The Customer Is Almost Always Right

When I want to hide from the world I often decide to pay some bills in person.  It’s actually quite cleansing.  Yesterday it was quite irritating.

When did we decide that “the customer is always right” is optional?

It’s only been good since the early 1900’s when Harry Selfridge used it in London.  If I remember history correctly he had a string of department stores there.

I went to pay one bill and walked up with a smile to the young woman and handed her my slip and she told me that “Oh you can use the kiosk over there.”  With a smile still on my face I told her that wasn’t going to happen.  

“Oh but it is easy,” she continued.

“I don’t care how easy it is, this is the way we are going to do this today, ok”

I finally got that particular bill paid.

Across the mall I decided to pay another bill.  I walked up to the counter with a smile on my face (a smile that was diminishing by the second) and presented the bill and the money and the young woman looked at me and said “you are not the primary user so I cannot take your money.”

Huh?“It is for your security.”  

This one minute task was grating on my nerves.  I told the young lady that we needed to make exceptions since this was not going to be a long procedure.  

Enter the manager.

The manager looks at me and smiles.  

“Oh you know you aren’t on the account.”“Does that mean you don’t ever want me to pay the bill again?”“Oh no.  Let me correct that for you sir.”

The nice man behind the counter then solved the issues of the nice man on the other side of the counter.

But, when did we make this world so we don’t even want personal contact.  

Use the kiosk is not a replacement for thought, for contact or for conversation.

But that is what we have made the world today.

We don’t want personal contact, so we don’t demand it.  We don’t want conversation --we just want to win debates.

Remember, the customer is always right, if its convenient.

(Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images)


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