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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: The criticism stung but Albertsons executives reacted to it properly

UPDATED: Sun., Aug. 6, 2017

Albertsons deserves a Hat Tip for responding quickly to customer criticism of the Coeur d’Alene store aired on the Huckleberries blog last Tuesday.

First, the criticism from a Huckleberry Friend: “I have shopped there for 24 years and am saddened to see it so decline. Yesterday the line was 12 deep with one checker and another one managing self checkout. This was at 5 p.m.”

Two commenters agreed that the store could use more hired hands during rush hours, including Coeur d’Alene Councilman Dan English.

That got the attention of Albertsons corporate exec Rob Backus, the senior vice president of operations in Seattle. He emailed Huckleberries, promising that the following steps would be taken at the Lake City store pronto: 1. Better scheduling for peak times. 2. Re-train employees to call for help when customers stack up. 3. Additional district oversight in the evenings to make sure these steps are taken.

Also, Backus agreed with the shout-outs given by Huckleberries readers to hardworking store employees Patty, Holly, Lori and Darcy.

Something stinks

Dave Wagner of Coeur d’Alene wasn’t impressed when he visited the Harbor House concession stand/bathrooms at the Third Street entrance to Coeur d’Alene’s Tubbs Hill last Tuesday – and saw garbage bags and empty beer kegs behind the building. “The smell was horrible,” he told Huckleberries. Also, Dave saw cigarette butts scattered around the deck, discarded gloves and – drumroll, puh-LEEZ – a used condom discarded on the west side deck. At 4:30 in the afternoon, fuhcryinoutloud. (Insert “EEEWWWW!” here.) Dave has photos to back up his story. The kegs, gloves and – thank goodness – condom were gone when Huckleberries checked out the Harbor House on Thursday. But the trash was piled up behind the building. This isn’t the image you want near such a key visitor spot on the city waterfront.

Fly on the wall

By the way, the city of Coeur d’Alene should post a sign inside the women’s restroom at the Harbor House, to warn users that people at the water fountains outside can hear every word they say, through the small, open windows above. On Thursday, a gaggle of drunken young women in itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikinis separated from their drunken male companions and entered the restroom. Their conversation would have turned most parents’ hair gray.


Poet’s Corner: “Decor designed to be relaxing/ but nonetheless the place is taxing” – “The Bard of Sherman Avenue: Poems by Tom Wobker” (“Dentist Office”) … Dunno which was the bigger concern Thursday in the Emerald Estates subdivision of Hayden – that a suspicious man was going door to door soliciting money allegedly for one of the Boys and Girls Clubs, or that he was wearing a man bun … Dave Chamberlain of Coeur d’Alene sympathized when he saw someone getting a ticket in downtown Coeur d’Alene last week. Then he noticed the license plate: Washington. Then he thought to himself: “Cool.” What? You think we Idahoans dislike only Californians? … Poll: 51.55 percent of Huckleberries blog readers oppose President Donald Trump’s call to slash immigration levels. Only 28.35 percent support the sketchy proposal … On Thursday, Bonnie Douglas of Coeur d’Alene celebrated: “Have homegrown tomatoes finally. No more blossom rot. Hooray!” If you don’t get it, you’re not a gardener.

Parting shot

Once upon a time, Mrs. O refused to wear a helmet when bicycling because (drumroll, puh-LEEZ) – she didn’t like the way it made her look. She told my son, Seth, about that while we were riding bikes in Coeur d’Alene. “You know what looks worse?” responded Junior, a neurosurgeon who has handled his share of cases involving bike crashes. “Brains on concrete.” Mrs. O has worn her helmet while biking since that day. And you should , too – even in Idaho, where it’s not required.

D.F. “Dave” Oliveria cane be reached at (509) 319-0354 or

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