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'The Customer is Always Right'

(70 Posts)
CuChullain Tue 15-Apr-14 09:01:08

I have seen the phrase “the customer is always right” trotted out a few times on these forums and I was wondering if some folk here honestly believe that is the case? Having worked for a number of restaurants, pubs and corporate catering companies throughout my uni years I came to the rapid conclusion that not only can customers be wrong but they can fucking rude to boot. Most service industry workers put up with a fair bit of crap as that is deemed as part of the job but I can’t see why they have to put up with outright bullying, rudeness and general obnoxious behaviour just because money is changing hands.

dexter73 Tue 15-Apr-14 09:02:43

I completely agree with you. It amazes me how rude some people can be to waiters and shop staff. Manners cost nothing.

Pipbin Tue 15-Apr-14 09:03:19

I spent years in retail too and anyone who trots that out is a cunt. They use their position of you not being able to tell them to fuck the fuck off to be an arse.

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 15-Apr-14 09:03:44

The customer is rarely right, ime. Most of those who complain do so because they are entitled twunts.

KissesBreakingWave Tue 15-Apr-14 09:05:25

Most customers are never right. Most customers only remember they want fries with that when prompted.

RuthlessBaggage Tue 15-Apr-14 09:11:09

These stories prove that customers are frequently wrong and often rude with it.

Pipbin Tue 15-Apr-14 09:15:41

And before any

Pipbin Tue 15-Apr-14 09:17:11


And before anyone says 'well if you don't like it then you shouldn't be working in a service industry'. Few really want to work in retail. They do it because they have bills to pay.

Pipbin Tue 15-Apr-14 09:18:18

I think that everyone should have to do 6 months working in retail as national service so they know what it's like on the other side.

lollerskates Tue 15-Apr-14 09:23:21

"The customer is always right" doesn't mean "anything any customer says is automatically factually correct." It means "sell what people want to buy."

ChandlerBingsThirdNipple Tue 15-Apr-14 09:23:52

Totally agree with you.

I work in retail - I've been sworn at, shouted at, threatened, insulted and told I was stupid. Last week, a customer asked me if I we had something in stock - I went to check and we didn't, so I told her (she seemed like a naice middle class lady) and she said "I might as well have gone to fucking Tesco - you're useless" hmm

Yes, because us running out of a product that I don't have the ability to order is totally my fault.

LucySnoweShouldRelax Tue 15-Apr-14 09:26:57

The thing is, not being an entitled so-and-so and coming out with "the customer is always right" doesn't mean never complaining, if there is an issue. Some people don't seem to realise that you can complain in a pro-active, straightforward way, without having to make another person's day miserable (or, almost as bad, the super-smiley passive aggressive school of complaining. Shudder.) A lot of complaints at my place have turned into lovely interactions with people, (a drink on the house can often work wonders) as long as someone isn't swearing in your face about too much gravy on their Sunday roast.

My own personal least favourite, though, are the customers who just treat you like you aren't there. Don't return your hello, just point at what they want (in a pub here), leave the money on the counter and not in your hand, maybe a grunt of thanks if you're lucky while they go back to their phone. Sorry if this sounds exaggerated, but it's dehumanizing and it's horrible.

nicename Tue 15-Apr-14 09:27:48

I have found, however, that customer facing staff are getting more and more rude/assertive themselves!

When I worked in a store waaaay back, we had to be polite to customers, smile and nod, and not take any poo from them (if anyone was rude or aggressive, we would send the manager to them). We did say that 'the customer is always daft'. I do hate the 'I pay your wages, so can be obnoxious' types though. Maybe customers are ruder now than back in the day.

I have had words - mainly call centre staff - and I really never ever ever 'start' an argument.

Last one was when a utility customer service bod called me a liar (he used that word). Someone was supposed to read out meter, dbut idn't turn up (I was working at home all dyd and he couldn't have been missed). Missing meter reader apparently told the company that he wasn't given access to the building (again, poo as the builders were in the block that day, so the main doors were wedged open). My customer no-service said that they were going to cut us off. When I said 'I'm going to move my account - this isn't fair' he said 'good, on you go then!'.

The nicest by far are First Direct.

EatDessertFirst Tue 15-Apr-14 09:29:56

YANBU. I agree totally. Its surprising how entitled some customers think they are. Like PP having worked in pubs and retail for 15 years I have been shocked over and over again at how disgustingly some people behave towards staff (normally in these industries just being paid minimum wage) that are just trying to do their jobs.

It is more often than not the naice ones that have the vilest attitudes as well.

LucySnoweShouldRelax Tue 15-Apr-14 09:31:43

I just realised that sounds really sorry for myself. I consider myself quite lucky really, I work in a lovely place, where 95% of the customers are great. They've brought us back chocolates from their holidays, left £20 behind the bar for drinks on my birthday, helped me find an out-of-print book as a gift. Bar work isn't glamourous, but I get my afternoons free, try loads of great beer and I think the horrible customers only stay in my mind because most are fairly sound.

All hope is not lost, people!

Pipbin Tue 15-Apr-14 09:38:50

But I have to say that the nice customers far outweigh the arseholes. But it's the arseholes who leave you in tears that you remember.

Cupid5tunt Tue 15-Apr-14 09:40:38

anyone who trots that out is a cunt

Hit the nail on the head there grin

ACatCalledColin Tue 15-Apr-14 09:45:42

The Customer is Always Right

Yeah, a right pain in the arse.

TheFarceAndTheSpurious Tue 15-Apr-14 09:49:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ArmyDad Tue 15-Apr-14 09:49:41

I am having a minor dong-dong with McDonalds at the mo. Youngest likes mayo not ketchup on her food. McD have mayo behind the counter. Although getting that mayo is nigh on impossible. Unless you order something that comes with it. I haven't been rude but would really like to know ehat company policy is that they won't put it with the ketchup.

LucySnoweShouldRelax Tue 15-Apr-14 09:52:20

TheFarce I can guarantee that's because you're probably a sound and decent person too. Niceness breeds niceness, I swear!

unlucky83 Tue 15-Apr-14 09:53:15

Same here - experience from the service end...
I used to work in an expensive restaurant and we had a table of (entitled) idiots that were taking the piss...
Rude to the waiting staff, stupid complaints sent their main course back for being salty and had obviously emptied the salt cellar on it.
General manager had to get involved. He was fantastic. He told them to pay for what they'd had and leave. The ring leader kept saying 'the customer is always right' you can't do that. The GM just said quietly not this time and I can - leave grin. They refused to pay, GM threatened to call police. They left - and threw a wad of cash on the table - more than it would have cost to pay for their meal - probably thought they were making a statement hmm. We were just glad they'd gone. Several other customers who had witnessed part of it then congratulated and sympathised with the even they didn't think the customer was always right.
I did find in general though being really really overly nice to obnoxious customers the best way to go - they are usually so self absorbed they don't realise you are taking the piss out of them and making them look like complete arseholes ...and go off happy!

nicename Tue 15-Apr-14 09:53:17

Company policy is a pain in the backside. Remember in Ye olden days when rules ciuld be overridden?

BumPotato Tue 15-Apr-14 09:53:57

Don't bother having a ding dong with McDs, take your business elsewhere.

SouthernComforts Tue 15-Apr-14 09:56:22

I have to pay a higher life insurance premium because I work in a dangerous job. As a barmaid.

I judge people massively on how they treat bar staff, waiting staff and shop assistants.

My motto is "the customer is sometimes just a cunt"

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