The Customer is Always Right Must Die: Part I

The Customer is Always Right Must Die: Part I

The customer is always right card. Please leave home without it.

Everything in life has to do with making the right choices.

For example, my evening began with two simple choices.

Option #1 was to pick up some take-out food for my wife and me and enjoy a quiet Friday night inside watching a movie. A perfect way to end a fairly stressful week.

Option #2 was to take a detour 15 miles out of my way (which in Los Angeles is like an hour) to use a $50 gift card towards the purchase of $300 digital camera that I’ve been drooling over for months.

Little did I know at the time that if I decided to choose option #2, I would have to come face-to-face with TCIAR once again. Unlike option #1, that would be the absolute worst way to end a fairly stressful week.

What’s TCIAR, you’re wondering? Don’t worry, I’ll explain shortly—but I’m sure that you figured it out already.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I love gadgets like a crack addict loves crack, so of course I chose option #2.

After battling L.A. traffic for a mere 30 minutes—which is actually pretty good—I arrived in the surprisingly wide-open parking lot of a very large and well-known department store. With my $50 gift card in hand, I sped inside the store with a single-minded precision usually reserved for drug-sniffing dogs that are on those late night cop shows.

After a fairly easy search, thankfully, my camera was in stock and in the color that I was looking for too. And if that wasn’t enough, as an added bonus, the price was even $40 less than what was advertised! Perfect.

Well, almost.

Although I was feeling pretty good about my luck up until this point, what happened next was something that I could not have possibly prepared myself for. 

The Face of The Customer is Always Right

As I walked up to the cash register ready to pay for my new toy, I couldn’t help but to notice a tall, thin, blonde-haired woman in a pinstriped business suit who looked mad as hell about something. Like “Looney-Tunes-cartoon-steam-coming-out-of-both ears” mad. The only reason why I couldn’t help but to notice this lady was because she practically knocked me over so that she could get into the checkout line before I did.

No big deal, I reasoned to myself. I’ll let this bootleg Suze Orman-lookin’ wannabe cut in front of me. Besides, she doesn’t even have anything in her cart. She’ll probably be done in a minute or two and then I can finally go home.

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s the second bad decision that I’ve made so far.

That’s when it happened. The lady locked eyes with the helpless, college-aged young man who was unfortunate enough to be working at this particular cash register. Then without warning, like a black mamba attacking a hamster, she struck.

Dude didn’t stand a chance.

Angry lady: “Hey asshole! [Side note #1: yes, that’s how she started the interaction] You’re telling me that you don’t have any more Xbox’s in this store? I can’t believe this bullshit! Do you realize that I drove all the way from Brentwood to get here? [Side note #2: Brentwood is not very far from this store]. My son’s birthday is tomorrow, damn it! You know what—get out of my face you fat piece of shit. Just get your manager out here before you have a real problem on your hands! What are you still standing here for doughboy? I said GO!”

Wow.

Before I continue this story, in what universe is speaking to another human being in that manner okay? Seriously, pause for a moment. It’s not like she was being told that her son was removed from the waiting list for a new kidney, it’s about a freaking Xbox!

How would you react if someone spoke to you like that?

How you would you react if someone spoke to your wife, husband, son, or daughter like that?

So what do you think happened next? Here’s a quick test to see how much you really know about how these situations often get resolved in the real world. To make it interesting, I’ll give you five choices:

  1. The employee instantly recalled all of his best customer service training and had the screaming lady eating out of his hand in less than 5 minutes.
  2. The employee got his manager, who then told the screaming lady to immediately apologize to the employee—which she did.
  3. The employee called security who immediately escorted the screaming lady out of the store.
  4. The employee punched the screaming lady in the face.
  5. None of the above.

Made your choice? Don’t continue forward until you do. The answer might shock you.

(Disclaimer: If you’ve worked in customer service for longer than a week, the answer won’t shock you at all because you likely already know the answer. Humor me for a little bit, and keep reading).

Back to the story…

Visibly shaken, the cashier briefly looked like he was fighting back tears when he slowly lowered his head and shuffled pitifully to the customer service desk and feebly motioned for his manager to assist him.

Meanwhile, the screaming lady kept raving to anyone within earshot about how there was NO WAY that she was walking out of that store without her Xbox because there’s NO WAY that her son is going to miss out on anything, especially on his birthday.

Unfortunately for this woman’s son, he already missed out on having a sane mother to raise him, but that’s another story.

The Critical Mistake

Just at the moment, almost as if he was shot out of a circus cannon, the manager flew over to the woman and cheerfully said “good evening ma’am. I was told that you asked to speak to a manager. Is there anything that I can help you with?”

“Ugh, what took you so damn long? Look, I need a Xbox for my son’s birthday, and you’re going to get it for me now! Don’t you people understand that it’s your job to satisfy the customer? Don’t you understand that the customer is always right?? Shit, that is Customer Service 101, for crying out loud…”

Just to set the context here–the entire front of the store came to a complete standstill as this woman went crazy. Pretty much everyone who was in line to wait for a cashier (including me) stopped what they were doing and watched anxiously to see how the manager was going to handle this.

I almost lost myself in this interaction and felt like I was watching my favorite NFL team line up to kick the game winning field goal in the Super Bowl. But instead of saying “c’mon man, make it, pleeeeeeeeeeeease make it,” I was repeating silently to myself “c’mon man, do the right thing, pleeeeeeeeeeeease do the right thing…”

He didn’t. Wide left.

“Ma’am, unfortunately we are out of Xbox’s at this store, but I did call one of our nearby stores and they will have one waiting for you at the customer service desk. Does that work for you?”

What I thought was a more than reasonable response by the manager didn’t seem to fly at all with this woman.

“Shit! Now I have to drive to another damn store? This is ridiculous. My plans for tonight are going to be ruined! What are you going to do for me to make this right?! I’m expecting something for all of the bullshit that I’ve had to deal with from you and your clueless staff tonight.”

I couldn’t believe the nerve of this woman. Seriously?? Was she for real?

It was about to get much worse.

“I understand ma’am and I truly do apologize. You’re right, the customer is always right and we’re committed to doing whatever we can to keep you as a loyal customer.”

At this point, the manager lowered his voice before he leaned closer to the woman to deliver the worst line of the night, “Please accept this $50 gift card for your trouble, and again I’m sorry that you have to drive to another store for your Xbox.”

Wait. Wha-wha-whaaaaaaaaaat??? Since we’re on the topic of video games, I had a burning desire to rapid-fire kick this manager gutless coward in the face repeatedly like Chun-Li.

Without as much as a “thank you” the screaming lady coldly snatched the $50 gift card out the manager’s hand and walked past the line of horrified customers who just witnessed her lose her mind over a video game system. A damn video game system. But before she left, she dropped one last gem of ignorance on those of us who watched everything unfold before our disbelieving eyes.

“See? There’s nothing more powerful than reminding these morons that the customer is always right,” she said with a self-satisfied smirk that killed a piece of my soul.

The Customer is Always Right is Alive and Well

We all know that it’s not smart to reward a tantrum with a child, so why are we so willing to do it with adults? This madness has to stop.

Let’s recap: a woman verbally abused a cashier over something that was completely out of his control, and instead of being held accountable for her inexcusable behavior, she is rewarded with:

  • Her Xbox, after a short drive to another nearby store.
  • A $50 gift card “for her trouble.”
  • Worst of all, a reinforced validation that the customer is always right (TCIAR) is 100% alive and well.

On the multiple choice quiz above, the correct choice is #5  for None of the Above, but like I said earlier, you already knew that.

Meanwhile, I stood in line slack-jawed holding a camera that I really wanted, and a $50 gift card that my wife spent her hard-earned money to give to me as a birthday gift.

Who knew that my wife could have saved herself some time and money and received a $50 gift card immediately just by cursing out the nearest cashier? Who knows, maybe if I followed through with my idea to “Chun-Li kick” the manager in the face I might have been able to walk away with a brand new digital camera for free.

What is wrong with this picture?

Is there actually truth to “the nice guy finishes last?” Whatever happened to common courtesy and manners?

My night was completely ruined.

The Birth of a Movement

I turned to the guy behind me in line, extended my $50 gift card, and asked, “you want this?”

After looking me up and down to ensure that I wasn’t some weirdo (people in L.A. don’t just give $50 gift cards to complete strangers), he happily accepted his free money.

As I placed my unpurchased camera on the counter and slowly started to walk out of the store, the new proud owner of my $50 gift card asked, “Hey man, why are you giving up a $50 gift card?  That’s free money bro!”

“You saw what I just saw, right?” motioning to the area where the incident between the screaming lady and the manager took place.

“Yeah, so?”

So??? Do I really need to break it down to this dude? It took ever fiber in my being not to shake this guy until his vertebrae rattled like a nickel in an empty soda can.

“I can’t financially support an organization that not only allows its employees to be abused by the customers, but actually encourages future abuse by rewarding the abusive behavior with gift cards. Didn’t watching that entire scene completely piss you off?”

For some inexplicable reason, I honestly thought that the man standing with me in line would also share the same disgust I did. I actually pictured us locking arms and marching through the store to begin the movement that would sweep the nation–the Death of the Customer is Always Right movement!

(Okay, I didn’t picture that because that would be stupid.)

But I did think that this guy would at least care enough about what he saw to support me in my disgust. Silly me.

“Yeah, but it happens everywhere. I work in a restaurant and I see it all the time. People can always pull out the Customer is Always Right card to get what they want—discounted food, free meals, you name it. There’s no sense in fighting it man, because there’s nothing you can do to stop it from happening. Just roll with it, it is what it is. But hey, thanks again for the gift card!”

Wow. Just roll with it? It is what it is? My WTF-meter was on the verge of exploding.

Score one for the “what’s-the-point-in-taking-a-shower? I’m-only-going-to-get-dirty-again” crowd. Why did I give this guy my gift card again?

Defeated, I walked back to my car thinking so many different thoughts.  Honestly, I was pissed off because I really wanted my camera.

As I was about to drive out of the parking lot, I noticed the college-aged cashier who was the victim of the screaming lady’s attack sauntering pitifully to his beat up car. He paused at the door of his car with his head down before he wiped his hand over his eyes, opened the driver’s side door, and slumped down inside his car and sobbed.

It was then that something in me snapped.

My heart broke for this kid. All he’s trying to do is earn a living and he has to deal with getting stomped in public by a woman wielding The Customer is Always Right card. I honestly don’t know what’s worse—when a customer says that insane phrase and believes it’s true or when a company person says it and believes it’s true.

Either way, I pretty much decided at that point that someone needs to rid the world of this mindlessly idiotic phrase once and for all. Immediately after that thought left my mind, I decided that the someone needed to be me.

Maybe there will be a movement after all.

So, how am I going to rid the world of TCIAR, you may ask? The Customer is Always Right has survived for over 100 years and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

As I said earlier, everything in life comes down to making the right choices, and I’ve made my decision. I’m going to do what any self-respecting person would do.

I’m going to kill it.

How? Click on the link to read Part 2 of The Customer is Always Right Must Die.

Shola

Shola

Founder of The Positivity Solution
Author, keynote speaker, and kindness extremist who is committed to changing the world by helping as many people as possible to live and work with more positivity.
Shola
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Comments

  1. That was a horrific experience to read about. I obviously don’t get out much because I have not seen a customer cursing at a cashier or other service professional like this. As a customer, I want to have great customer service, but I feel like many companies are not giving that to me. I certainly would never think of escalating my dissatisfaction to threats or name calling.

    • It was even more horrific to actually experience, believe me–I couldn’t believe my ears or my eyes. For that woman to think that it was okay to basically humiliate and de-humanize a kid that was half her age simply because the store didn’t have any Xbox’s in stock is beyond my ability to comprehend. I’ll never forget the look in that young man’s eyes when that woman was cursing at her. Never. But by far, the worst part was the manager basically rewarding her inexcusable behavior with a gift card. Pure insanity. Yes, some companies are not consistently providing good customer service, but I can’t think of any customer service scenario in the universe where that type of behavior is cool. As always Theresa, thanks for reading!

  2. I applaud you for walking and wish others had supported you!
    I work as teller in a bank and last week, one of our trainees asked a client for identification (so she didn’t give cash to the wrong person – that’s a good thing, right?) This woman started ranting and raving about how she had dealt with us for 30 years (my new colleague had been with us 3 days!) I stepped in to explain the policy and why we do it and she starts to tell us that the next thing we will want is for her to pull down her pants so we can verify her ass crack………..yes, a 50 year old woman talking crack!!
    I just looked at her and told her she was being very inappropriate……………she became the joke of the day and will forever be known as “ass crack lady”.

    There was another day that a different trainee was brought to tears because of the words of one crankpot and when he left the branch repeating “This is ridiculous” one of the clients looked at him and said “No, you are the ridiculous one.” So, to those of you who do stand up for us on the frontline of life – THANK YOU!

    I had one client that exploded on me one day (again, for doing my job!) and the next time he came in, he apologized to me. That man has earned my respect.

    Customer service can be a thankless job, that’s for sure and I hope that young man is able to find a job where he will be appreciated. If my manager ever did not back me up, I would quit on the spot – and I have!

    • KELLY!

      I swear, I feel like I know you even though we have never met! As someone who has held every front line position from fast food to a call center, I cannot even tell you how much I related to your comment. I will never understand why some customers get so annoyed by having to provide identification–it’s not like you’re asking them to scale Mt. Everest or something. Reach in your purse/man purse and pull it out–3 to 5 seconds tops, right? I mean seriously, would they rather you give their money, medical information, credit card info, (or anything else that is protected information) to someone else by mistake? Thank you for stepping up to Ass Crack lady and letting her know that her behavior was inappropriate. Your new colleague, this blogger, and many other front liners that you’ll never even meet want to fist bump and/or hug you for doing the right thing. Your comment is affirmation that I made the right decision to launch this blog in the first place.

      I love the fact that one of your clients stepped up like a BOSS to smack down the jerk who nearly made another one of your trainees cry. We cannot sit idly by and allow horrible behavior to continue unchecked. We just can’t. Whether we’re in management, a front liner, or even as a customer–if we see customers acting rudely and inappropriately we have to speak up and say something. My dream is that if enough people adopt this mentality, the behavior will eventually stop. That’s what I’m fighting for. There’s never any excuse for rudeness. Period. And if a customer does act rudely/inappropriately, he/she better come back in the next day (or sooner) like one of your clients did, and sincerely apologize.

      You’re right Kelly, customer service can be a thankless job–but I know one dude who thanks you and appreciates what you do **two thumbs pointed squarely at my chest**. Thanks for doing what you do and thanks for the comment!

      • We could go on the road Shola! I have so many stories!!!

        We see the same people day in day out and for the most part, this behavior is not characteristic of them. I really try to just sit back and think, “wow, something must have happened to them earlier today to make them snap like this.” Maybe they just saw their doctor and got some bad news….maybe they just lost their job….maybe……it still doesn’t excuse the behavior, but it helps me to not take it personally. I head to work each and every day with a smile on my face! My clients don’t know that I have a husband who hasn’t worked in 14 months, or child with a neurological disorder who has 3 tumors on his brain, a mother who is undergoing tests for lung cancer, a mother in law who was placed in a nursing home earlier this year well before her time or that I was just recently diagnosed with moderate depression (really? Me? Depressed? I wonder how that happened!). The fact is, we all have a story but we choose how we play it out in life! I really try to put a positive spin on each negative interaction, but for those I just can’t rationalize? She will never be Mrs. Smith in my mind again; she is ass crack lady!!!

        Have a great Sunday!

        • We should go on the road! The Kelly and Shola show kinda has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Maybe we could include the Ass Crack lady and make it a comedy routine! 😉

          Can I just say that I am a fan of yours? Really I am. I admire courage in the face of adversity, and for you to keep a smile on your face everyday when you have so many other personal challenges going on is the true definition of EPIC customer service. Some customers (not all mind you, just some) need to understand that front line employees don’t cease to be human just because they’re wearing a company uniform or answering the customer service telephone line. Front line employees have hopes, dreams, challenges, and frustrations just like everyone else on this planet. Like you said, just because Ass Crack lady or the other jerk you described in your first comment may be having a rough day, does not give them the right to treat you or your trainees like a piece of crap. Everything in life is a choice. Some people choose to lose their mind over being asked to do something simple that would protect them (i.e., pull out their ID) like the Ass Crack lady (ACL), and some people choose to remain positive and cheerful in the face of adversity that would have broken most people, like you. If being epic was an Olympic event, you’d already have the gold draped around your neck while ACL would be sitting at home not even qualifying to participate.

          We all have a lot to learn from you Kelly. I really hope that you stick around, girl–you are exactly the person I had in mind when I decided to launch this blog in the first place. Have an awesome Sunday and thanks for being you!

          • So Shola,
            I just had to let you know that ACL appeared at work today; as if she had never overreacted 2 weeks ago. I was, of course, very polite, but deep down, I was laughing in her face because of her ridiculousness!!!! 🙂

          • Hey Kelly! Talk about selective memory, huh? Isn’t it crazy how some customers seem to completely forget their ridiculous behavior? ACL might have forgotten what happened 2 weeks ago, but you, me, and everyone else reading never will 😉

            Props to you for staying professional, girl–I know that it must have taken a Herculean effort to keep a straight face!

  3. sandy boyer says:

    I too have always worked in some realm of customer service starting back when I was a baby of fifteen and worked as a waitress ina banquet hall to when I retired teaching nurses and ancilary staff about customer service. I could write a novella on Customer is always right bs and stories similar to yours and that poor college age young man. I had a doctor screaming at me at the nurses station one time over a form not being in the right portion of a patients chart (wasn’t even my patient!) and my boss stood there with her mouth hanging open but said nothing. I got suspended for one week for walking off and muttering under my breath, “what an asshole,” louder than I realized and he heard me. The boss lady said when I asked her why she didn’t say anything, “He’s the doctor”, doesn’t this have a siilar ring to it as customer always tight? Oh he is a doctor he can treat you like crap. Not this nurse. I hung up on a doctor for at screaming me over the phone because a lab he wanted wasnt ready and I hung up on him. He actually drove over to our nursing home from the hospital to find out who it was that hung up o him. I stood right in fron of him and said “that was me. And I’ll do it next time you yell at me too.” He actually apologized. Again it is all about respect and courtesy toward one another. Who do you think he wanted to take care of his sick mother a year later when she needed to go to a rehab center after her hip surgery? HA!!! The best and I mean BEST story I have for you is my moms. She worked in retail for thirty years. The stores policy was naturally, the customer is always right. She honest to God had a customer an older woman bring in several pair of womens underwear that were so obviously worn for at least a year, they had stains, holes in the crotch and the elastic was shot to hell and all stretched out on the waistband.. My mom told me she didnt even touch them just put them in a bag with a note for the manager. She also refunded the old ballsy woman her money back too! This store was around about a hundred years in the pacific northwest and finally went bankrupt in the 80’s.

    • Hey Sandy! Man, those stories are awful but also very familiar to many people who have ever worked in the service industry. I don’t care if a person is a triple board certified surgeon, a CEO, a celebrity, or your average grumpy guy/gal, they don’t have the right to treat people like garbage. The fact that your old boss didn’t step up and say something to the doctor is shameful, but also way too common. Clearly, we have some work to do in order to shift some deeply entrenched mindsets.

      Your mom’s story is just insane–I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, to be honest. Giving a woman a full refund on her nasty, dirty, skid-marked, year-old drawers (I’m guessing that she didn’t have the receipt either?) in the name of TCIAR is lunacy. I can’t say that I’m shocked that they went bankrupt though–good riddance. Obliging unreasonable requests only creates more unreasonable customers. Time to break the cycle. Thanks for the comment Sandy!

  4. Angelique says:

    Wow Shola,

    Great article and (frankly) a fresh perspective that never occurred to me. I’ve been on both sides of that coin, (though as customer, certainly not to that degree, but definitely enough to come off as a whiny brat.) – Boy this story will make me take pause for sure next time!

    At any rate, i can’t help but think people like the raving, entitled lunatic in your story is probably the type quick to undermine her son’s teachers in front of him as well. If the teacher attempts any sort disciplinary measures – you know the scenario. And so, I’m afraid this behavior or mentality is taught at an early age.

    • Hey Angelique–welcome to the blog! Thanks for the kind words about the post, it is greatly appreciated 🙂

      I’ve been on both sides of the coin too, but I’ve never seen someone quite as crazy as that lady in this post–she was completely out of control. I’ve been upset with the customer service that I’ve received, but I’ve never treated a customer service rep in a rude manner before. That’s just not my style. It’s always possible to get my point across without being a total ass.

      And you’re right, this is definitely the type of person who would undermine her son’s teachers in a heartbeat. This type of behavior is totally unacceptable, and I sincerely hope that drawing more attention to it will eventually get it to stop.

      Thanks for reading Angelique!

  5. I read your article, and frankly it made my blood boil to hear about how dispicable a grown woman can act when it comes to gouging free goods out of a company. With 8 years of food service experience, I’m no stranger to this mentality.
    But there are as equally loathsome stories where a company exibits a gross lack of customer service and no remorse for it. On the other hand, a TCIAR policy is intended to work from both sides, our victim in this scenerio, the cashier, could in theory just as easily go to her place of work (I assume she works based on the outfit you described) and dehumanize her with a barrage of personal insults in the name of customer service. At which point she would experience a similar walk of shame to her superiors office. I’m in no way condoning this behavior, fiscal gain SHOULD take a back seat to human civility always, but realistically that isn’t the world we live in. If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that women like the one in your story are a rare breed, few and far between, in my experience, the majority of us comport ourselves to the appropriate level of decorum in most public situations and don’t make unnecessary scenes.
    That being said, we live in a capitolistic society and the company from which your $300 camera still resides is probably making an anual gross profit margin of between 25-50% just for being the middle man, that kind of extortion doesn’t come without effort. Having a “can do” customer friendly reputation is one of the most effective ways of ensuring a business’ success, should it come at the expense of thier employees dignity? Certianly not, but with companies making so much off of the average person and corporations destroying our civil liberties, customer service is one of a few perks left to living in a money driven society. To me it seems by supporting this anti-TCIAR movement, we would be allowing these companies to not only enslave our time by having folks work menial jobs for marginal pay (which I’m sure is what that cashier made), make sizable profits off of items that are manufactured at a fraction of the cost they’re sold for, have the lions share of say in who runs our country, but also give them the right to treat their customers poorly. . . All for a cashier, who, in my opinion should have had the nerve to stand up for himself? I admire your sense of humanity, but as my therapist once wisely stated, “The only things in this world you can control is how you treat people, and how you allow other people to treat you”. Ultimately it sounds to me like just another unfortunate situation between individuals

    • Hey Korri! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! Yes, that lady was despicable–but sadly, in my years of retail, food service, call center, and now as a corporate trainer for thousands of front line employees, I can safely say that she’s not as rare of a breed as you might think. Disrespect, irrational rudeness, and inescapable entitlement are alive and well in our society. You’re right, in the world that we currently live in, human civility doesn’t have to take a backseat to fiscal gain. Interestingly enough, I believe that if more of us focused more on human civility (on both sides of the customer service counter), that it would have a very positive effect on many companies’ bottom lines. I’m convinced that we can live in a world where human civility is the #1 priority, and I’ll be here fighting that fight until my last breath leaves my lungs 🙂

      I do have to clear up one thing though. The anti-TCIAR movement isn’t about giving anyone the right to treat customers poorly–that’s the total opposite of it, actually. The death of TCIAR is about offering epic customer service to all customers, but when/if a customer crosses the line to becoming abusive, threatening, bullying (etc) then we must let them know that behavior is not acceptable EVER. I’m calling on companies to support their staff in the face of customer abuse and not to turn a blind eye to it in the name of making a quick buck. As for the cashier who should have had the nerve to stand up for himself–I think that’s easier said than done. If his company believes wholeheartedly in TCIAR, and he decided to stand up for himself, he could lose his job. That’s the reality. In order for real change to happen at work, more companies need to have the backs of their front line employees and support them against abuse. That simple shift would transform the amount of employee engagement overnight.

  6. Thanks for sharing such bitter incident. I was reading the comments, and I realize that, in fact, there is very few people in the community you describe that are not under a kind of anesthesia effect. I live at Buenos Aires, and of course that kind of people are everywhere, but i’ve seen people react against them, stopping them.
    In Chile it is most common to observe that kind of behaviour, but, still, I think there is more chance for the general public to stop the behaviour, or as the last resource, calling security personnel.

    You and your behaviour at the moment, and this blog too, are crucial to make the difference.

    • Hi Maru! Yes, it was definitely a bitter incident to observe, that is for sure. While it’s sad to hear that this type of behavior extends all over the globe, it’s also very refreshing to hear that there are many people who are willing to stand up against this horrific behavior all over the globe.

      I truly hope that this blog will make a difference, but I’m certain that with the help of wonderful people like you, we’ll make it happen faster than we ever imagined. Thanks for reading!

  7. I work in a customer service dept, I am often working 9hr days with petty breaks…why? Because as I sit down to a well-earned meal I am called down to deal with some shitty woman/man who has a serious attitude problem. I’ve had death threats even though I am also a college age girl! Grown men will threaten to hit me. Don’t get me wrong, a few mostly male customers will feel sorry for me and give me a few nice words to keep me going the rest of the day, but its short lived as the next person will scream at me personally because they are in a queue. Of course my boss will come along “sorry ma’am, let me give you a $10 gift voucher for the inconvenience…while I get no bonus for working more hours than a should, no breaks, and constant punishment for just trying to get by in the world. This is not the first job, nor will it be the last…but I tell you, I am feeling ill. The stress has broken me, I often find myself crying before a shift just to get it out so I don’t cry in front of a customer. But…they are always right.

  8. In short, what if her son was the one serving her at the cash register? Oh wait… she’s a good mother and her son would never be such a low-life in retail!

    At first I thought it’d be fitting to give the gift-card to the boy, but I understand your anguish. Here in Australia, it’s rather passively aggressive and if you’re a non-white in the less multicultural areas, you actually get treated worse as a customer.

    Perhaps the woman is going through a messy divorce and in a broken way, trying to earn her son’s love. Everyone’s a victim in this scenario. There’re no winners, but we can all do something. Everyone of us is a provider and a customer of something!

    • Hey Fiona! I agree, there were no winners in that scenario–it was absolutely horrible to watch. It’s true that I have no clue what that woman may be going through, but there is no excuse for how horribly she treated that young man that day–it was beyond cruel. Like you said, we can ALL do something, and hopefully raising awareness of this kind of behavior is a start 🙂

  9. My heart broke reading this.

    YOU are awesome. And while I’ve NEVER acted in that way, I do believe as a customer, if a company wants my business they do need to treat me with respect. If that doesn’t happen, then I’m taking my money somewhere else. But even at my angriest, I would never treat anyone like that! (Ok kid needing an organ transplant, yeah maybe but thank God that’s never happened).

    Reading on…..I love your brother’s blog, I’m not surprised I love yours too 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Crafty Angel! Yes, that scene at the department store was a horrible sight, to put it mildly. I’ve received some absolutely abysmal customer service in my life, but I would never, ever consider treating anyone like that woman treated that kid. Like you said, I’ll just take my money elsewhere. Thanks for reading!

  10. Ok so I totally agree with the “Customer is always right must die” Message .
    I was recently bullied by a Customer over lunch meat of all things. I’m tired of my bosses always sticking up for and rewarding abuse from our customers . believe me my abusive customer day before yesterday was not the first. For instances, a co-worker of mine had a lady actually throw a bag of lunch meat at her. What did our boss do? Nothing!
    How is it ok now days for people to mistreat other humans at their workplace? I really don’t understand why anyone, bosses included, would be ok with this behavior? Would you let this happen to your family in a public place and be ok with it and actually apologize to the person abusing you? Come on people! I totally agree that this workplace rule needs to go. 🙂

  11. I’m allergic to stupid customers, and a symptom of that is I break out in fits of laughter when they act like douchebags. If they had a bad day, and take it out on me / us, I actually enjoy making them feel worse, make them feel as worthless as they are. I’m talking Ted Buckland from Scrubs worthless!
    I work at a thrift store and we get some high-end merch somtimes, but it usually gets damaged by low-end shoppers. So low end, Jeff Foxworthy joke-type Rednecks make fun of them.
    In fact… `Customer Is Always Right’ is just an excuse to act… evil. I don’t mean comical evil like Stewie from Family Guy. I mean Hitler evil. KKK / Gangbanger / Lawyer evil.
    I’ll clean up after customers, maybe answer a question or two… but if it gets abusive… I’ll shoot the scumbag shopper in the face with a hatred bazooka. “You don’t know what the sale is, you’re pathetic!” / “Heh at least I don’t do meth. Can YOU say the same.??? I bet not. HAH!”

  12. I agree with your despair at the lack of manners and the response, but I guess when I break down in my mind, I just keep thinking of how miserable that person must be. I don’t think she should have been given a gift for the behavior, but how much more suffering would she have doled out if she had been thwarted. I keep remembering Miss Manners and how she said “get out of the way” of people like that. What we can and should do is repair the damage to the hurt ones though. The cashier should be comforted by those around him, the boss should allow the person insulted to take a break and acknowledge that the solution wasn’t ideal and it wasn’t alright for them to be treated that way. That’s the part that bothers me. Give her a gift card and get her out of the store, I don’t care about that. For all I know she could be armed and dangerous, so I am all for the most expeditious way for her to exit with her toxicity. I am more worried that as a society we all stand back and watch that go down without solidarity. There are consequences for that behavior for her, even though they aren’t apparent. She has lost her dignity, respect, and self-image in that action. She doesn’t just get to be right and walk out. She gets to be horrifying and that breaks her too. We can’t stop people from doing mean things, but we can control how we respond to those who are hurt, protect people from being hurt, and show some solidarity in adversity. My two pennies!

  13. What a horrible witch… I wish security had escorted her out instead. I wish someone, even just a bold customer, could have throw it into her face what kind of mother she must be to wait last minute to get a her child an important gift for his birthday that was supposedly *the next day*.

    What are the chances though that the whole act was a con? Maybe she purposely looked to see if the store was all out it – or looked for something they were out of – just so she could throw a fit and try to get something for free. Maybe she figured out the system that if she acts like an arrogant, abusive, entitled, selfish bitch she will be rewarded. I wish her timely karma.

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