‘The customer is always right.’ Ah, that time-old Americanism that just brims with sickly capitalist positivity. The theory that no matter what the customer wants, the customer will get. And yet anybody who works in retail will understand when I say this is the biggest load of nonsense since Theresa May’s dancing buffoonery at the recent Tory conference. Why? Because people are horrible. It is this awful phrase that has given people the right to flaunt their own stupidity and rudeness – but I have a theory to fight the madness.
Before we begin, I’m going to issue a thank you message. To all of you who work at Argos, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Primark, Frankie and Benny’s, TGI Fridays, KFC, Debenhams, Wetherspoons and in any other minimum wage job that forces you to deal with the general public, I salute you. You are what makes this country great. Yes, you will be paid far less than you are worth, work more hours than you should and will have questioned the capitalist agenda more than Marx and Engels themselves. But you aren’t forgotten.
For every time you’ve gone to ‘look in the back’ to escape a mardy customer; for any time your boss has completely gone over your head to appease Angry Karen; for when you have remained calm when Grumpy Graham informs your manager they should get better staff; when a family of eight order at separate times; when Bob and Marie complain about their food after finishing most of it; when any middle aged woman suddenly decides at age 47 that life owes her, and won’t listen to anybody ‘young enough to be my son’; for when they act creepily nice when complaining, as if they’re doing you a favour; for when anyone decides to intimidate you; and for all those Saturday mornings when you’d sooner juggle scorpions than do a nine hour shift on the till… I thank you.
You ought to be the leaders of tomorrow, the thinkers of today. You know how The People work, on the ground floor, so to speak. You have the experience of dealing with that tone annoying customers always seem to have, the tone which says ‘I know I’m a pain in the arse but can you just-’ It’s insufferable and just allows people to be complete idiots, which leads me to my idea:
The Customer is Never Right. Think about it for a second. Let common sense prevail and weed out the obtuse and moronic alike. My idea will be slow to take off at first, naturally. But, given time, maybe one day in the near future, when there are ten people in the queue and Derek decides his hot chocolate isn’t chocolatey enough, you could direct him to the big sign next to the till which says: The Customer is Never Right.