Sandwich Talk Friday - Chicken Salad (@ Ruby's Café)

The Customer is always Right, Right?

The customer is always right. That is, unless the cashier decides the customer is actually not right at all.

It baffles me that some silly folks still, when upset by a particular transition, whip out the dustiest axiom (or is it a maxim) of all: “Well…the customer is always right!” Uh, you’re going to lie to me, try to cheat me, attempt to steal from me, and treat me like garbage, yet, you’re the one who is right in this transaction. Sorry, “always right” – in perpetuity.

What does that ill ass phrase mean anyway? [Who cares?!]

As “trading policy that states a company's keenness to be seen to put the customer first,” I get it. You want people to feel as if they are not only being treated fair, but that they are actually holding the cards in this long-standing commercial power-struggle. You want people to feel that way so you can enjoy some or all of their money. But, it’s just another con. It’s another lie like, “Where the customer is king, “ or “putting clients first,” or even, “Guaranteed best deal in town!” (Or “Coldest beer in town” – Ha! I like my beer just cooler than room temperature – I win!) And, for some reason, people believe (or believed) that nonsense.

Who has the power? Ultimately, it could be argued that the people can vote with their wallets or feet, or however that one goes, and not patronize an establishment. That’s the war, though. But, remember, we live in an era of never-ending war. So, wars are irrelevant anymore. It’s now the battles, people. And, in the battle between cashier and customer, the cashier holds all the power. Repeat: All. The. Power. Seriously. And, who has the attention span for war anyway?

I have worked – from time to time – at a variety of customer service jobs. I’ve worked in an ice cream truck, a video store, in the pizza making and delivery industry, and at a burrito shack. I’ve also worked for a large bookseller. You know, one of the big ones. Bigger. That’s the one. I worked in a variety of functions there, from shipping and receiving to cashier. I know the bottlenecks – the places where the clever commerce jammer can grind commerce to a halt – I know were the power resides.

So next time you’re closing in on fed up due to a cashier with an attitude (whether dumber than you, smarter than you, incompetent, or trying to fuck with you) remember you can either go somewhere else (and waste another half-hour in travel and parking and hassle time) or whip out: “The customer is always right!” Like that’ll do something for you.

Maybe call for the so called "manager"…yikes.