Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Customer Entitlement, The Customer Is Not Always Right

As many of you know, I used to work retail. I have worked a lot of retail. I have worked in positions ranging from overnight to early morning stocking, to sales floor, to register, to management. I have known the madhouse that is Black Friday from the salesperson standpoint. I have known the wrath of a customer who is upset because they can’t return their DVD or CD after they ripped a copy and tried coming up with an excuse that the flawless disc can’t play in their player and wants a refund, even though every retailer out there will only do an exchange for the same title.
Yes, I am used to the customer attitude that they are a precious, unique snowflake, and they are not bound by the rules and policies that apply to any situation but theirs.
You see, people blindly believe in the saying that “The customer is always right.” I have NEVER worked at a retailer that has that slogan, and I have never worked with a retailer that has that slogan posted anywhere. In fact, I have had to blatantly inform customers that they are, in fact, wrong.
You see, when a customer comes in with a simple request or a simple problem, most retailers will do what they can to work with you. They will replace your product, occasionally offer a discount on another product, or generally just try to work with you to solve your problem.
However, if you come in with something completely insane, or if you come in looking to pick a fight, your request is going to be rightfully ignored, and you do, in fact, stand the chance of being mocked by your fellow customers.
I couldn't make this example up if I tried.
If you come into a store with a game system that is covered in dirt that looks like an animal has chewed through the cables, in a water-stained (at least, I hope it was water) box and no receipt, acting all offended that we sold you this system last week, don’t act insulted when I look you in the eye and politely tell you you’re full of bull. Especially don’t act offended when it’s a game system we haven’t sold in the years I’d been at the store, let alone in the last week, and if I had any boxes that looked like that, they would have been written off as a loss long before it made it to the sales floor.
And yes, this person tried dropping “The customer is always right” on me during his tirade against me, after which I told him he was not a customer, as he did not purchase the item from us, and he was just trying to take money from us instead. Further on, he was welcome to contact the district manager, but unless I heard from him, he was not allowed back in our store. At that point, when the person realized I wasn’t losing my temper, and I was actually grinning and trying hard not to laugh, he packed up his gear and left.
People like this always just made me shake my head, and then laugh about them with the next customer in line.
Another person that always throws me off are those demanding discounts. Sure, I’ve worked places that provide discounts for people who are seniors, or active duty military, or members of AAA, but not everyplace does that. Yet, for example, I have seen people demand a senior discount at places that very clearly state they don’t offer such a thing, and then act hurt that they don’t get one. I’ve also seen the same from active duty military, except they will get even more indignant and drop the phrases “patriotism” and “for your country.”
Yeah, you know what? I’m glad that you’ve lived to be an old coot, but that doesn’t mean you get a discount. And if you enlisted so you could get a few cents off your order, then buddy, I’m not rewarding you for your messed up priorities. If you don’t like it? Write in to corporate. Write a blog post, start up a Facebook, and stage a boycott. We all know how well THOSE work, right? Perhaps on online petition will help. Who knows? Either way, the poor register jockey isn’t able to change the policy. Chances are, especially if you’re being a giant bag of douche about it, the manager won’t bend the policy. So just chill out about the entitlement discounts, okay?
Remember, folks: Don’t be a dick, especially to your service workers. Unless they are being a total dick to you, then have at it!

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