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Author Topic: Two Phrases that Destroyed American Culture
Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I don't normally do this, but I'm quoting this and linking to the site, and I have nothing to add. Truer words have never been spoken.

From ViolentAcres

quote:
The phrase ‘The Customer is Always Right’ is the single worst philosophy that has ever been adopted by American culture. It gave an entire generation of people the green light to be as impolite, unreasonable, and demanding as their little hearts desired because they were always going to be considered right.

Speaking of respect, another idea that has ruined American culture is the one that states, ‘I don’t give respect freely.

I mean, how egotistical does one have to be to automatically assume that their respect is so f*cking important that one must jump through multiples hoops in order to earn it?



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"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

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TwoGuyswithaHat
Happy Holly Days


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Having been a customer my entire life, and having worked in customer service till this point in my life I'd have to agree... customers are idiots.

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In politics, absurdity is not a handicap - Napoleon Bonaparte

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Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


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I'll jump on board with both of those, Joe.

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Check out my blog! http://fundiewatch.blogspot.com

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Sharpened Steel
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Does taking back respect count as not giving it freely? 'Cause I'll give my respect freely to people I meet, but I'll take it back if they've shown they don't deserve it (mostly the "Customer is Always Right" crowd and other rude people). That doesn't mean I treat them rudely, I just don't respect them anymore.

Otherwise, I totally agree, especially with the first one. I really wanna strangle people who use that as an excuse to be rude.

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Get used to his bad habits and decide whether you can put up with them...the rest of your life. 'Cause if you don't, then one day, you find yourself in the shed, sharpening the axe and idly wondering how thick the human skull really is.
-ChickyBee

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Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Sharpened Steel:
Does taking back respect count as not giving it freely? 'Cause I'll give my respect freely to people I meet, but I'll take it back if they've shown they don't deserve it (mostly the "Customer is Always Right" crowd and other rude people). That doesn't mean I treat them rudely, I just don't respect them anymore.

From the Blog (And I happen to agree):

quote:
How about we give people respect because they are humans with lives and feelings just as important as our own? Why not give people a default level of respect and more or less can either be won or lost based on the behavior of the individual in question? The loss of respect is something that should be based on individual actions. The idea that that one must win basic respect in the first place is incredibly belittling. How narcissistic can you be to embrace that ideology?


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"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

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Sharpened Steel
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Ah. Well, I completely agree with that.

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Get used to his bad habits and decide whether you can put up with them...the rest of your life. 'Cause if you don't, then one day, you find yourself in the shed, sharpening the axe and idly wondering how thick the human skull really is.
-ChickyBee

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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I wholeheartedly agree with the substance of everything the article-witer said, but for me, the profanity weakened the message and stank, frankly, of hypocrisy. A tirade about the demise of basic respect ought to address its audience with more respectful language.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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HenryChicane
I Saw Three Shipments


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I think taking the phrase, "the customer is always right," to heart makes for really good customer service people, and really bad customers. Is that hypocritical?

I am in both roles regularly.

ETA: What I meant by that is that when I am acting as a customer service person I try to remember that the customer, no matter how much of an asshat they are, are the reason I get a paycheck, and deserve respect for that. When I am a customer, I try to remember how I feel when people treat me like crap, and remember that everyone has bad days and we are all flawed beings, so I treat them as I would be treated.

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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In my world giving people basic respect doesn't mean telling them off and calling them bitches.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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VersesBatman
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by HenryChicane:
I think taking the phrase, "the customer is always right," to heart makes for really good customer service people, and really bad customers. Is that hypocritical?

I am in both roles regularly.

ETA: What I meant by that is that when I am acting as a customer service person I try to remember that the customer, no matter how much of an asshat they are, are the reason I get a paycheck, and deserve respect for that. When I am a customer, I try to remember how I feel when people treat me like crap, and remember that everyone has bad days and we are all flawed beings, so I treat them as I would be treated.

Yes it's true they are the reason you get paid, but how much rude behavior should you have to put up with? I don't think having a bad day gives anyone the right to treat others badly.

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It's like they took a bunch of movies, put them in a blender and turned it on really fast!-Mystery Science Theater 3000

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Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Rhiandmoi:
In my world giving people basic respect doesn't mean telling them off and calling them bitches.

Exactly. No one is arguing that (generic) you as a consumer don't have the right to demand a certain level of respect from someone who you are paying to provide you a service. Nor does anyone seem to be suggesting that as a consumer don't have the right to complain to someone who is providing you poor service.

I'll even go so far as to agree that on some level that service provider/person receiving the service relationship isn't 100% equal and its okay to expect the service provider to "default" to the person receiving the service to a reasonable degree.

But yelling, screaming and insulting? That's unreasonable. No human interaction is that uneven. For cripe's sake Drill Sergeants aren't allowed to talk to their recruits like I've seen people yell as some poor 16 year old barista who dared give them a low fat soy latte with whipped cream when they clearly asked for a low fat soy latte with whipped cream and cinnamon.

The article I linked to before is right, a concept such as "The customer is always right" as the core philosophy of entire industry is just asking for trouble. There's enough idiots with over developed senses of entitlement who already think they are always right on their own out there without the largest segment of industry in the country agreeing with them.

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"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Joe, I was talking about the blogger yelling at another customer in the bagel shop.

Yes, Fur Coat woman was being a bad customer. But the blogger did nothing to discourage the use of rudeness in everyday interactions.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I go out to eat at least 3 times a month, go to coffee places with about the same frequency, and I do a whole lot of other shopping. Rare is the day I don't find myself at the grocery store picking up an essential item I suddenly ran out of. In those countless interactions, I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen a customer severely mistreat an employee. In fact, I can count it on one finger. I haven't seen evidence that customers are out-of-control rude.

I do see low-level snarkiness on both sides of the counter quite frequently. Those interactions seem to come less from "the customer is always right" than it comes from a sense of superiority and entitlement. It comes pretty equally from both sides of the counter.

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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TwoGuyswithaHat
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Starla:
I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen a customer severely mistreat an employee. In fact, I can count it on one finger. I haven't seen evidence that customers are out-of-control rude.

I've seen it happen a good number of times. I've had it happen to me a good number of times. If you want to see a sense of entitlement, have a seat in the lobby of a hotel on any given day.

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In politics, absurdity is not a handicap - Napoleon Bonaparte

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NancyFancyPants
Deck the Malls


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I know someone who lost a job because of a customer who's always right.

The customer showed up at the bakery 15 minutes after closing and wanted a cake - oh, and could you write on it happy birthday so and so. She told the woman that the bakery was closed and that everything was in the dishwasher, said sorry, and went about cleaning up. The woman emailed the manager and got the employee fired. Frankly, if this woman had her life better organized, she would not have needed to buy a cake and ask for on-the-spot writing on it after closing time. But...the customer is always right, even after the store is closed.

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And on the 7th day, God said, "Let there be lips!"

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
The customer showed up at the bakery 15 minutes after closing and wanted a cake - oh, and could you write on it happy birthday so and so. She told the woman that the bakery was closed and that everything was in the dishwasher, said sorry, and went about cleaning up.
Maybe she didn't deserve to be fired but I would have reprimanded her. If the store is closed the store should be locked. A customer coming in through an open door is going to expect service. Telling her "sorry chuckles" and going on cleaning wasn't the right response. Apologies were in order and then a personal escort to the door.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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NancyFancyPants
Deck the Malls


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It wasn't an open door; it was a bakery dept. of a grocery store. The lights and register were off, but the woman stood there until the employee came out of the kitchen to collect more dirty utensils. And her attitude was definitely not "sorry chuckles."

A reprimand, maybe. But I thought firing was kinda harsh.

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And on the 7th day, God said, "Let there be lips!"

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quiltsbypam
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Starla:
I go out to eat at least 3 times a month, go to coffee places with about the same frequency, and I do a whole lot of other shopping. Rare is the day I don't find myself at the grocery store picking up an essential item I suddenly ran out of. In those countless interactions, I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen a customer severely mistreat an employee. In fact, I can count it on one finger. I haven't seen evidence that customers are out-of-control rude.

I do see low-level snarkiness on both sides of the counter quite frequently. Those interactions seem to come less from "the customer is always right" than it comes from a sense of superiority and entitlement. It comes pretty equally from both sides of the counter.

I don't see it that often, but I live it. I'm a customer service rep for a daily newspaper. (I've probably said this a zillion times -- apologies if I'm repeating myself.) You would not believe what some people expect on a daily basis. I'll do my best to keep my temper. But after I've apologised for the missing/wet/not-in-the-sacred-place delivery and offered a credit for that day, then for a week, then for two weeks, I'll just pass 'em on to a supervisor if that's not enough. And most of the time, that nasty, condescending, swearing asshat is just as sweet as can be for the supervisor. [flame]

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"No Biblical hell could ever be worse than the state of perpetual inconsequence." Beatrice in Dangerous Beauty

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Sharpened Steel
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by TwoGuyswithaHat:
quote:
Originally posted by Starla:
I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen a customer severely mistreat an employee. In fact, I can count it on one finger. I haven't seen evidence that customers are out-of-control rude.

I've seen it happen a good number of times. I've had it happen to me a good number of times. If you want to see a sense of entitlement, have a seat in the lobby of a hotel on any given day.
Or work at an amusement park. People can get real snotty when you enforce rules that are for their safety.

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Get used to his bad habits and decide whether you can put up with them...the rest of your life. 'Cause if you don't, then one day, you find yourself in the shed, sharpening the axe and idly wondering how thick the human skull really is.
-ChickyBee

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Fantine
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
I've seen it happen a good number of times. I've had it happen to me a good number of times. If you want to see a sense of entitlement, have a seat in the lobby of a hotel on any given day.

quote:
Or work at an amusement park. People can get real snotty when you enforce rules that are for their safety.

Or work at a one-hour photo lab during the holiday or wedding seasons. It was a lot of fun trying to point out the prominently posted disclaimer that says I can't process quadruple prints from ten rolls of film in one hour to someone who decided to process their wedding snapshots at Target.

Man, I'm glad I'm not in retail anymore.

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"I was raised to be charming, not sincere."
--Cinderella's Prince, Into the Woods, by Stephen Sondheim

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Strawberry Limeade
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Fantine:
Or work at a one-hour photo lab during the holiday or wedding seasons. It was a lot of fun trying to point out the prominently posted disclaimer that says I can't process quadruple prints from ten rolls of film in one hour to someone who decided to process their wedding snapshots at Target.

Man, I'm glad I'm not in retail anymore.

Or, in a similar vein, to explain to people that the family portraits they waited until December 20th to have taken will not be in before Christmas. Or that all our images are processed in Reno, Nevada, not in the break room, therefore making it impossible for me to make them appear on demand. [Roll Eyes]

- Also thankful not to be working retail.

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"My artist statement is incomprehensible and therefore full of deep significance." - Calvin

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Pondicherry Pi
Deck the Malls


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Or try a pharmacy. I eventually began to work on the default assumption that every customer was going to yell at me at some point during our transaction.

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If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

What the NFBSK is Glurge? Or, a link to Snopes Lingo

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Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


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Those of you in retail, just remember my philosophy, back when I worked in a department store:

The customer who is yelling and screaming and making a scene isn't embarrassing anyone except himself. You can go right ahead with your day, lean back, and smirk a little to yourself knowing that the louder he screams, the stupider he looks.

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Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Not on a customer note:

I've never heard the one "I don't give respect freely."

Is this a common phrase? What exactly does it mean. I have an understanding of what I think it means, but I'm not sure.

[dunce]

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Lady Moon
Jingle Bell Hock


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Or work at a golf course. I've had balls thrown at me before from the "3 for $1 experienced balls" bucket for not breaking the POSTED rules and fees for their convenience.

One of the huge reasons I quit.

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"We've got a fifth member of the band round here, and he's DEFINITELY out of tune!" -- Keith Moon

"If I had a thousand quid for every time I've introduced this song --- oh, I do!" -- John Entwistle

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Kitsune26
The First USA Noel


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I do get amazed by the amount of entitlement junkies out there these days. Particulary around the holidays.

I had a lady call in at work that placed a super-last minute order at 5 PM today. The gifts had to arrive by Thursday (it's Wednesday).
In Miami (the company ships from Milwaukie, OR).
And she refused to pay for next day to get it by Friday.
The call pretty much ended with her screaming her lungs out that she knew the owner of the company and she was going to call him (the company was founded/ is owned by a lady. A very nice lady by the way) and have my ass fired because I was refusing to work with her because she was a woman (Really, what does that make me then ?) and she DESERVED respect from me because she was only trying to be a good Grandma to her grandkids by ordering them these expensive toys that they so very wanted and oh, can't I just please waive the fee and get it shipped so that it will arrive tomorrow ?
I'm pretty sure that she was beating breast and gnashing her teeth with anguish.
All this because I said "I'm sorry, but we can't ship the order out today, as the shipping department is closed until tomorrow morning. So the closest day we can get is Friday, using next day shipping. Now, your order is $________, so shipping is going to be $___________. No, I'm sorry but I can't waive the shipping. It's automatically added. No, there isn't a way to override it. Not even the supervisors can."

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I'm as giddy as a Japanese school girl in an octopus tank.

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Spooky Cactus
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Heh. I think I've struck a happy medium here. I don't give respect freely, but I also don't pretend it doesn't make me an asshole.

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'When the world is dead and gone, we will still be Rocking On!' (J.P.McCartney)

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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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I've always been told, 'Respect has to be earned'. Fair enough. Then in my first job I was spoken to in a manner from a more senior colleague and when I replied in similar fashion I was reprimanded by her. 'I can speak like that to you because I am more senior than you.'

(Happy ending: We are still very good friends. I don't bear grudges.)

Oh, and I was once told, 'Andrew you're always wrong - even when you're right.'

Ho hum, I should have been call Mat.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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One of my consistent pet peeves at my previous employer was the level of abuse that customer service people were expected to take from "internal customers," i.e., sales reps. My position was that when a sales rep became abusive with a CS rep, the CS rep should be able to politely end the conversation. I sincerely believed that should be our policy. In 11 years, I wasn't able to convince any senior or even middle-level management.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
[QB]
Speaking of respect, another idea that has ruined American culture is the one that states, ‘I don’t give respect freely.

I mean, how egotistical does one have to be to automatically assume that their respect is so f*cking important that one must jump through multiples hoops in order to earn it?

This became my number one peeve a few years ago, when our high school's band director was removed for dating a student, and replaced with a guy who was fresh out of college. A lot of the kids and their parents were quite angry at the removal of the former director, and took it out on the new guy. I actually had a parent tell me this "you don't just get respect, you have to earn respect" line, and my head nearly exploded.

Damn redneck idiots.

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Did you see the Announcement?
There's a new snopes message board!

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STF
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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The customer is always right is a ridiculous concept, but I understand to some degree why companies employ it. The problem is that obnoxious jackass customers have been emboldened by this to the point that they demand anything in whatever tone they like and expect to be treated like royalty.

What's wrong with being decent to people? I've never gotten really ugly with a customer service employee (whether it be at a bank, fast food establishment or whatever) and yet I've always gotten treated fairly even when I had a complaint of some sort.

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Friends of Alfred
The First USA Noel


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I fully support the idea of telling an obnoxious customer that their custom in neither wanted nor welcome.

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There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

Posts: 735 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Unusual Elfin Lights:
Not on a customer note:

I've never heard the one "I don't give respect freely."

Is this a common phrase? What exactly does it mean. I have an understanding of what I think it means, but I'm not sure.

[dunce]

Some people, and the I think the article quoted in the OP is an example of this, use this phrase to excuse their own bad behavior. They seem to think that they are entitled to be treated well by all and sundry but they can treat others like crap, unless these other people have "earned" decent behavior from them.

They seem to feel that treating others as you would like to be treated yourself is a chump's game.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

Posts: 18428 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


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Well, I agree with the essence of the article, but the author is as big an asshat as anyone she criticizes. Her opening lines about losing her temper not being her fault completely lost me. Your temper is your responsibility, always, without exception.

Not to mention that her biggest concern seems to be that listening to someone else being berated ruins her day. Wah.

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Come on, come on - spin a little tighter
Come on, come on - and the world's a little brighter


Posts: 5595 | From: Columbus, OH : The Soccer Capital of America | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm:
This became my number one peeve a few years ago, when our high school's band director was removed for dating a student, and replaced with a guy who was fresh out of college. A lot of the kids and their parents were quite angry at the removal of the former director, and took it out on the new guy. I actually had a parent tell me this "you don't just get respect, you have to earn respect" line, and my head nearly exploded.

Damn redneck idiots.

So in your hometown, HS teachers earned respect by dating students? [Eek!]

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

Posts: 8322 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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