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Author Topic: Two Phrases that Destroyed American Culture
quiltsbypam
Happy Holly Days


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Sing it, sister!

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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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lioness
Deck the Malls


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I'm just glad I don't work in the layaway department, as the people there get a lot of abuse from customers. There was one incident where a customer wasn't nice to a supervisor who was called in, which is very unusual. I've dealt with some upset customers, but nothing compared to the people who work in layaway.
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LongTimeLurker
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I agree that the phrase "the customer is always right" is wrong. Often times, the customer isn't right at all. They are abusive to employees, they refuse to acknowledge policies, and they have entitlement issues. I am routinely irritated by the number of stores that cater to these dimwits. Policies are bent just to shut them up, which means they'll continue to be asshats in the future; if they get away with behaving like idiots once, they'll do it again.

In the last month alone, I have witnessed the following: people returning clearly used clothing to stores without tages or a receipt and getting store credit; a man returning open software and getting his money back (the policy is an exchange for the same item only) because he claimed it wouldn't run on his Windows 95 computer; and some woman complaining about her meal after she devoured all of its contents.

Just this week at work a woman tried to get out of paying overdue charges because she said a few of the DVDs she checked out wouldn't work. How in the hell did this moron think that the fact the DVDs skipped had any bearing on them getting returned on time? Besides that, she checked them out for FREE from the library.

There are too many scammers out there, and I don't understand why their demands are continually met. What store wants customers that try to scam them?

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I, however, would not want to do business with a store that assumed that any complaint was an attempt at a scam.


Nor would I vote for them. If I could help it.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Eve MG
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Gibbie:
eta: And if you're paying by credit card, keeping address information from them is moot, they've got it all on your mag strip. So if they want to find you, they can.

They can? Last time I worked in a store was a 6 years ago, but I don't remember being able to access that info. I wish I could have, because one time when a customer left behind a credit card, she wasn't listed in the phone book. When I called the CC company, all they would do is cancel the card (which I did not ask them to do!). I was hoping they would call the cardholder and tell her where her card was. All we could do was leave it in the safe and hope she remembered where she shopped last. (I don't remember what happened, but I don't remember her coming back, either.)

edited for grammar & clarity

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I love dairy! Does that mean I can't be a vegan?

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LongTimeLurker
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseGirl:
I, however, would not want to do business with a store that assumed that any complaint was an attempt at a scam.


Nor would I vote for them. If I could help it.

There is a huge difference between legitimate complaints and scams. The instances I mentioned above were clearly not legitimate.

Does the last part of your post refer to the community voting on allocating funds to the library? Most people appreciate the services we provide and don't have a problem paying $.25 for an overdue item. They understand the simple fact that if they return something late, they will be fined. We're understanding when it comes to waiving fines under certain cirumstances (with proof): hospitalization, death in the family. Wanting fines waived because the DVDs you checked out skipped is not legitimate. As I said before, there is no reason why this would have any bearing on the patron's ability to return the DVDs on time. If a patron doesn't like our fine policy, they can pay $30 at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video to even rent the 7 DVDs they're allowed out at one time.

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Canuckistan
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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LTL, the last part of TGirl's post was a running gag on the boards.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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LongTimeLurker
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
LTL, the last part of TGirl's post was a running gag on the boards.

I had no idea. Sorry TGirl.
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Cactus Wren
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by MaxKaladin:
quote:
Originally posted by quiltsbypam:
Yeah, that happens, I'm afraid. Often, customers will be very upset (rightly so) and will preface their rant with "I know this isn't you personally" and then go off. I can deal with that.

I do tend to get testy with newspaper salespeople (not the customer service department). They always come around, knock on my door and try to sell me the paper. I tell them I'm not interested. They ask me why. I tell them I don't want the pile. They tell me I can get Sunday only. I tell them I've had too many problems with that in the past. They tell me they're different. I get testy and tell them that no, they're not. I tell them that every paper I tried for the first ten years I was on my own had that problem and that it always happened no matter how many times they replaced the delivery people. Then I tell them that one of the papers I had problems with was the very one they're insisting is "different". Then they usually get the hint and go try to sell papers to someone else and let me get back to what I was doing.
Why are you even going through all this? Just politely say "No thank you", and close the door.

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“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.” -- Edward R. Murrow

IOToriSparrowANK!

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Kitsune26
The First USA Noel


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I had the best angry customer today.
It was an older woman, and after I got her last name and zip code to pull up her order she said "I am furious" and explained her issue.
But it was the way she said it-very calm, in a normal tone of voice.
Not once did she raise it. She was very patient while I muddled through the system to get to her order, and once I explained it was a system error she asked me what we could do to fix it-we meaning her and I! I gladly bent over backwards to get her issue resolved.
It was the best angry customer call ever.
At the end of it, my manager and I decided that she really ought to teach a class on how to express dissatisfaction in a satisfactory manner.

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

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Menolly
We Three Blings


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/le hijack/
quote:
Originally posted by LongTimeLurker:
quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
LTL, the last part of TGirl's post was a running gag on the boards.

I had no idea. Sorry TGirl.
Drat, TGirl and Canuck! I can't for the life of me remember what the running gag is. Would someone remind me, please? I truly would appreciate it...
/le fin du hijack/

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Let's just pretend we're normal for a minute ~ New favorite T-shirt quote

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Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I could fill up the internet with stories about the crap I've had to take from customers back when I sold shoes, kids shoes.. To rich kids, or rather rich parents.. (for four years).

Everything from knocking on the door after hours and demanding to be served (which of course includes fitting and everything), demanding certain shoes be on sale, demanding out of date coupons be honored or coupons be given back after used, demanding you treat little Jonny like a king and if he wants to knock all the shoes off the display then thats your problem not his.. Heck we even once had a woman ask to leave her kids in the store while she did other shopping, like we were day care.

Bah, gets my blood pressure up just thinking about that horrific place (and as if that wasn't enough, my boss was a total asshole too and an old woman who worked there would continually sexually harass me)..

Yea, the joys of retail working.

quote:
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.
Well, with all due respect, even with lots of shopping your still only getting a few snapshots of the average clerks day, where as they are there probably five days a week eight hours a day (depending on their shifts of course).

Are all customers bad? No, are most? Probobly not, are alot? Yea, yea they are, and some are really really bad.

People seem to have the idea that they can treat cashiers, sales clerks, and others on that tier of the service world however they want, mainly because often they can, management will often not do anything cause that could lose business (at least thats how it was at the shoe store).

Its bad out there, I will never ever return to the retail world, granted I have to deal with a sort of customer in my job now, but hey, I have chemical sedatives and leather restraints [Smile]

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"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Mickey Blue:
quote:
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.
Well, with all due respect, even with lots of shopping your still only getting a few snapshots of the average clerks day, where as they are there probably five days a week eight hours a day (depending on their shifts of course).

Are all customers bad? No, are most? Probobly not, are alot? Yea, yea they are, and some are really really bad.


I do not doubt that retail and other service industry employees get mistreated regularly. But the OP wrote as if every time she goes out she sees other customers acting like jerks, and that claim surprises me. I don't see it very often at all. Of course, where I live people seem to prefer subtle condescension to outright rudeness.

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

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Mickey Blue:

quote:
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.
Well, with all due respect, even with lots of shopping your still only getting a few snapshots of the average clerks day, where as they are there probably five days a week eight hours a day (depending on their shifts of course).

Are all customers bad? No, are most? Probobly not, are alot? Yea, yea they are, and some are really really bad.


You aren't really contradicting Starla's point. The reality is that, on average we will have far more positive, or at the very least neutral, encounters on a daily basis than we will have "really really bad". It is just, human nature being what it is, we remember - hell we fixate on - the negative interactions.

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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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Singing in the Drizzle
Jingle Bell Hock


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I heard many times "you don't just get respect, you have to earn respect" and agree it true, but they forgot the rest. It should be "You don't just get respect, you have to earn respect and that starts with giving it."
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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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One thing I don't understand: If the phrase "The customer is always right" is so important that it is "destroying American culture", why is the service in the US just as bad and impolite as other places? Is there any establishment in the whole of the US that really teaches its workers that the customer is always right? I don't think so.
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Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
One thing I don't understand: If the phrase "The customer is always right" is so important that it is "destroying American culture", why is the service in the US just as bad and impolite as other places? Is there any establishment in the whole of the US that really teaches its workers that the customer is always right? I don't think so.

I don't see how anyone could make an objective judgment on the relative quality of all customer service in the U.S. versus all customer service in the rest of the world. (I also don't agree that customer service the world over is "bad and impolite." The number of good or adequate experiences I have had with customer servicepeople here and abroad is much greater than the number of bad experiences.) I think restaurant service in the U.S. often tends to be better--or at least more attentive--than in much of Europe and other parts of the world, because the servers here depend on tips to make a living, and so have a slightly stronger incentive to please each table. And I do think that the characteristically American attitude toward customer service (i.e. "service with a smile; the customer is always right") has led to, if not *better* service, at least a more uniformly cheery kind of treatment from staff. Personally, I would rather be ignored by an aloof French shopkeeper than accosted by five or six Victoria's Secret sales associates, so to me, this kind of service is not "better." However, it does represent more of an effort on the part of the salesperson, and could contribute to the development of a culture-wide sense of entitlement. Does that make sense?
quote:
Originally posted by TwoGuyswithaHat:
The only time I have ever got annoyed with anyone working in retail is when they start asking for personal information and don't tell me what it is for.

I usually refuse to give out personal information to a salesclerk unless he or she gives me a really good reason. Tonight I bought a digital picture frame at the Sharper Image for about two hundred bucks. The cashier asked for my address, quickly adding that giving it was voluntary, but if I gave it, I could return the item without a receipt. Since it was a lot of money, and it was a gift, I decided to give in this once.
quote:
Originally posted by ladyknight:
When I used to work for Bath and Body Works, we had to ask each customer for a phone number to sign them up for coupons and offers mailed to their address. Many, many people hated giving their number, but some, if you explained what it was for, would happily reverse themselves, and were willing to give the number out. I always thought it was rather creepy myself...we were asking for a phone number that we could use to look up someone's address so we could spam them. I never gave my phone number when I bought stuff there; still don't.

This, to me, is not a valid reason for me to give out contact information. I once bought some clothes at New York and Company, and the saleswoman was adamant about getting my phone number because my $150 purchase qualified me for a coupon for five percent off a purchase of $75 or more in the next 48 hours, or something ridiculous like that. "Why do you need my number?" I asked.
"So we can call and remind you to come in and shop," she replied nervously.
"I don't need a reminder. If I want to come back and spend even more money here this weekend, I'm sure I can manage it on my own."
"Well, the system won't let me give you the coupon without a phone number."
"I don't need a coupon, then."
"But I can't process the sale!"
At that point I had to take a deep breath and bite my lip to keep from blowing up at her. I managed to calmly inform her that I would not be giving out my phone number. If she could not complete the transaction without it, I would not be making any purchases that day. If she needed to go find a manager to override the phone number requirement in the system, I would wait patiently while she did so.
Somehow, she figured out how to complete the sale without my phone number, and they got my $150. But I did not return to shop in the next 48 hours, or ever again.

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"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Menolly:
I can't for the life of me remember what the running gag is. Would someone remind me, please?

I believe TGirl is referring to a post by Wintermute made some time ago to the effect that he would not vote for or even do business with an atheist if he could help it. This struck many people as a rather extreme, intolerant, and silly position. He's still taking jabs for it. Correct me if I'm wrong, anyone.

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"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
I don't see how anyone could make an objective judgment on the relative quality of all customer service in the U.S. versus all customer service in the rest of the world. (I also don't agree that customer service the world over is "bad and impolite." The number of good or adequate experiences I have had with customer servicepeople here and abroad is much greater than the number of bad experiences.) I think restaurant service in the U.S. often tends to be better--or at least more attentive--than in much of Europe and other parts of the world, because the servers here depend on tips to make a living, and so have a slightly stronger incentive to please each table. And I do think that the characteristically American attitude toward customer service (i.e. "service with a smile; the customer is always right") has led to, if not *better* service, at least a more uniformly cheery kind of treatment from staff. Personally, I would rather be ignored by an aloof French shopkeeper than accosted by five or six Victoria's Secret sales associates, so to me, this kind of service is not "better." However, it does represent more of an effort on the part of the salesperson, and could contribute to the development of a culture-wide sense of entitlement. Does that make sense?

Yes, more or less. I agre that most people who deal with customers adon't give bad and impolite service but if these sayings were so important that they are destroying our culture then they must exert some influence. I didn't even comment on the second one because I've almost never even heard anyone -- American or otherwise -- say it. I doubt they have much influence at all but your points are all well taken.
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chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


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quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
Elkhound didn't say whether it was a father or a mother, though.

Er ... are you saying that women don't wear clothes that have zippers?

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


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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by chillas:
quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
Elkhound didn't say whether it was a father or a mother, though.

Er ... are you saying that women don't wear clothes that have zippers?
"Keeping it in your pants" and comments of this nature though are almost exclusively used about men. There are other colourful expressions that tend to be used for women.

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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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chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


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Yes, but I simply said "operate a zipper", which I really did think at the time would be applicable to both men and women.

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


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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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A woman can get by wearing only dresses or skirts. A man, unless he's really into his Scottish heritage, HAS to be able to operate a zipper.

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"Well, it looks we're on our own ... again."--Rev. Lovejoy

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
quote:
Originally posted by chillas:
quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
Elkhound didn't say whether it was a father or a mother, though.

Er ... are you saying that women don't wear clothes that have zippers?
"Keeping it in your pants" and comments of this nature though are almost exclusively used about men. There are other colourful expressions that tend to be used for women.
Elkhound said "got lucky," which is another phrase generally used for men. So Chillas' zipper comment made sense to me.

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

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
quote:
Originally posted by chillas:
quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
Elkhound didn't say whether it was a father or a mother, though.

Er ... are you saying that women don't wear clothes that have zippers?
"Keeping it in your pants" and comments of this nature though are almost exclusively used about men. There are other colourful expressions that tend to be used for women.
Elkhound said "got lucky," which is another phrase generally used for men. So Chillas' zipper comment made sense to me.
Oh I agree it made sense, but I do think that comments about zippers, by and large, tend to be references to men, at least in this context. Not exactly a serious point of debate though [Wink] !

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


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quote:
Originally posted by Singing in the Drizzle:
I heard many times "you don't just get respect, you have to earn respect" and agree it true, but they forgot the rest. It should be "You don't just get respect, you have to earn respect and that starts with giving it."

I think that there are certain things, respect being one of them,(trust is another) that have to be given first, by default, before they can be earned. Those people we treat with contempt will often come back at us with hostility purely in self-defence when if we had treated them with respect in the first place would have given us courtesy in return, thus earning respect. What we put out into the world is what we get back.

Yes, there will be some people who will take our respect (or our trust) and throw it back in our faces. But they are the minority. And they will be kept in the minority if we as a society practice the "Respect (or trust) as default" paradigm with everyone we encounter.

This is also why I hate things like the bag checks and purse bans discussed in other threads. They're doing things ass-backwards, treating the innocent like criminals.

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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Archie2K
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I too am yet to see evidence that customers are out-of-control rude. I've spent something in the region of five years as a till monkey and would struggle to come up with 10 instances of out of control rude customers. However, when telling tales I will usually bring up those less than 10 instances of things which happened in the working world. Everyone has their own ten instances leading to the impression that customers are out-of-control rude.

Low level snarkiness though is very common. It's most common from the middle classes aswell. People who really should know better. My guess is that some of them have never had to work as a till monkey just to get the weekly bills paid, so they treat all those that do with contempt. [Roll Eyes]

The relative merits of US service vs. rest of the world is interesting. I've been brought up to see the US as king service culture. In comparison to British state owned monopolies of old, US companies actively compete for your custom. You are treated as a king the moment you walk through the door. In restaurants there I have certainly seen that "going the extra step" presumably to get a better tip, but in an electronics store my friend saying "Here's $100 I want this camera" elicited nothing but an order to wait. My American host said this was pretty common.

Bill Bryson once said that Communism should've been trialed in the UK. British people don't mind queueing for days only to find there's no bread left.

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Vox populi vox canem

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Friends of Alfred
The First USA Noel


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quote:
British people don't mind queueing for days only to find there's no bread left.
[lol]

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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?

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
A woman can get by wearing only dresses or skirts. A man, unless he's really into his Scottish heritage, HAS to be able to operate a zipper.

Button fly jeans.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Sharpened Steel
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Archie2K:
I too am yet to see evidence that customers are out-of-control rude. I've spent something in the region of five years as a till monkey and would struggle to come up with 10 instances of out of control rude customers. However, when telling tales I will usually bring up those less than 10 instances of things which happened in the working world. Everyone has their own ten instances leading to the impression that customers are out-of-control rude.

I don't know about you, but I can definately think of more than 10 instances of out of control rude customers that I personally had to deal with. Maybe that comes from working at a theme park: I worked there for a month and a half over the summer and every day of that time I had to deal with at least one extremely rude customer. It probably didn't help that I was one of the people who had to decide if they could ride whatever ride I was working on that day, but people would get into my face a lot when I enforced the rules. If getting angry because I'm following the rules and refusing to break them for people I don't know (and sometimes did no) is not out of control rude, I don't know what is.

Of course, my experience could just mean that I'm a magnet for jerks.

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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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frogpond
Jingle Sales


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During my years of retail experience I usually had at least one flagrantly rude customer a day. It used to be a running joke at the bookstore that we should be entitled to pick one customer a day to tell off! (No, we never did!)

It is unfortunate that the bad ones stand out because I certainly had lots of lovely customers, some of which became so well known to me that we would inquire about each other's family and activities. I kindly remember some generous shoppers at holiday times who would hand out treats to the harried cashiers. [Smile] However, retail has taught me that there are many people who view those in service professions as unworthy of respect and decent treatment, not to mention those who are crooks and thieves.

One thing that customers should realize is that those who are pleasant are more likely to have someone go above and beyond the requirements of the job for them. I would be much more likely to go out of my way to track down hard-to-find items for appreciative and understanding customers than for a bully. Also, intelligent managers do understand that sometimes the employees do come first and they must protect their staff.

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So many books, so little time.

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Max_Renn
Jingle Bell Hock


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Reading through this thread tons more memories came back to me about insufferable asshats I had to wait on. Mickey Blue commented that people who are shopping won't see as much rudeness as the clerk does over a week's worth of shift, and I can't agree more. Any given week working the counter at the video store would drop my opinion of humanity down a few more notches. Some of my big pet peeves:
  • People who would bang on the door before we were open and demand to be allowed to browse because they'd driven a long way to the store.
  • People who would shove videotapes through the mail slot of the door, letting the box crack open on the floor, then walking away. I ran to the door to collect the tape one time and saw the woman getting into her car. I said "You need to actually bring it in during the day." and she sneered back "I'm in a hurry!" Oh, OK, I guess it's okay to break our rental merchandise if you're in a rush. I've actually seen people shove their video through the mail slot onto the floor, then enter the store and walk around their video to browse the racks.
  • When checking out a customer's movie I noted on the computer that he still had one out. "No, no, no!" he yelled, literally wagging his finger in my face like I was a dog who'd soiled his carpet. "I returned it to the other branch, and they said it would be fine!" I had to bite me tongue to not tell him that that was a good way to lose a finger.
  • One customer would bring back his movies (invariably late) covered in sticky, crumby foodstuff. After several warnings, he began bringing tapes back covered win a greasy film; I realized that he had taken to Lemon Pledge-ing the tapes, which I guess was his idea of keeping them clean.
  • Dozens if not hundreds of customers refused to browse the stacks at all, and would simply walk up to the counter and read off a list. Which is tolerable, though many wouldn't even bother to ask in a complete sentence. It does nothing for one's sense of self to have a steady stream of people walking right up to you all day and without even a "hello," barking "Erin Brokovich!" and staring at you distainfully until you fetched.

One theory I came up with derived from the fact that most (a good 80%+) of the rudest customers were, to judge from their names and accents, of Eastern European or Middle Eastern descent. I'd read in Time magazine ages ago how American companies were having a hard time getting branches going in Russia because under communism the concept of customer service basically didn't exist, and nobody they hired could quite get the hang of treating customers properly. I eventually guessed that many of these asshats I was dealing with had spent so many years as customers treated as crap back in the Old Country, that when they found themselves in a culture where "the customer is always right" they were taking advantage of it to great excess, making up for lost years of respect as it were.

One evening, I was serving a perfectly agreeable customer who was standing about two feet away from the counter. Another customer came in, this one of Middle Eastern extract. Ignoring my co-worker, he literally shoved his way between my customer and the counter and began barking requests at me. The woman he was with, his wife I assumed, a gorgeous Persian-looking knockout, watched him with clear disgust in her eyes; you could tell she'd witnessed this kind of behaviour plenty of times before. I calmly pointed out to him that I was already dealing with someone and he would have to wait. It hadn't even occurred to him. When they'd all gone, my co-worker turned to me and asked "How the hell did men ever become the dominant gender in that culture?" I'm quite left-leaning and at times awkwardly PC, but at that moment I couldn't help but agree.

The thing that bugged me the most about working in high-volume customer service was the fact that a whole lot of really ugly prejudices would work their way to the surface after a while. I don't like thinking this stuff, but confronted with walking stereotypes all the time would make me feel horribly xenophobic and dirty.

Max "(puts on asbestos suit)" Renn

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Sister Ann: DRIVE! DRIVE
Crow T. Robot: Look, I'm already driving, there's no inherent quantity of driving that I can increase! If you want me to go faster, you should say so.

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Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Max_Renn:
The thing that bugged me the most about working in high-volume customer service was the fact that a whole lot of really ugly prejudices would work their way to the surface after a while. I don't like thinking this stuff, but confronted with walking stereotypes all the time would make me feel horribly xenophobic and dirty.

Waiting tables has the same effect, but perhaps even more pronounced because you're not earning the same hourly wage regardless of whether your customers are jerks. In my profession, the jerks can abuse me and give me a temporary pay cut, too. It's hard not to identify patterns, and before you know it, you're at a party, drinking your fourth beer, when you hear yourself saying "If you can't deal with our customs, go the f*ck home to Russia!" to resounding applause from your fellow servers. It's very disturbing.

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"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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The problem with giving into the idea of walking stereotypes is that they tend to self-perpetuate, particularly in the restaurant industry.

You know the one about women being bad tippers? I have, several times, been in a group of women where we have gotten lousy service will mixed groups or groups of all men are getting treated well. My choice at the end? Tip well so as not to perpetuate the stereotype-- then I feel ripped off and it also gives the impression that women should accept substandard service. Tip poorly to reflect the level of service I got which just reinforces the stereotype.

I have, lately, taken to a third option: contacting the manager.

But is it not up to the group being stereotyped to disprove a stereotype.

And you may want to watch the validity of your stereotype. I did an experiment in grad school. I was thoroughly convinced that the stereotype of Asian drivers being bad was true. It seemed like every bad driver I encountered was Asian (and I worked in a building near married student housing, where a high proportion of the residents are foreign nationals).

I felt bad. So for one week I kept data on bad drivers. The Asian drivers were no more represented in the "bad driver" category than their proportion of the population in that town. The person most likely to be a bad or jerky driver was a white male in a pickup truck (which probably represented a similar proportion of drivers in that town as well).

I simply didn't notice the good Asian drivers. Or the crappy non-Asian drivers.

So my challenge to you is this: are the really crappy customers disproportionately Middle Eastern or Eastern European? Or do you just automatically add that as another "data point" when they are?

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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rodh
Deck the Malls


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This is a common theme on this board and I really feel sorry for the Snopesters who have to deal with this all time.

I have definately taken all the discussions to heart and I'm very self-aware when dealing with customer service people.

I liked the stories that my brother told me when he owned his own auto shop. If a customer was accusing him of ripping him off (my brother ran a very straight shop), my brother would try to explain why they fixed certain parts. If the customer continued to berate him, my brother would tell the customer to get the hell out and never come back.

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