Make your own free website on

Adelaide's Southern Vales ...
the best and the worst

Taking your chance on good service


My wife and I live south of Adelaide, and we like to support local businesses wherever possible. We have found many examples of both excellent service and top quality food and merchandise in our local area.

We have engaged tradesmen from the local area such as plumbers, electricians, kitchen renovators and tilers, to name a few. They have been prompt and courteous, and we have been very pleased with their service and their work.

Recently we have found a couple examples of poor service. Regrettably some of Basil Fawlty's descendants seem to run businesses in our area.

Softwoods (10 April 2006):
We recently went to the local branch of Softwoods, near the corner of O'Sullivans Beach Road and Dyson Road, to ask about having a gazebo built in our back yard. We were looking at a gazebo in their yard when a pleasant young man asked us what we were after. We told him, and he sent us into the office to speak to (I presume) the man-in-charge.

We went into the office, and he was on the phone. The man-in-charge totally ignored us and continued his phone call, which didn't sound like a business deal to me, but who can tell? He made no attempt to say to us "I'll be with you in a moment" or any effort to wind up his call. After ten minutes looking at the advertising material pinned on the walls, we left - and he was still on the phone.

Which of the two men should be running that show, eh? Who should learn a few lessons from whom? Needless to say we won't be going back there ever again.

Oscars (10 April 2006):
We immediately drove from Softwoods to McLaren Vale, where we intended to dine at a restaurant called Oscars. We had been regular customers of that restaurant for over twenty years, when it used to be called Pipkins. It was taken over some years ago, and we have continued going there intermittently.

When we arrived we waited to be greeted and assigned to a table ... nothing. Nobody came to attend to us. A waitress bustled about, but ignored us totally. Perhaps she didn't see us? But she should have been able to spot two fully grown adults waiting to be attended to, surely.

Another staff member, a man, seemed to be doing something at the counter, facing us. He saw us standing there, but didn't notify the waitress, offered no apology or greeting. He could have said "Sorry. We'll be with you in a moment." How much extra effort would that have taken?

After another embarrassing wait of several minutes, we left. I doubt we will ever return there again.

Market 190 (10 April 2006):
We drove a little further along the main road, and stopped at Market 190.

As soon as we walked in, a waitress came straight over to us and greeted us, showed us to a table, and explained the daily specials. She was very courteous and friendly, and we felt much better.

The food at Market 190 was really wonderful, and we were very impressed with the service and quality of the food. The overall impression was of a well run, friendly establishment where not only top food but excellent service was the norm.

We will definitely go there again, and recommend it to our friends. You can't beat a word-of-mouth recommendation.

After two previous encounters with rude people ignoring us within an hour, we were wondering whether there was something wrong with us. Were we invisible? Were we asking too much by expecting somebody to attend to us?

Mac Alert (10 April 2007):
When my Apple Macintosh wouldn't start up after a short power failure in our area, I looked in the local paper and the Yellow pages to find a Macintosh repairer in our area. There wasn't one close by, but I discovered Mac Alert, an organisation which specialises in Macintosh and other computer repairs.

I rang them, and spoke to a technician named Steven. I described the symptoms and the probable cause of the problem, and he confirmed that they would be able to fix it. He explained the costs and conditions fully, and he was very professional and courteous.

I took it in to their workshop, and after a couple of hours I received a call from Steven telling me that the problem had been fixed. It turned out to be quite a simple fix, but instead of telling me a sad story about how bad the problem had been and how long it had taken to fix, he was honest and friendly, and charged me the minimum repair charge - a refreshing change from the attitude of some workmen and organisations nowadays.

Woolworths (14 April 2009):
My wife has rheumatoid arthritis. She cannot do the shopping, so I do it - early in the mornings between 7-00am and 8-00am. I used to enjoy shopping at the Woodcroft branch of Woolworths several times each week over the last few years. They opened promptly at 7-00am, the staff were always friendly and courteous, the range of goods and prices were good, and I enjoyed the human contact.

Since recent renovations and expansion of the supermarket, which included the addition of several self-serve checkouts, I have found the morning shopping to be far less user-friendly. There seems to be a policy of not staffing any ordinary checkouts, and a minimum number of staff supervise the self-serve checkouts, directing customers there. Why not have even a single normal checkout open?

On several occasions I have sought to be served at a normal checkout, and although the staff have never been overtly rude, I have not been attended to within a reasonable time, and twice I have had to leave my shopping and walk out. I then shopped for the same goods elsewhere - once at a Drake supermarket and also at a Foodland supermarket, located within a kilometre or two in the same area.

I can only surmise that Woolworths policy is to encourage the use of self-serve checkouts and actively discourage the use of traditional staffed checkouts in order to minimise staff and reduce overhead costs. I think that this is a backward step. It is certainly far less user-friendly to older, retired people.

You can't expect to overcome poor service or second-rate staff no matter how much you advertise. When will people in business realise that and ensure that their staff are properly trained and deal with patrons promptly and courteously?