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September 13, 1995

Bad Attitude

AssholesAttitude Problems at Shell Oil -- I went grocery shopping at Albertson's at First & Bullard a couple of Saturdays ago with my three-year-old son. When we left the store, I noticed that one of my truck tires was flat. Since it was only 1:30 in the afternoon, we walked across the street to the Shell Station at First & Bullard. Little did I know that we were entering the Twilight Zone.

Since there were three men on duty, I assumed that this full-service station could handle my flat tire. The first person I talked to (La Vaughn) agreed to help, subject to approval from his boss, Tim. After all, it was only a flat tire.

Just so there's no confusion, Tim is a white guy, about 40, slightly balding with a beard. I told Tim about my problem, and explained that my truck was across the street at Albertson's. Without ever inspecting my truck, Tim said he lacked the equipment to change my flat, and told me to call a tow truck.

This amazed me. I was at a full-service station. The bright orange roll-away jack was sitting in front of the service bays. However, Tim stuck to his story -- they couldn't help me unless I got the truck over to them. Of course, if I destroyed the tire in the process, this would have suited Tim just fine. I'm sure he had another one to sell me.

I contained my anger, and called my wife to come get my son (and to save our groceries from the 90-degree heat). While I waited, I reviewed Tim's comments. I decided that we must have suffered a "failure to communicate" -- Tim just didn't understand my request.

So, when my wife arrived, I returned to question Tim again. This time, I made sure there was no mistake. I pointed to my truck 100 yards away, sitting in the open in the parking lot. "Can you fix my flat?", I asked.

Tim was blunt with his reply. "Not until you get it here. Call a tow truck or remove the tire yourself." He reminded me that they'd be glad to work on the tire after I delivered it to him.

On the way out, La Vaughn (who is a good person) gave me a wry grin. He understood my predicament. Evidently he's been subject to similar mistreatment from the chimerical Tim.

While I spent the next hour waiting for the tow truck, I looked over at the Shell Station at First & Bullard (where they were still fixing vehicles) and pondered Tim's pig-headed attitude.

Shell Oil is in a service business. In a service economy, you deliver what the customer wants. Shell Oil refused to deliver the goods. You can bet I had my truck towed to another service station.

I'd have paid extra to have my flat fixed on-the-scene. Money wasn't the question. After all, I had my three-year-old son and a load of groceries. I was in a tough spot. But Tim never gave me the chance. That's bad business. More importantly, it's rude.

I hate arrogant, non-responsive businesses. La Vaughn had the right attitude. He knew they had the proper tools (what does it take to fix a flat?), and said "Can do." He should be rewarded.

For whatever reason, Tim has a problem. And it's the Tim's of the world that give Fresno a bad rap. Get your act together, Shell Oil. Otherwise you'll lose even more customers.

Frank SinatraCollector's Corner -- Reprise Records, the label founded by Frank Sinatra (and now part of the Time Warner group), announced that it will be releasing a 20-disc set to commemorate Ol' Blue Eyes 80th birthday on December 12. Loaded with over 24 hours of music and more than 450 tracks, the brass-bound set will delight completists, as it includes 70 selections previously unavailable on compact disc.

The box set will highlight Sinatra's music from 1961 (when he left Capitol Records) through 1984's L.A. is My Lady, including such standards as "Fly Me to the Moon," "My Kind of Town," and "Softly, As I Leave You."

Frank SinatraThe Complete Reprise Studio Recordings also features a large number of out-takes and rarities, such as "My Foolish Heart," which was recorded in 1988 and never before released, and three tracks with the late Antonio Carlos Jobim that were originally recorded for a second collaboration by the two artists but never released on album.

Sinatra did some terrific work on Reprise, but it was often built around covers of his prior hits: Sinatra was uneasy with the changes in pop music started by the British Invasion, and began playing to an older generation in the 60s.

Considering that fine compilations are already available at much lower cost, this set is aimed primarily at the collector market. For my money, Sinatra's best years (and he had some very good ones) were on Capitol; I'd start my collection with the multi-disc Capitol best-of collection.

-- Randy Krbechek

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