You may think that I had been away in some remote wilderness location in a far off country. The truth is that I've been lounging in Suburbia for the past 18 years. Sure, I've traveled to the City (that's what we Suburbanites say when going to Chicago) for errands and family visits. I assure you, it is not the same as living here. When I decided to move back to Chicago, It felt as if I were traveling the long road back home....via I57.  Upon my arrival, a flood of memories pervaded my mind and heart. I suddenly had urges to visit all of the places that brought me comfort and joy when I lived here during my childhood and early twenties.  I went shopping at the Plaza only to find it a virtual ghost town! I was crushed. What had happened to the bustling mall that used to be alive with lights and 50% off sales? I then decided to treat myself to a movie at the ICE Theatres on 87th street. I was 1 of 15 movie goers in the theatre! I wanted to scream, WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE!? I felt faint as I began to wonder if my fellow south siders had abandoned their community businesses.

Then it happened. I visited Staples on 87th to make copies. Half of the copiers weren't working, the staplers were jamming and the staff were huddled behind the counter gossiping and laughing it up! My frustration grew and I approached one of the customer service reps. I told him of the malfunctioning machines and let him know that I felt a large corporation such as this one should be able to maintain working equipment for its customers. Okay, get ready for this!   His response was "Well the equipment behind the counter works just fine! If customers didn't break the machines, you wouldn't be having this problem"   I was appalled!  Who trained this guy? What happened to "The Customer is always right" or the simple art of customer appreciation?  I began to wonder if the poor service that some, not all, south side businesses were providing accounted for the lack of patronage.  I will explore this more as I travel to South Side businesses rating the service and community appreciation.  I will gladly praise those businesses that provide excellent service and will keep you abreast of those businesses that have less than stellar service.

Lastly, I decided to round out my day in search my favorite sandwich. A Taurus Flavors Steak Hoagy! I was pleased to find it in the same location, packed with people in the middle of the day, same ordering technique that worked 30 years ago still in operation. I smiled, pleased to find one of my South Side Favorites still doling out service with a smile and the best, sweet, steak hoagy in the world.

Darlene Tate

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