The Customer Is (NOT) Always Right (Pt. 1 of 2)

When did this foolishness start? When and how did we arrive at this general level of disrespect and disdain for food service attendants? When did we draw the conclusion that it was acceptable to talk to people any old kinda way? When did we start throwing food? Cursing people out for simple mistakes? Casting racial epithets? Assaulting innocents?

With the advent of the smart phone, today’s society is now better-informed, so we can’t indubitably complain that this type of activity hasn’t happened before (if you’re old enough to remember, the world was brought to a screeching halt when the Rodney King police brutality video made headlines, but like comedian Eddie Griffin said, “That ain’t nothin’ new to black folks”).  On the other hand, it IS presumable that the inclusion of multimedia in cyberspace is an inspiration for much of our over-the-top behavior. I mean, hey – All the world’s a stage, right?

Cyberspace.  Good ollllld cyberspace. 
What is it about a camera that makes us act like-

Wait, let me get back on topic before I begin my diatribe against humanity and how we took the promising discovery of atomic energy and created the atomic bomb.

As I was saying, the customer is NOT always right, and in this case, I’m keying in on conduct.

My son often works the drive-through window at a fast food restaurant in a highly-trafficked area.  Unfortunately, it’s on a road that eventually leads to the heart of a city known for its fair share of racism (particularly from the elderly).  And while no one has called him or his co-workers the n-word, he’s told me some of the more interesting things he’s heard there short of that word, particularly during rush hour and at night.  I applaud him for keeping his composure and exhibiting the highest levels of professionalism.  We raised him that way.  But me, I’m also a walking contradiction.  I would handle some of his situations in a less-than-professional manner and snatch people through my flippin’ drive-through window.  And God help anyone I come across, talking to my son (or his co-workers) like that while I’m visiting his location.

…cause I don’t work there.  You know the rest.

In fairness, I should acknowledge that there are people who DON’T need to be in the food service industry.  Sometimes, it just ain’t in sync with their personality or their desire to perform at a greater level than their pay dictates.  I get that.

But this ain’t about them.

Today, it’s all about the people who work HARD to service and please those who don’t give a damn (about them) in return.  

It irritates me to no end when I see someone yelling at a server in a restaurant, then demanding to see their manager, looking for heads to roll and jobs to be lost. Over the most infinitesimal things…

Yes, the restaurant was busy and the crew was understaffed that day.

Yes, your server lost track of her rotation and forgot to check on you as frequently as she did others.

Yes, there was a miscommunication between the order and the cook and items were placed in your meal that were previously requested removed.

Yes, there’s a good list of things that can fall short of our expectations and satisfaction. But they can almost always be rectified immediately.

But wait.  The title of this post is “The Customer is (NOT) Always Right”.  So whose side am I taking?  Well, let me throw the brick this way…

Ok, so your server has gone missing.  Kindly get the attention of another and ask for what you want and/or tell them that you haven’t seen your attendant.  Silverware is spotty? Let them know and ask for a cleaner set.  Order is wrong? Tell them.  More often than not, if something goes terribly awry, they will discount your meal or offer it for free.  In fact, they’re prepared for it. 

The business ideology is that for every unsatisfied customer, there are 7 people that almost immediately hear about it.  And that expands exponentially. Nowadays, with cyberspace, tens of thousands are made aware with a simple social media post. This is why they keep compensatory coupons for “one free meal” on deck.  You might have to ask, but trust me, they’re not losing sleep (or serious money) by compensating you.  In fact, there’s a good chance that the manager will work his or her way around the tables and ask how everything’s going to prevent this.  So if you are dissatisfied with the food or service, you can request a manager, fill out a survey or even call to discuss it.  But there’s no need to blow a gasket.

Now, about you “losing your mind in public”: I’m sorry, but try as I might to be professional in my blog posts, permit me to get “ghetto” for a moment:

“Bitch, CALM yo’ ignorant ass DOWN before you catch these hands.  Your rabid display ain’t impressing anybody!”

Woo-sahhhhh.  That felt gooood. No, that wasn’t directed at females (I don’t and won’t call a woman the “B” word. Maybe “heifer” – just kidding).

But Kenny, it’s a restaurant.  They should know they’re going to have angry customers so they need to be more careful, kind and considerate! 

Uhhhh, no.  That’s the equivalent of telling a girl to wear a turtle neck and corduroy pants without makeup because perverts and sexual predators are everywhere.  Servers are SUPPOSED to be “careful, kind and considerate” because it’s part of their job, not for fear of some “jackhole”.  Having thick skin is a plus in this industry, but customers don’t have the right to gauge the density of it and assume they can speak and act however they wish to people because “they can take it”.  Or worse, verbally/physically assault them in spite of it.  So, sorry…  No.

NEWS FLASH! 

These are imperfect HUMAN BEINGS: with feelings, and more important, temperament.  How much more do you need to be told?

You, as a customer, have a right to receive exemplary service and the best product possible; but in that same breath, they have a right to be treated with dignity and respect.  These are people, just like you, just trying to earn a living.  And many (note, I didn’t say ALL) of them are doing their best to give you both what you deserve and what you’re paying for.  If you’d like an additional cheat code (or hint) on how to conduct yourself, keep this in mind…

The kinder you are to them, the greater the perks. 

Try this non-restaurant story on for size. We rented a car for Memorial Day weekend. Although we reserved it electronically, when I arrived I was told that one wasn’t available.  She said there was a cut-off time, at which point, online reservations were not guaranteed (unbeknownst to me).  She also explained that Memorial Day was the busiest car rental day of the year and they run out of cars often, angering many.  Me? I didn’t get angry, although it was obvious that I was surprised and a bit frustrated.  I calmly told her that I understood and wanted to know what my options were.  She said she could try to get one from the airport if I was willing to wait 45 minutes to an hour.  I smiled and said that I would, figuring I could negotiate a discount, considering my inconvenience.

Shortly after I took a seat, another customer approached the counter and in seconds, went supernova on her upon learning that his reservation wasn’t available.  The airport guaranteed him (30 days prior) that THIS location would have a car waiting for him, which she explained they weren’t permitted to do.  As the angry customer continued yelling at the patient attendant, he took out his phone and called the person who originally placed the reservation and THIS person demanded that she be put on the phone.  The attending customer handed her the phone and after about 10 seconds of his invisible friend’s cellular rant, the agent interrupted with, “This conversation is over” and handed it back to the customer in front of her. 

Let’s just say he left angry and unsatisfied. 

Me? Not only did I get my car (after only a 30-minute wait), she upgraded me to an SUV at no extra charge, seeing that I was large-framed and healing from knee surgery.  She escorted and assisted me during the vehicle inspection, then physically helped me into the car.  She even told me she’d pray for my comfort for the duration of the trip.  As a gesture of thanks, I promised to contact Corporate Headquarters and extend my praises for her performance.  And I did.

As always, I could go on and on about this, but for now, that’s it. Just know that I have the same level of patience in restaurants and it’s paid off in ways you can’t imagine, just by me saying, “I understand”. And if you’re dissatisfied, by all means, let them know. But remember, half of the time you’re speaking to someone who isn’t responsible for the issue.

Treat ’em like you wanna be treated.  Yes, “The customer is always right”, but ya AIN’T got the right to indignify anyone trying to do their job.  Separate the situation from the person and I’m sure you’ll get what you want and need before the day is done.

Now, just in case you still can’t comprehend just how “human” these people really are, (click here) Part 2 is just for you.

And be ye forewarned – Folks ain’t havin’ it.

Be sure to leave a comment and subscribe to my page for immediate notification of my wild conclusion. I promise you, it’s about to go, DOWWNNNNN…

6 comments

  1. I think it’s sad these days. I don’t remember it being this bad growing up or when I was a young adult. We value our fellow man less and less as time passes. Thank you so much for reading and your comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would love to know what was said to that agent to make her end the conversation THAT fast. Must’ve been something truly ridiculous or vile. Some people just have zero couth.

    Liked by 1 person

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