Being ‘invisible’ has its downfalls

Interstate 11 opened a week ago with plenty of fanfare and hearty congratulations for a job well done.

It is well-deserved. The highway is beautiful with its metal sculptures depicting the city’s history and building of Hoover Dam and colorful landscaping that blends into the surrounding mountains.

It’s a smooth and easy ride for travelers, with the promise of cutting as much as 30 minutes off their trip.

Not only does it consider the needs of drivers traveling between Las Vegas and Phoenix, which will eventually be connected by the interstate, it provides safe crossings for wildlife in the area — a few of which were on hand to witness the grand opening celebration.

Within days of the opening, you could see fewer big trucks driving through town. That was the intention of the bypass.

While that’s a good thing and should encourage locals to venture out on Boulder City Parkway/U.S. Highway 93 more often, it also means that businesses will need to pay attention to their customers, especially with the prospect of losing thousands of passersby each day.

Several times in the past week I experienced such poor service that I have to seriously consider whether I want to continue patronizing these establishments.

While I realize that I am short in stature and can sometimes be difficult to see on the other side of tall counters, that’s no excuse for me to be ignored. Perhaps I developed the superpower of invisibility. Or, more likely, businesses are not training their employees about good customer service.

Twice, in two different stores, the cashier left the register to return hand-held baskets to their place by the entrance, leaving me waiting to pay. It was like I wasn’t there at all, even though at one store I literally had to move out of the way for the cashier to retrieve the basket.

In both instances, the cashiers found someone to stop and talk to, delaying their return to the register for at least a minute — though it felt like an eternity.

Another incident occurred at the service deli of a grocery store. There were four people working behind the counter but only one helping the line of customers. When the employee finished helping the person ahead of me in line, instead of calling the next number to be served, she went into the back. Eventually, she came back and called my number, but by that time the line had doubled and others were starting to grumble about the lack of service. One woman became so frustrated she left without getting anything.

I had a similar experience at a nearby casino’s buffet. I went to get a sweet treat to end my meal and was the only one waiting. The worker behind the counter finished helping the person who was already there and then began cleaning and restocking the display case, leaving me standing there.

Granted, not all of these experiences were in Boulder City. Yet they all show a need for treating customers with good service. Even something as simple as a comment that they saw me and would be right there would have gone a long way.

Normally, I am fairly patient with incidents such as these. However, to experience so many in such a short time pushed me over the limit.

I hope these were isolated incidents and that others in the community don’t feel invisible. For those of you taking the time to read this, please consider the impact your actions have on others. Remember to smile, acknowledge someone’s presence and make them feel welcome, especially if they are spending their hard-earned money at your establishment.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.