The Benefits of Diversity

Thank you for publishing Jay Mathews's comments about diversity ["By Many Measures, Diversity Is Desirable," Fairfax Extra, Aug. 12].

Both of my children graduated from Annandale High School, and I couldn't agree more with the premise that the diversity at the school helps to prepare its students for life in the 21st century.

Because of their experience at Annandale, they have been able to work in all kinds of environments with all kinds of people. The positive attitude modeled by Annandale's staff and students enabled them to succeed in college and now in careers that take them into many situations requiring an understanding of other people's point of view.

I cannot think of a better place for a teenager to get a meaningful education than Annandale. Preparation for a challenging academic college career is available for those who need and desire it; preparation for real life is embedded in the culture of the school for all the students, all of whom need it.

I teach in a different county, in a high school that is almost as diverse as Annandale, and my experience bears out that all seven of the "myths" discussed in Mathews's column are indeed myths. We live in an increasingly diverse society, and the best way to "deal" with it is to embrace it and help our youngsters to embrace it.

Chris Wollenberg


Grocery Service Missed

I agree wholeheartedly with Elmer M. Savilla about the cashiers and the service that the local grocery stores provide ["Bring Back the Cashiers," Voices of Fairfax, Aug. 12]. He doesn't identify the grocery, but I believe that he is talking about Giant.

In the past year or so, I have filed three complaints about the service at my local Giant store in Burke. I get nice e-mails and even a phone call from a vice president, but nothing changes. For the prices that Giant charges it should be giving extra customer service, not less, as has been the trend in the last two to three years. If I want bad service, I can go to one of the discount stores. At least there I am not paying for service that I am not getting.

At my local Giant, they are now remodeling the store, adding back the fish market and bakery that they did away with a few years ago. The manager says that they lost business when they did away with them, and they believe that bringing them back will bring business back to the store.

This is not the reason they lost business. They have lost business because at this store and at many of the local Giant stores, they have reduced or have done away with the curbside bag boys and make the customers schlep their own groceries. They have done away with brand names that the customers want and substituted them with the Giant brand. They have done away with a variety of selections of meat in the meat market. These are only a few of the "improvements" that they have implemented that the customer is not happy about. I hear complaints all the time, in the store and outside the store, about what Giant is doing.

I have been shopping at other stores in the last few months, avoiding Giant as much as possible.

Giant doesn't care about the customer or its employees, simple as that.

Jan Morgan