*** Vien Dong Market is now Thuan Phat Supermarket. You can find post here.
Part 2 Can be found here.
A few weeks ago, I received the most surprising and (for me) amazing email. It was very professional, and cordial, but most of all, it gave me hope. Why hope? It seems that trying to get things done, like a simple refund, takes an executive order. Remember our canceled vacation, and the promise of a refund? Well it took almost 4 months, countless emails and phone calls to what seemed like an outsourced customer service representatives(I'm putting that in lower case on purpose) who all have "no last name", I eventually got fed up with the glad-handing and after doing some research found a "real" person through a professional associations website, and finally got this online travel service to refund our money....4 months later! Everyone was nice, but you could tell what the state of customer service was like.....you knew they were just "trying to get rid of you" and hoping you'd give up, and they wouldn't have to refund your money, which I believe had already been refunded by the Airlines and Hotel we were to stay at. You see, I'm becoming a cynic already!
Sorry for the long diversion, back to the story. In January of last year I did a little post on Vien Dong III Supermarket, made a few observations, and went on my merry way. I was a bit sad that the hot food was gone, and did make mention of the "pungency factor", as did someone in the comments. There were some other interesting comments as well.
So a few weeks ago, I get this email, that starts with, "Dear Sir or Madam"...and my mind goes "oh-oh, somebody's really ticked off...." But as I read the letter, a smile broke out over my face, and I felt really good....I don't know why, but I did. So I got permission to print the letter in it's entirety(I'm inserting a few photos):
Dear Sir or Madam (mmm-yoso),
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dan and my family owns/operates Vien Dong III International Supermarket. I'm also a reader of your site for about a year now. I had been meaning to write you for some time regarding your review of our store. I thought it was very good and wanted to thank you for your interest. It was very refreshing to see people put stuff up on the web about us and we truly appreciate it. We also wanted to let you know that since your review we have done a lot of renovating and would be really honored if you would come by for another visit and see for yourself.
-The pungency factor is no longer a factor
-Resurrected the food to go + deli and bakery area
-Raised our ceiling added skylights and brighter energy efficient lighting
-Renovated the seafood department with newer more accessible tanks and freezers.
-Upgraded checkout system for quicker processing and visability
-Expanded produce department to include wider variety and volume of produce
-Increased small business/restaurant customer servicing
Regarding the comments on live seafood, our core customers have always preferred to select their own product; picking the biggest and the freshest seafood currently available. Many other Asian supermarkets do not allow customers to select their own seafood and as a result people are always concerned about getting mis-serviced with damaged or dead product or overcharged by water/ice weight packed by the market. So it has always been or policy to welcome customers to pick and pack for themselves and letting product go out on a first come first self serve basis and letting customers pick exactly what they want. Of course our employees are always more than willing to assist anyone who need help.
Regarding the comments on the checkout lanes, we have configured them that way in order to foster a more social service environment. My dad came up with the idea when we first switched to the PC-based checkout system with large screen computer monitors. By pairing up the checkout stands, the cashiers can communicate and assist each other better by working in pairs and at the same time be more physically accessible to the customers. The large screen monitors would also be more accessible to the customers to view and physically point at particular line items. The additional benefit of pairing the checkout stands was that the grocery bagger (my old job) would be more accessible to more customers as well.
If you have any other questions or comments on how we can improve the store your input would mean a lot to us. We'd also really appreciate it you could give us your input on new individual products. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Daniel M. Tran
Vien Dong III International Supermarket
6935 Linda Vista Rd.
San Diego CA 92111 tel: 858 292 8110
Wow, maybe one little post from our humble little blog, with everyone's input(comments!!!) can make a difference? I dunno........ There are very few points that I'd have issues with. The only item, was that I (we) do reviews. You'll find that I never, ever say, I do restaurant, or food reviews....I leave that to the Naomi Wise's, and the other"food writers" and experts, I'm just a "food eater", and share my experiences on this blog. I think it's a much more intimate, and a more personal experience, and heck, I'm not much of a writer anyway.
I need to thank Daniel, for allowing his email to be part of a post(and making sure the hot food was back), but you know I'll be following up...which is what part 2 will be!
And more importantly....what do you think?