Actually, The Customer Is Not Always Right
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Politics and Activism

Actually, The Customer Is Not Always Right

Why it's OK that you're wrong, but don't be a jerk.

Actually, The Customer Is Not Always Right

There's this type of "the customer is always right" mentality in the customer service industry. Customers are treated like Gods because heaven forbid they know their place. I know that customers are the main reason why businesses work, but at some point we need to stop blindly following "the customer is always right" because sometimes the customer is very, very wrong. It is my favorite thing to do when I don't have to offer someone a free coffee or free meal because they don't order right or are blatantly rude. Here are some stories to demonstrate how the customer isn't always right (these stories are from real people and from real incidents):

1. A middle aged white man approaches the bar as I am calling out his name. To protect his identity let's call him Tony. "I have a Venti nonfat cappuccino for Tony!" I yell. It has been six hours into my shift and at this point I'm somewhat on edge because of how slammed we have been since the start of it. This man walks up to the counter and picks up his cappuccino. Upon picking up his cappuccino, he becomes disgusted at the weight of his drink. Immediately, the man berated me and told me that I couldn't do my job because cappuccinos are not supposed to have foam and always come with flavor. I'm sorry sir, but an actual cappuccino is quite different from what you can get at a Holiday Gas Station. - KS.

2. I once had a person at an old job tell me to hang myself because we were out of menthols. - MA

3. My first day on costumer service, we denied this girl and her boyfriend returns because they had obviously stolen it. They got mad and cussed us out. Then when my coworker and I's shift was over, we went to go out to our cars but they followed us out and were waiting for us to get farther out in the parking lot so they could do something to us. Basically we were stalked by these people and couldn't leave the building for an hour because they were waiting outside. Luckily they left right before we were about to call the cops. - HB.

4. Working at the customer service desk where customers can send and receive money. To do this, the name in the computer system must match the name that is on the government issued photo identification that you provide to ensure you are who you say you are. If your ID says "blah blah blah, Jr." then that's what needs to be in our system. I had a man (easily in his 50s or 60s) yelling at me and telling me to "grow a brain" when we told him the person would have to call the company and have the name changed since it didn't match his ID. After yelling at us for a while he called his mother (who was the one to send him the money) and she yelled at us over speaker phone on his cell phone because we weren't giving him his money. - AK

5. The espresso machine at the coffee shop that I worked in only made shots in pairs (i.e. It made two shots at once and there was literally no option to only make one). I had a guy come up and say "I want a grande latte with an extra shot, but don't charge me for the fourth shot because I know you have to make it anyway. I want it but I better not pay for it," (a grande latte comes with three shots and we charged 53 cents per extra shot). - JC

6. I had a woman come through my checkout lane with one of the actual biggest orders I had ever seen. This woman had so many frozen/non-perishable foods I thought she was going into hiding for six months or something. When I got to her popsicles, she looked at me and then looked at the screen next to me that shows me ringing everything up so that customers can tell me if something is wrong. So I stopped and asked if something was wrong, and she just stood there and stared at me in silence. I just went back to scanning because with the way she was acting, I assumed she didn't actually have anything to say to me, she just wanted to be rude and ruin my night. I was so wrong. After I scanned a few items, she yelled at me (I seriously jumped) that her popsicles were nine cents over the price she had expected to pay. I told her that I was sorry and that I could change the price if she wanted me to, but she wouldn't listen. She threatened to call corporate about a rude cashier that wouldn't do anything to help her, which obviously wasn't the case. So I changed the price and went on scanning, and she yelled again, saying that I was (again) ignoring her and her problems. I wanted to show her that I had changed the price, but I was scared of her freaking out about me treating her like an idiot, so I was quiet for the rest of her order while she criticized my every move. - LK

7. When i worked at Victoria's Secret i had a lady try to return a bra complaining that it was broken. Usually we would totally exchange it, but it was dingy and dirty, obviously worn a lot. When i checked the tag (all of the bras have a date in the tag that says what year it was made/sold), it was five years old. I proceeded to tell her we couldn't exchange it because it was very old and damaged. She continued to yell at me about how the bra was broken and that she paid a lot of money for it so it shouldn't break. I continued to explain to her that i couldn't take it. She then cussed at me and stormed out of the store yelling about how she was never going to come back. - PJ

Each of these stories deals with different venues of customer service: food service, retail, and management. Day in and day out, customer service employees are treated like garbage, told they deserve less pay, and threatened by unruly customers. You probably will hear us referring to people as "that person" that comes in 10 minutes to close; "that person" that comes in and brings in bugs to get a free meal and a gift card. Whatever you may do, my fellow Americans, don't be that person.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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