I've been working in retail for a little over two years now. When I started, I thought that all the horror stories about radical customers were just exaggerations. However, I quickly learned just how true it all is.
I will say this; most customers cause no trouble at all. They're the ones who restore my sanity. Those who do act out are driven by the age-old phrase, "the customer is always right." Um, no, they're not.
How can the customer always be right? Do they work at the store? Do they have the company's rules and regulations memorized? Do they know about each piece of merchandise that lines the shelves? No, they absolutely do not.
The problem with this seemingly harmless phrase is that it gives certain customers a reason to act out. Most of us treat those who work in the service industry as equals; normal people just trying their best, but the select few who use this little sentence as a gift from God to pitch a fit about "unfair" store policies causes an unbelievable amount of trouble. This phrase gives them the idea that they can do no wrong and that the store's employees must adhere to their every little command. Some even resort to haggling already determined prices by corporate, something us retail workers have no control over. This is a store, not a yard sale.
When certain customers feel as though they are not being listened to, they'll often pitch a fit and hold up an already lengthy line, demanding the attention of every manager present. Suddenly, these customers forget how adults actually act in our society and do everything they can to make sure their opinion is the one deemed correct in whatever situation they have found unfair. I mean, who does that? I didn't realize the rules of society are excused when an employee refuses to mark down the price of an item that doesn't need to be marked down.
I've had grown adults freak out at me over the goofiest things, like their gift card having less money on it than they thought or our store not accepting returns from a completely different one, yet nothing ever happens to them. The problem is sorted out, normally in their favor, and they come back the next week with another ridiculous demand. Where is the order in this? When are we going to stop treating these people like their horrible requests matter?
I'm fortunate enough to not have yet dealt with a violent customer, but I've heard many stories of unruly customers throwing heavy merchandise at employees, often breaking their noses. This is what our society has created; an environment where crazy people think it's okay to throw things at employees just trying to do their job. So, "the customer is always right" idea should be eliminated, because all it's doing is creating an army of angry, entitled people who are above the rules of retail stores.