Pauline Harte

One more local shopper sent over the hill

Pauline Harte · March 18, 1997

"Shop local!" is the familiar battle cry of our Santa Clarita merchants. Personally, I have always shopped locally and rarely leave this valley to buy anything. I was shopping locally when there weren't that many places in this valley to part with my money.

Twenty-four years ago, when my husband and I ran like hell from the San Fernando Valley, we bought our first home in Canyon Country, in Timberlane. In order to go grocery shopping I had to drive several miles to Whites Canyon before the Vons at Sand Canyon was built.

No Mervyn's, no Target, no Valencia Town Center. It was primitive, sterile landscape for us shoppers, but I always managed to stay in this valley to shop.

I never went "over the hill" to shop at Northridge Plaza. My kids were clothed from Kmart, Sears' catalog and Tots-to-Teens, and my little shoppers used to run around the house yelling, "Attention, Kmart Shoppers!"

Needless to say, I was ecstatic with the opening of Mervyn's and Target and finally our Valencia Town Center!

After all these years of shopping locally I had such an unpleasant experience at my favorite department store that I found myself driving over the hill to make a purchase in Northridge.

Being a typical lady in her "middle-earlies," I have no intention of growing old gracefully. No, I am going to wage war every step of the way. Therefore, this "middle-early" face has been a familiar sight at the cosmetic counter in my favorite department store.

Every new miracle product finds its way onto my face via my white-coated, wrinkle-fighting mentor. So, after reading about yet another revolutionary, industrial-strength albeit minuscule-sized gazillion-dollar face cream just released to my favorite cosmetic counter, I burned rubber into Valencia Town Center for this new anti-mummy miracle cream.

The hype for this new-age salve asked us suckers if we wanted to look like teen-agers again. Well, why not, I thought. Even if they were lying by a decade, I was still ahead of the game. I bit.

After one week of slathering this overpriced slop on my face, I had to admit that I really did look like a teen-ager. I had about a thousand zits on my face and was using my teen-aged daughter's acne medication. While I appreciate truth in advertising, I didn't feel that I was getting a fair shake.

So I returned to my cosmetic counter with receipt in hand and explained my predicament. I really didn't expect a problem because I have been visiting this same counter since the store opened and have been granted squatter's rights between my two favorite counters. I have NEVER returned or exchanged any products in all this time.

As I wound up my request for an exchange I witnessed a most terrifying, monstrous transformation. My previously charming cosmetic counter guru was turning into a red-eyed, growling chupa-cabra! It was not pleased about granting my request for an exchange.

I will never return to this cosmetic counter again. Yesterday, after 25 years of shopping locally, I went to Northridge to make a cosmetic purchase.

Attention merchants! If you are going to employ chupa-cabras, you WILL lose customers.

And if you can lose me -- Ms. Shop Locally herself -- how can you expect to keep those less-loyal customers?

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