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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 22, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 18 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Friday, February 22, 1974 Consumer complaint bureau gets face-lift OTTAWA (CP) Things are changing at Box 99, the federal government's consumer complaint bureau, but views differ on the benefits. A major reorganization, begun a year bureau handled queries by mail alone in replaced the old guard of civil servants and businessmen with a new batch of complaint officers, mostly women and described as relatively inexperienced. "We were told our work was not up to said one of the men who was re- placed. "We were told that when the place was reorganized, we had no hope of staying at the same job levels, let alone of promotions." Former staff say the change cleaned out four senior men including the bureau's three French- speaking officers and has tightened bu- reaucratic control over replies to questions and complaints. Jane Heintzman, one of the new consumer complaint officers, suggested, however, that the people who quit just could not cope with the new rules and procedures. Presented supervision "This is a highly structured organization with a fairly well-defined hierarchy. Everyone reports to some sort of supervisor and that may get the goat of some men." Box 99 is only one part of a consumer services division within the consumer and corporate affairs department but its importance ranks above its size. The government heralded it as Ottawa's direct link with the buying public when it set up the service in 1968. The reorganization was undertaken to strengthen that link, said Gladys Dunn, the consumer services chief. Each complaint officer will be working exclusively in a specialized area such as food, clothing, home furnishings, real estate or travel. Job responsibilities will also increase, she said. Staff experienced Instead of just problem-solving, the new consumer services officers will also work on information, new consumer service programs and the development of consumer legislation and policy. The face-lifting, however, has inspired almost all the old consumer complaint officers to resign. Many experienced people who took their places say they also quit out of frustration. Late in 1972, Box 99 was staffed by about a dozen people, including former businessmen, social workers, home economists and food scientists. Most had extensive experience either in the civil service or outside in consumer- related areas. Only two of that group remain. One is Maureen Wadsworth, Miss Dunn's assistant. Both were promoted to their posts early in 1973, just as the reorganization was initiated. The atmosphere became acutely strained with the switch, recalled Linda Stewart, a former social worker who quit last April. "When the reorganization was announced it was like a total clampdown. Everyone was told they would have to enter a competition for the new jobs. From then on, you were charted on the number of files, or cases, you could get rid of each month." "So many political complained Mrs. Stewart. "The worst thing that could happen was if the minister got an angry letter from General Motors.... We just seemed to be there to placate consumers." Before, "you did what you thought was best to settle a dispute. Things were pretty free- wheeling." Seemed threatened Former staff said Miss Dunn and Mrs. Wadsworth seemed threatened by the qualifications of many of their subordinates. Four senior men, they said, were deliberately singled out. Rene Sauve was a former army colonel with 15 years' experience in the food in- dustry; Gordon Charles, a former government cartographer; Jean-Paul Daoust, a former pharmaceutical salesman with medical school training from the federal health department and Jean-Jacques Marleau, a lab technician with the health department's food and drug directorate. Mr. Sauve, Mr. Daoust and Mr. Marleau were the only French-Canadians working then at Box 99. Eight per cent of 1972 queries were in French, the department reports. They were given "special thesis on the Box 99 operation. They then appeared before a board consisting of Miss Dunn and two other department officials which gave them no bright hopes for a future at Box 99. They said they were told they would have to compete for even lower-paying positions. The former employees said Mrs. Wadsworth began directing most French-language complaints away from the three French- speaking officials. Handled by mail "Most of those complaints went to English- speaking said Mrs. Stewart. "They were really upset because their French was not good enough to phone up these people and talk over their problems." She said most French complaints had to be handled by mail, with the help of the de- partment's translation services. "It was bureaucracy in the worst form.... One silly letter would take days." The public service commission is sifting through about applications in response to a competition advertised during November and December for at least a dozen new consumer services officers. The new positions pay be- tween and a year. Mrs. Heintzman, who joined Box 99 last summer, said she enjoys it. "I have a certain amount of discretion, within limits. You could run into trouble though, if you chose to be too independent. "That may make it difficult for a lot of men... to take orders from women, particularly if they had jobs before which allowed them to make a lot of independent decisions. "We have a relatively young group.... It's the first major job for most people here." Carefully screened There are about 36 complaint officers, casual and permanent, she said. Four are men. Letters sent by complaint officers to complaining consumers or businessmen are said to be carefully screened for legal slips or possible violations of government policy. "There's a question of policy in almost said Mrs. Heintzman. The former officers said they view the new job competition as fulfilling the department's wish to stuff Box 99 with inexperienced, less in- dependent consumer-complaint less willing to buck the bureau- cracy. Among the first applicants to be rejected was Pamela MacRae of Ottawa, for three years editor of the Canadian Consumer, monthly magazine of the Consumers' Association of Canada. British-born Mrs. MacRae was rejected on the grounds that she is not a Canadian citizen. She came to Canada in 1948. Commented Mr. Sauve: "It makes you wonder what kind of people they are looking for when they turn down someone like that." -The Herald Family Shops and boutiques excellent Swiss city sets trends ZURICH (CP) -A leader in watches and clocks, this Swiss city is not, however, a fashion trend-setter. There are only a few haute-couture houses, mainly catering to the Swiss. But it does have a number of clothing manufacturers, most doing a good export business. It's main fashion fame comes from the Bahnhofstrasse, the shopping street that runs from the railway station (bahnhof) to the lake. Here the shops and boutiques carry excellent, if> expensive, merchandise mostly from France and Italy. Grieder's is a Swiss in- stitution, with elegant shops hi several cities. In Zurich the store is a series of boutiques. One features mostly single pieces by Micheline Brunschwig who has her own shop, Bon Geni, in Geneva. She also buys from other de- signers. Prices range up from The sheer elegance of Grieder's is climaxed in the mirrored dressing rooms for try-ons. The downstairs Viva Bou- tique, all chrome and mirrors, is for the young crowd. Fea- tured in one street window were the latest shoes from Charles Jourdan of Paris. Pumps, priced at had squared toes and thin extended platforms. The toes and backs were in reptile. Interesting boutiques CASH BINGO ST. BASIL'S 13th St. and 6th Avo. N- FRIDAY, February 22-8 o'clock 4tti and tth 830 in 7 GMW 5 CARDS FOR OR 2Sc EACH BLACKOUT JACKPOT 9200 IN 50 NUMBERS LUCKY NAME DRAW WORTH LUC! f NUMBER DRAW WORTH WEEKLY DRAW WORTH klO 3 FREE GAMES DOOR PRIZE PWMIW Under 1C Net Spomontf by ST. BASIL'S MEN'S CLUB Saturday, Feb. 23rd Now is the time to buy all Your Sewing Needs at 10% Discount Spring Fabrics .such as Double Suiting, Printed Plain crepes, Sheers, Linings, Sewing Notions etc. etc. are all on Sale at 10% OFF their regular low prices, this Saturday. atO-Tftftt.8., include Modelia and Au Grenier. The latter has to be seen to be believed. It looks so junky, with racks of clothes crammed together, mostly French imports. But all were expensive. The manager of one of the Bally Swiss shoe stores agreed that high platforms are completely finished. "There will still be plat- he said, "but very small ones." Heels continue high but thinner and toes will be square or round. You'll find Swiss fashions mostly in the larger departmental stores. Actually there are clothing firms in the country, most near Zurich. Two years ago the Swiss Clothing Manufacturers Association was formed. "We have 550 firms partici- said director Francois Loeb, "ranging from socks and underwear to men's and women's clothing." There's also an association of women's clothing firms. They organize the Swiss Fashion Weeks in Zurich for the visiting store buyers from Europe, North America and now Japan. The first collec- tions for autumn, 1974, are in April, the second in August. Swiss clothing firms do a large export business. For 1972 it was about million. Only 1.9 per cent went to Canada. Japan accounted for 3.3 per cent Japan is fast becoming one of the top buying countries, according to export manager, Primo Dal Bosco of Weko, one of the largest Swiss dress man- ufacturers. Prints, Dal Bosco said, will be most important this spring. One of Weko's exclusive prints is that of beige and brown horses scattered over tiny black-and-white checked cotton voile. The two-piecer will retail in Switzerland for about 1C GAMES BLACKOUT (Ptaftd UnM Won) LETHBRIDGE ELKS LODGE ROOM EVERY He's a she Bonnie Small, 23, of Kitchener, Ont., formerly of St. Thomas, is shown after she became the first woman to drive a mail truck. She now heads her 129-member union local. Demand for wild furs continues to increase TORONTO (CP) A Toronto furrier says the fur coat is returning to its old position as a status symbol and a hedge against inflation. Paul Magder said he recently sold a worn, three- year-old fox coat for its original selling price of However, he said, the customer who .picked up the "nearly new" coat may have left with a better buy in terms of investment than the buyer of a new fox coat The minimum price for a. new fox of good quality has increased to and buyers are waiting for most furs. WeeWhimsv in VANTA'S ICONOMY Ml ATS Your experts in Freezer Beef. Join your friend their success at Vanta's Old Fashioned Prices. UBS Will ww MMI Men in dwi titrate toy 1. Chuck Steak, Ib 2. Chuck Roast, Ib Cross Rib Roast, Ib Choice Beef Sausage, Ib Lean Ground Beef, Ib Pork Chops, Ib Fresh European Sausage Daily ML "I Ml M- SHOP VANTA'S tit C te sent the ongmt m tor twr quote The cheapest new fur coat rabbit has been bid up to and the mink ranges from to Mr. Magder said there has been an increased interest in furs in both Europe ana Japan. This new bonus in furs is providing a bonanza to northern trappers. Only a .few winters ago trappers were lucky to sell a beaver pelt for At the last North Bay auction they went at Top buyers from around the world fly in to buy pelts from the North Bay trappers. Claire R. Merkley of the federal department of trade and commerce said more than 80 per cent of the Canadian far harvest was bought for export. Ottawa expects the demand for wild furs to continue to rise as long as the living standards of developed countries continue to rise. "The crisis in the petro- chemical industry win affect fake fare but wild for a renewable resource is more likely to go op in said Mr. Merkley. Morning exercise becomes part of everyday work BURLINGTON, Ont. (CP) For 15 minutes every day, George Smith's print shop looks and sounds like a combination drill hall and gymnasium. Amid the presses and paper cutters human forms stretch and push while an autocratic gent barks orders from the corner next to the finished work. It all started when print shop owner Smith let it be known that his 209 pounds didn't settle all that well on his frame and he would like to take off about 34 pounds. John Waters, a volunteer fitness instructor at the YMCA, promised help and suggested a proper diet and morning exercise would be a good way to start. However, Mr. Smith noted that his six production em- ployees had pretty good pots of their own and suggested they join in. So, now there are seven fig- ures doing pushups every morning. Morning exercises are a custom at many oriental Calendar The AOTS Men's Club of McKillop United Church is holding its annual pancake day from 11 a.m. to p.m. and to 7 p.m. Saturday in the McKillop Church Hall. The Southern Alberta Opera Association is sponsoring Madame Butterfly, to be held Nov. 30 at the Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary. Anyone interested in obtaining tickets may contact Jane Alexander at 328-1250. Souttuninster circle square dance club will hold the regular dance at p.m. Saturday in Southminster Hall. All square dancers welcome. Women are asked to bring a box lunch. factories and shops but haven't been too popular in the West. So, far, Mr. Smith has lost 28 pounds and everybody else has found muscles they didn't know existed. Before they began exercising, the boss and his employees spent at least the first 30 minutes of the day drinking coffee to wake up and snapping at each other until they'd done so. Commissioner Margaret Scheu has been appointed division commissioner of the Leth- bridge division of Girl Guides of Canada. Prior to moving to Lethbridge, Mrs. Scheu was division commissioner in Edmon- ton. FRAME STYLES From AROUND-THE- WORLD CLEARANCE SALE ON BESTLINE PRODUCTS OF CANADA 2 75 ZFttL PURPOSE CUMER> NOW 8H-7 HAIR SHAMPOO LIQUID FLOOR WAX