Unpopular Opinion: The Customer Isn’t Always Right
Over the weekend, I read an article that really got me heated. It was about this northern Michigan restaurant that closed early because the customers were so rude and terrible to the staff.
East Park Tavern in Charlevoix, Michigan was set to have an awesome weekend because of all the extra tourists and business the town was receiving thanks to its annual Venetian Festival. Instead, staff at this restaurant were berated and mistreated at the hands of some of its patrons. This mistreatment was so bad in fact, that the general manager of East Park Tavern, Larah Moore, posted a note to the host stand that you can read in her Facebook post below.
I think Moore did the right thing in standing up for herself and her staff. Because here's the thing: the customer isn't always right.
Take a moment to read that again...
The customer isn't always right.
Please keep in mind that I didn't say the customer is always wrong, or even that staff are always right. However, after working in food service for over a decade, I can say with 100% certainty that the customer isn't always right. Especially, and perhaps most importantly, when that customer treats the service worker like crap.
Just because you are paying for a product or service, doesn't give you the right to treat others poorly and dehumanize them. I feel like that really speaks volumes about the kind of person you are that you think it's okay to mistreat service workers. Why? Because you think you're above them because they're "just serving you food" or "just making drinks"?
Just the other day, I was at lunch with a girlfriend when we witnessed two adults throw a tantrum because of a mistake they made when ordering their meal. The kitchen staff prepared the food correctly, and the server brought them the food they ordered and provided them with excellent service. But when the food came out, one of the women said "this is not what I wanted" and refused to pay for the food. When the manager came in to diffuse the situation, the woman said, "Yes this is what I ordered, but this isn't what I wanted. I didn't know what a torta was when I ordered it." Despite the fact that there was a description in the menu and she could have asked her server at any point when ordering. Those women berated the server, berated the manager, and then left without paying for either of their meals. I was embarrassed at their behavior. This is just another example of how the customer isn't always right.
As I'm coming to the end of my rant, I would just ask that when you're paying for a service or product, whether you're going out to eat or getting your hair done or whatever, that you take a moment to realize that everyone is just trying to do their best. The bottom line is you shouldn't treat people like crap. Plus, you know what they say about karma, right?
Rant over, thank you for coming to my TedTalk.