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Art by Taylor Lee

There are boundaries and set guidelines customers must understand when it comes to serving their needs

Opinion: The customer isn’t always right

Why customers shopping in retail shouldn’t be put on a pedestal

March 28, 2021

We’ve all heard the saying, “the customer is always right,” but if you’ve ever worked a day in customer service, you know this is far from the truth. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the customer is always wrong.

Now, I know the saying was created with the idea that the customer should be treated as if they are in the right, while you solve their problem. However, a conflict arises when a customer feels like royalty in a retail store and proceeds to treat a minimum-wage employee as a fool. 

When customers feel they are prioritized, it goes only one of two ways: they are appreciative of your efforts or take advantage of the opportunity to make ridiculous requests to get what they want. If a customer knows that employees are supposed to cater to them, it inflates their ego so much that they suddenly think they are your boss.

Not to mention, ensuring that customers are wearing masks has become yet another job for minimum wage workers must tackle. I don’t make the rules, but it’s my job to enforce the requirement. Even when it comes to kids, I’ve seen plenty of three-year-olds holding their parent’s hand while wearing a mask; your eleven-year-old can do the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s my job to help customers, and I don’t mind doing so. But when you walk into a store expecting a refund for an item when you have not one ounce of proof that you actually purchased it? Sorry, but there’s nothing I can do to help you at that point(maybe here, refer back to the “customer is always right” thing— do they fight you on this?).

The audacity of some customers is certainly a slap in the face. You’re telling me you bought this paint, used it all, and now you want your money back? Unfortunately, I can’t authorize a theft, ma’am. But all it takes is for them to yelp, “This is ridiculous! Get me your manager!” and voila, their tantrum, gets them what they wanted. They know they are always going to be right. Actually, ignore my last note. You did what I said here—but still, referring to the “customer is always right” shtick would be good.

What’s worse is the general rudeness some people carry with them everywhere they go. It’s not my job to ask how you are; I’m just being nice. A response like “uh-huh” or a blank stare makes me suddenly very unhappy to help you. Afterward, these individuals proceed to shove their Samsung in my face so I can scan their coupon, of course, without using any words. King commands; fool follows. 

Perhaps some blame may be placed on the store’s policy or lack of a customer reading it. When you have six months to return something, and all you need is the receipt, the credit card you used, OR a rewards number, you would think people could return anything with ease. Apparently not. Genuinely, I don’t care if you have any of those things or not. But please refrain from yelling at a teenager who is just enforcing a corporate policy to which you didn’t bother to pay any attention. 

I truly believe that no matter what corporate policies change, no matter who the cashier is, customers walk around high and mighty, knowing that they are always right. In the social hierarchy that exists in a retail store, you will always be stomped on by a customer. 

About the Writer
Isabella Ferrea, Spring Opinion Editor

The snack that smiles back!

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