Reply To: Is the Customer Always Right?

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The customer is NOT always right. As a former retail manager, I have been in a lot of customer situations, and I think it comes down to something like this: Most customers are ‘OK,’ meaning that they just want what they came in after, they want good value for their money and they expect the product to be free of defects. So far, so good. Most retail clerks are indifferent, because they make so little money and perceive themselves just as cash register operators. Naturally pleasant people will always have a smile and a nice greeting in this situation, but otherwise, it’s just doing a job and delivering the minimal courtesy needed to get by. (If sales commission is involved, some care and some don’t.) Product knowledge is next to zero; when I go to buy something, I check it out beforehand, and the actual store visit is just to purchase the item. I don’t expect anyone to be able to help me. A small percentage of customers, though, have self-esteem issues and are just itching for some opportunity to prove that ‘I have bought something from you, therefore I own you.’ Others just have personal problems in general, and bring those to the retail environment. Others are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Still others (especially high-income customers) expect their lives to be perfect, and when something goes wrong with a product they’ve bought, they go ballistic because they’ve been slightly inconvenienced. The independent retailer can tell such customers to take their business elsewhere, but someone working for a corporate retailer can’t exercise such a prerogative. The only solution seems to be some sort of ‘uniform retail code’ protecting the rights of both retailers and customers (including the right of retailers to put together some kind of ‘difficult customer registry’ similar to bad-check registries), and I for one don’t want more federal regulation in my life or anyone else’s.

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Name : Gus, Gender : M, City : Cola, State : SC Country : United States, Occupation : Former Retail Manager,