Ken shared this article with me, which challenges the service model that “the customer is always right.” It’s very interesting and worth consideration. I don’t work in the commercial sector, and I’m glad my workplace doesn’t ask me to subscribe to that notion. We try to treat clients well, of course, and help them as much as we can, but when it comes down to it, I am a serving the University of Iowa, not the random person who wanders in with a project only tenuously linked to instructional technology. That means that if somebody is hogging up our scanners with their vacation photos and robbing others of the opportunity to use them for instructional projects, I don’t feel any need to make Hoggy McHoggerson feel “right.”
I also get a little annoyed with the suck-uppiness of wait staff in restaurants. Sure, it’s good for them to be attentive and pleasant, but I hate it when strangers act like they’re my friends. I realize they’re working for tips, and I feel for them. The ideal solution would be to pay wait staff a living wage so they didn’t have to whore themselves out for tips the way they do. Olive Garden employees are a prime example. I normally find the Olive Garden medium-to-gross, but I used to belong to this secret diner organization where I’d eat at restaurants and report back on the experience. They assigned me to the Olive Garden like six times.
Mediocre food delivered with sycophantic service! My kind of meal!
I was talking to my friend Mose last week about that. He’s an American currently living in Barcelona, and he said it was a shock when he came home for a visit and went out to eat. He couldn’t believe how insincere the server was. It’s a sad state of affairs, I tell you. I would say I’m looking forward to the service in European restaurants, except the fact is we’re going to be eating in as few Norwegian restaurants as possible. Restaurant prices in Norway (as well as all other prices, but especially restaurants) are outrageous. Luckily, much of the time will be spent in apartments, so we hope to do some cooking to keep the costs down.
On the other hand, I do like it when I’m in some kind of retail situation and the staff go out of their way for me. For example, I was in a clothing store not too long ago, and I picked out a dress from a rack with a 50% off sign on it. When I went up to pay, she charged me full price. When I made a little squawking noise, she explained that only the navy dresses were on sale, not the black ones. I said that navy would be fine, so I went over to find one, but there weren’t any left in my size. She kindly gave me the black dress for the navy dress price. That kind of experience makes me want to shop in that store more. I try not to get my way by throwing fits, though. That’s just embarrassing for everyone.
In sum, I believe that the customer is always right when I’m the customer. I believe that the customer is sometimes right when I’m the service provider. I believe the customer is never right if the customer is trying to buy babies on the black market to feed to giant snakes in some kind of sick carnival act.