The customer is wrong

Members of Salon's Table Talk community share their misadventures in serving the public this week.

Published February 9, 2009 2:24PM (EST)

Private Life

Sometimes the customer is WRONG!

cameron grey - 08:41 am Pacific Time - Feb 4, 2009

A place for rants about your average consumer and their stupid, bizarre requests.

Today I was at the cafeteria where there is a pay by the pound salad bar. A woman threw a fit because the cashier wanted to charge her for the salad dressing. "it's just salad dressing!" as if the cafeteria gets it for free and why would they charge her!

I used to work at a bookstore and I was amazed how many people who would ask if they could 'borrow' a mag/book/map etc and xerox it. "But I'm going to bring it right back!"

I also loved this. Phone call: I need a magazine or book with information about X and then I need you to tell me where I can buy on the Eastside cause I don't want to drive into Seattle for it. 

JoshD - 04:41 pm Pacific Time - Feb 4, 2009 - #6 of 37

I don't know if it's just me, but whatever line I pick in the supermarket seems to have the customer with an issue in front of me. Can't find check book. Price dispute. Using coupons which are only presented after the sale is totaled and finalized. Trying to return the apple they bought yesterday. It never fails.

cameron grey - 06:20 am Pacific Time - Feb 5, 2009 - #8 of 37

I hate to single them out but EVERY SINGLE TIME I go into this one Walgreens near a movie theater on Murray Hill. There are at least two elderly people in line ahead of me. When they get to the counter, they pull out a receipt and a manager has to be called. I once almost missed a movie because even though I was third in line I was in the store for over a half an hour.

Another fave: at American Airlines a woman demanded the man behing the counter 'do something' about the snowed in airports in Chicago. Her flight had been cancelled and the airport closed due to a bizarre. "this is unacceptable! do something! like what? wave his magic weather changing wand?

Monsieur Chariot - 01:37 pm Pacific Time - Feb 5, 2009 - #9 of 37

RITE AID attracts the most narcissistic and entitled patrons in the known universe. I am amazed at how many people stand in a line 3 customers long and look incensed - incensed - that they have to wait their turn, barking insults at the cashier, demanding the manager, looking around at the other patrons seeking sympathy for the mind-boggling inconvenience of it all. Never fails to make me snicker. Here we are in the first world, surrounded by stacks upon stacks, rows upon rows of goods available for pennies, and its still not enough.

Seems they will be happy only when they can snap their fingers and products magically appear, giftwrapped, in their home, free-of-charge. Unless of course, finger-snapping is just too much trouble.

NicholasB. - 05:44 am Pacific Time - Feb 6, 2009 - #12 of 37

I work at a CVS and I can't stand it when people come in with their bounced checks and complain about having to pay the returned checks fee.

Nothing I can do about it at the store, dumbass. And I wouldn't if I could because it's your own damn job to know how much is in your bank account.

And the customers that feel the need to inform you that they use to work at one of these places and can tell you how to do your job.

"So you use to work here three years ago? Ah, I see. Well I work here RIGHT NOW!."

Customer service is not my specialty.

Serafina - 08:49 am Pacific Time - Feb 6, 2009 - #24 of 76

People in fast-food drive-throughs who take FOREVER to order. A few months ago I waited for a woman who must have been giving them a long and highly specific, modified order. Then, when she drove up to the window, she went through each bag and discussed the contents with the cashier, sending several back. She actually got out of the car and stood before her to do it.

BurstOfLethargy - 08:57 am Pacific Time - Feb 6, 2009 - #25 of 76

At this point, if I'm less offensive than a Seth MacFarlane cartoon, I think I'm doing OK.

I don't get people who stare blankly and/or grumpily at the supermarket cashier while their groceries pile up. Grab a bag or two, sleepyhead.

That's a peeve that dates mostly to my days of having been a cashier. These days, I use the self-checkout line whenever possible.

Giordana - 04:30 pm Pacific Time - Feb 6, 2009 - #41 of 76

I used to work at Peet's Coffee. Too many customers would wait until their drink was done before asking questions like "Is that decaf?" or "Is that skim?" When I started asking before making the drinks, my boss yelled at me for holding up the line.

The parking lot was closed for 3 days for refinishing. One customer asked for a discount because he "had" to park illegally. Never mind the municipal lot across the street.

Anglophile - 07:05 pm Pacific Time - Feb 6, 2009 - #45 of 76

You want scary customers, try doing the opening shift at the Starbucks across from Mass General. ER interns coming in on the 24th hour of a 36 hour shift and ordering a quad venti skim no-foam latte and looking like the night of the living dead, about to jack themselves up on artificial stimulants. And operating on people. In the emergency room.

Lisa M. - 05:48 am Pacific Time - Feb 7, 2009 - #51 of 76

My peeves:

1.people who wait until the order is totaled to get out checkbook, debit card, whatever. What? Did you think it was free and are now STUNNED to know you must pay for it? Be. Prepared. People. (I always am, thankyouverymuch!)

2. I will not commiserate with you while waiting in a line. Don't go searching my face for sympathy. MYOB and wait your turn even if it's a long time coming. I will purposefully look the other way if I see you searching for sympathy. (That makes me sound hardcore but I just hate that stuff.)

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