Is the customer always right? [edited title]

What ever happened to the customer is always right? I miss the days of customer service and salesman ship where people appreciated my hard earned money and cared about there part of the transaction.

It went the way of meaningful OPs and descriptive titles.

And correct forums.

And reported.

I got news for you, gringo, a lot of times the customer is wrong.

Sorry, we’re only nice to *paying *customers. :wink:

And spelling, apparently.

I have two answers for this:

Whatever happened to the days when people were willing to pay more money for quality stuff and a living wage for a private shop owner? If you’re going to shop based on price, which most people are, you’ve really cut his profit too slim to “take care of you” when something goes wrong. If he’s making only 20% markup on cheap crap and he gives you a free item, he’s got to sell 5 more of them to other people just to pay for the one he gave you. He doesn’t make a profit again until the sixth person pays after you. Is keeping you happy really worth it? Take your wounded pride out of the equation and look at it from dollars and cents, since you’re buying based on dollars and cents.

Answer two:

Is this, in fact, one of those “Cicero statements” about The Good Old Days? I ask because, in my whole living memory, people have always been saying it. That people USED TO give good service and USED TO care about their customers and I’m starting to think it’s always been a nostalgic crock of shit.

Maybe when you were a kid, merchants were nice to you because you were a kid. They’re nice to my kids today, too. Kids are easy to be nice to; they’re cute and they rarely ask for freebies on your high ticket items.

Care to elaborate on the situation that inspired this post?


What Little Nemo said. For proof, you only have to look at sites like Not Always Right for stories about customers who were, at best, rude, and at worst committed physical assault.

I’ve very rarely encountered someone in the service industry who wasn’t polite and helpful; but then, I believe in being polite to them.

Yeah, but at least, back then, no one expected us to comment, or pass judgment, without knowing even a titch of specifics!

Welcome to the SDMB, gringo135. When you start a new thread, “title” should be the topic of the thread, not your username. I have renamed this thread to reflect that topic.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

This thread seems very legitimate.

To answer the question: No. No, they are not.

Any business that literally observed the “customer is always right” maxim would die a horrible death.

“This car’s too expensive!”

“Yes, of course, sir! Right you are!”

“I shouldn’t have to pay $25,000! It should only cost $100!”

“Well… yes, I can see that you’re correct!”

“And I ain’t got no money on me… you should take an IOU!”

“No problem, sir… here are the keys.”

“And it should be buy one, get one free! My wife gets one too!”

“Well, I… I’m not sure we can…”

“Bullshit! I’m the customer, and I’m always right!”

“Yes, of course sir… does the missus have a favorite color?”


  1. The customer is often completely wrong.
  2. Most people who scream “the customer is always right” are bad customers.
  3. Once upon a time we bought things in small shops from the owners of said shops who depended on us, the people in their neighborhood, for their livelyhoods. Now you buy it from Walmart and, like I just witnessed less than an hour ago: We stood 11 customers deep in line because some complete asshole at the head of the line held up the register for nearly 10 minutes arguing about a few cents difference in the price of a pack of hotdogs. No, I don’t blame the clerk for not giving it to them. They’re not empowered to do that or they’d be doing it all day long for fucking liars who wanted to cheat the store out of half a buck. I blame the idiot who thought 7-8 minutes of his time plus 3-8 minutes of many other people’s time was worth 30 fucking cents. And you know what? Most of the time it turns out they’re to get the specialty hot dogs (which this guy had) for the price of the plain ones (or other product equivalent) and they’re either doing it deliberately, or they’re inobservant morons.

“I don’t know…just give me one of each.”

Just so.

This is one of those triads where you will get two out of three, at best: price, service, selection. Sometimes you will only get one out of three. A store that doesn’t offer at least one of those values to the customer will fold, pretty soon.

If I want to make a quilt, I can go to WalMart, a discount hobby store (JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby, say), a full price hobby/fabric store, or to a quilter’s shop. If I go to the first two, I will have my choice of cheap fabrics which won’t wear well, and which are a pain to sew on. I won’t find great quality fabrics, though I might find premium brand sewing notions. The people who work there might or might not know something about sewing in general and quilting in particular. They are generally competent enough to cut fabric lengths. Or I could go to a full price fabric store. The selection is better, both in quality and quantity, but pricier. The workers are generally more knowledgeable, and they usually know what they’ve got in stock now, what’s coming in, and what is not going to be re-ordered. If I go to the quilt shop, I can find premium fabrics at premium prices. But those fabrics are a joy to sew. I want to take bolts of fabric down and hug them because I love them so much. Those fabrics will wear and wear, and if I want to make a quilt or garment from them, I’m sure that if I do a competent job of sewing, that the item will hold up. There’s nothing like seeing a carefully sewn item fall apart because of the cheap fabric used. The workers in the quilt shop remember me (probably because I was drooling all over the bolts) and can give me targeted advice about my projects. The quilt shop will carry a wide selection of quality notions and sewing accessories. In fact, the quilt shop WON’T carry anything of poor quality. And if I ever have a problem with something that I bought there, they WILL do their best to make it right.

And because it bears repeating:

This has been my experience. Basically, a customer who uses this phrase is trying to get more than s/he is actually entitled to. This might mean that the customer is trying to return a special occasion dress after the holidays for full price, when it’s clear that the dress has been worn. It might be that the customer wants a discount to which s/he’s not entitled to. Or it could mean that the customer wants the clerk to break the law, by selling alcohol or tobacco to a minor.

My wife grew up in a family restaurant where this was said a lot. What she meant by it was, “If the customer has a complaint about their food or the service, they should be listened to and accomodated if possible.” It didn’t mean take abuse, give away food, or take shit for a very long time before asking them to leave.

Somebody needs to go spend some time at, a fantastic website of stories proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the customer is definitely not always right.

I just want you to know I’ve spent the last hour perusing that website. :smiley: Hilarious! I c an so relate to some of those stories.

If ever you work with customers in a retail setting you’ll quickly learn that 99% of your customers are always right. The other percent want something for nothing.