The customer is often wrong


We stand at the intersection of having just celebrated Labor Day as a salute to hard-working people and the rapid approach of heavy shopping holiday season. From this vantage point, three simple words express the feelings many of us have as we choose where to spend our hard-earned dollars in today’s dining, service and retail climate.

In short, Dear customers of America: get over yourselves.


The false notion “The customer is always right”, has lead to the sanctioned bullying abuse of millions of teenagers, young adults, and people of every age just trying to do their jobs in customer service today.

It is ridiculous and it needs to stop. I get it; customers wield more power than ever. Every entity is frightened of the bad review. Let me assure you as a customer I read them and always wonder what the customer did wrong too?

Sure, there are some really horrific experiences. I’ve had some myself. On the other hand, I’ve also seen some reviews that sound like the tantrums of a self-absorbed nutter. Frankly, I would embrace the day when everyone had a rating.

Imagine if Google user BombRacer99 only had a 1-star rating as a customer? Boorish, easily confused. I give Bob a 1 star out of 5 as a customer. Maybe a 2 as a human being.

Then we would all know not to give Bob’s review much credence.

Poor experiences

Ditto anyone who has a poor experience everywhere they go. We all have bad service from time to time but if you can’t be happy anywhere, then maybe it’s you? At this stage in life, I find myself dealing with the public — often.

Oddly enough, I rarely have anyone be rude to me (knock on wood). I don’t know if this is because I am utterly delightful (that’s probably it) or because I am somewhat intimidating. When dealing with people, I actually enjoy giving friendly service and being nice and trying to help people.

On the other hand, my RBF (that’s Resting Beast Face for the family publication) can go hard. I honestly don’t have a resting beast face. My beast face is always on duty, ever vigilant. My beast face will rest when its work is done.

If your lack of civility and home raising is showing in public, I’m just the gal to correct you. I will thus share my How to be a Civil Customer Guide to Life: Being told no is a fact of life.

Get over it. You will not be rewarded for bad behavior.

Fits and tantrums will get you nothing but polite disdain if you’re lucky and removed from the premises if you are not. The world does not revolve around your needs and wants. Respect is earned by both parties.

It can not be demanded simply because you exist in that space while holding cash or a credit card. You cannot possibly be always right unless you are, in fact, Jesus.

From what I know of Jesus, he wouldn’t act the fool and berate workers, so right there you’ve proven you are NOT HIM.

I don’t even need to check I.D. I just KNOW.

Speaking of which, please consider your professional position when out in public. If you are, say, a Pastor at the local church, line jumping because you are very busy is definitely not What Jesus Would Do.

Making an impression

You leave an impression of yourself — and your organization — with every public interaction. Try to make it a good one. I get it, we are all busy. Is your good reputation and that of your message really worth chipping away at just so you can be first in line to buy brake pads or beer?


Speaking of which, you with the picky palate? We need to talk.

Customers will literally give the most complicated order of an item that isn’t even on the menu, then send it back or poorly review it anyway.

Here is an idea: if you need a restaurant to make you a complex dish that removes half the menu ingredients, adds something they don’t even have on hand and swaps out the others for something else you prefer — perhaps dining there isn’t for you?

Case in point: don’t go to the hot dog shop and ask for a filet mignon, naturally. Even on basic orders, mistakes happen. Learn to chill.

I know of a hard-working waiter reduced to tears over a $10 order of bone-in versus boneless chicken wings.

Honestly? Chicken wings? If you are reduced to a plate slamming public display of terror over CHICKEN WINGS, that tells me all I need to know about your soul.

Bless your heart. I get it. Many situations are frustrating. We don’t always get the service we deserve. Then again, sometimes maybe we do.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.


  1. For many years my off farm job was in retail: first auto parts, and then for one of the largest coatings manufacturers in the world. Took a lot of grief. Some was justified, most was hyperventilating on the part of the customer. Eight years ago I started a year-round, indoor farmer’s market and the proverbial buck stops with me. 99% of the time I’ll work with customers. A couple years ago a woman lit into me for closing a day to spend time with my wife as it was our anniversary. She actually asked if my wife was more important, and I said yes. I also added “This is my place, I pay the rent, I pay the bills, and we do things here my way or they don’t get done.” She left in a huff. An elderly couple witnessed the whole event and burst into laughter once the woman was gone and told me how much they enjoyed the spectacle. The majority of customers are good to work with but the bad ones make up for it. I have said many times that everyone should be mandated to work retail for a least a year so they learn how not to act in public.


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