Monday, November 1, 2010

Sucky Customers


Today, in a reversal of the customer service rant from yesterday, I am going to take a look at the issue from the other side, the side of the server. You see, I have also been on this side for many, many years. I have had some horrendous customers. I worked in various restaurants as a waitress for nearly four years, before getting an office job where I still deal with customers, but mostly over the phone now.
I know that many people have horror stories about the customers (or guests as one particular establishment that I worked at would call them) that they have served or that they know of.
There are ranking of suckyness when it comes to these people.
  • Firstly there is the mild whinger who likes to whinge about everything you've done so far, but won't take it any further then that.
  • Then there is the cheap-o, who eats the entire meal and then wants it for free because there was something wrong with it. Pretty much every place has a policy is that if the person eats the whole meal, and then there is no refund. The thing is though, these jerks do it all the time and realise that the restaurant would rather just let the guy have the meal for free (plus usually the masses of beer consumed with the meal) then put up with him chucking a tantrum in the restaurant and causing a scene.
  • Then there are the stingy customers. They also want something for nothing, but do not bother with the pretense that they are actually going to pay for it. A perfect example of this is people that try to swipe desserts from the dessert cabinet and think no one is going to notice. We all see them do it, but can't do much about it, because again they will chuck a tantrum and management just do not want to deal with it.
  • Then comes the "I'm so important - I have to take this call - RIGHT NOW!" customers. You know the ones I mean. The ones who stay on their phones when they are about to be served. This one actually has sub-classifications. There is the one who is apologetic, but still does not hang up the phone, the one who will interrupt his phone convo for a sec to bark an order at you like you are inconveniencing him and then there are my personal favourites - the ones that stick their hands in your face to keep you quiet while they continue their convo and flat out ignore you.
  • Then there are the idiots. These people are just plain dumb. You have to explain something to them 50 million times and they still don't get it. Example-
Me: I'm sorry sir, we are all out of pumpkin soup at the moment, perhaps you might like to try the chicken soup instead.
Them: I want pumpkin soup, what is so hard to understand about that. Go get me my pumpkin soup.
Me: As I just said, we are actually don't have any of that one at the moment...
Them: Why not?! That's ridiculous. Just go get me my pumpkin soup.
Me: I'm sorry; we do not have any pumpkin soup today. Only chicken.
Them: Well why didn't you say so instead of asking me if I wanted pumpkin soup?
Yep, it's moments like that that make you want to crawl into the fetal position and cry while rocking backwards and forwards.
  • So then comes the lying rude cow. I can guarantee that everyone who has ever worked in customer service has come across one of these. This is the person who says something like, "I want nachos with chicken mince". Problem is you don't serve nachos with chicken mince, only beef mince, but when you tell the customer that she starts getting mad saying, "But I always have nachos with chicken mince from here. Are you new? Don't you know who I am? I always have nachos with chicken mince!!!" Well, no I am not new, I have served you every week for the last two years, and we have never ever had anything with chicken mince, let alone nachos. So you repeat that you are very sorry, but you have never served nachos with chicken mince. The woman in near hysterical now screams "Are you calling me a liar??? I want to speak to the manager!!!" The manager comes out and also tells the woman that we do not serve chicken nachos, never have. She screams some more until the manager offers her anything else that she wants off the menu free of charge just to shut her up. She takes the manager up on that all the while muttering about us being liars and out to get her.
  • But the worst customer of all by far is the negligent parent. These are the types that come in on kids eat free nights. They think that waitresses also provide a babysitting service. The first restaurant I worked in had a kids eat free night every Monday which gave up to two free kids meals for every adult that had a full priced meal. So the parents would let their kids get juiced up on soft drink and then them then run riot throughout the rest of the building. It was horrible and I now have a deep seated fear of having my own kids seeing so many in one place going nuts. I honestly believe that there is not a high enough chance of me getting one of the few good ones in order to take the risk of ever having children. I do understand that it has a lot to do with the parents as well.
There is one memory that will stick with me forever as a invisible scar from my waitressing days. It was kids eat free night; the place is a mad house. So nothing unusual there. We have a large table of mothers and their children and the kids are all going nuts. Except one. This kid was tugging on his mothers sleeve saying "I need to go to the toilet". The mother kept whacking the kids hand away from her sleeve and saying, "Not now, I'm busy". I was watching this from across the restaurant and had walked past a couple of times. You could see that the kid was desperate, but the mother kept ignoring him. The child looked really scared but dropped his pants and did his business of the restaurant floor. He was terrified and started crying right away because he knew what he had done was wrong.

The mother started screaming at him and I went over to try and diffuse the situation. When I got there, the mother looked at me and said "Clean that up!" while pointing to the mess on the floor. What a bitch. I refused and said that it was not a part of my job and I would not be cleaning the mess up and suggested that maybe she would like to do it seeing as it was her child and she ignored his pleas. She went ballistic and said that the child had never said anything about needing to go to the toilet. She threatened to have me fired if I did not clean up the mess immediately. She said to go and get the manager, but my manager (the only good one) was already there and had already been given a heads up on the problem by the bar staff. She didn't mince words and ripped the woman a new one. How dare she threaten her staff when it was her negligence as a parent that caused the accident?

The customer then started going on about how it was my fault and how dare the manager speak to her that way. She said that she and the whole table were leaving. She then tried to walk out without paying. The manager then told her if she stepped outside the door, she would call the police and have them arrested for theft. The woman was livid. The manager printed out the bill and handed it to her. The woman then said that the kid’s meals had not been taken off the bill. There had been about 10 kids at the table, so it was about $80 worth of kid’s meals that should have been taken off. The manager explained that she would have to get a professional cleaner in to fix up the floor, and that would cover the cost of it. Again, the woman went nuts and she treated to call the police on us. It was insane. I wasn't there to witness the end of it, but apparently the manager gave the woman another talking to and the woman paid quickly and left.
So those are some of the worst experiences that I have had with sucky customers. Please feel free to share yours; I would love to hear about them because it reminds me that there is always someone else who has it far worse. So it you think you can top my stories or even if you just want to vent in general, go ahead.


ChaosButterfly said...

Ummm, I definitely cannot top that story. That's horrible!!
And you know that poor little boy probably caught the spanking of his life when he got home. Poor baby and poor you too.
Although it's awesome that your manager had a backbone and stood up for you.

In any case, don't be scared to have munchkins of your own. It may seem like the good ones are rare, but I think it's the opposite. It's the ones who are inherently and irreversibly evil that are rare. I feel like many parents now don't like to parent...they let TV, computers, and video games do it for them, or they try to be their kid's best friend instead of a parent. So the kids come out all crazy. I think as long as you're willing to actively parent, then your kids will come out just fine. ^_^

And this is coming from a person whose only children will probably be furry and non-human. LOL.

Donna said...

Children have to be taught consideration at a young age. It doesn't come naturally, understanding that other people have feelings too. Babies, todders, and small children only understand the concept of themselves and their own wants and feelings.

Also, children have to be taught to be responsible for their own behavior, that there are rewards and penalties, and it's all up to them which one they will receive. If you're consistent, the kid will generally be well behaved no matter where you go.

I explained to my kids that most outings are for grown ups, and that they have to act like grown ups to go to shops, restaurants, etc. So one of the rewards to them was simply not being a baby anymore, they're grown up boys who can go to these places.

My youngest son threw a tantrum in a store when he was 3. I left my shopping cart and took them both out of the store. I said to him, this is my mistake. I thought you were grown up, but you're too young to go out with us. I only took my older son with me for about a month, and since we always went to lunch at McDonalds before shopping, this was a huge penalty to him. He never had a tantrum during an outing again.

So it's not just the kids learning consideration, the parents have to know about that already, then they will understand their kids values and what a good reward or penalty will be.

Which makes me think of my somewhat self centered friend, I went shopping with her and her son, he had a tantrum and she bribed him with a toy to stop. She just taught him to act up all the time, he gets rewarded for it. He was a rotten brat. The fact that she never learned to have much consideration for other people left her floundering as a parent, how do you teach something to someone else that you never learned yourself?

Anyway, kids learn by example, yours will say please and thank you, because they will see you do it. They'll turn out fine!

Donna said...

Oh and have you seen this website, Not Always Right? Most of them are funny, some are roll your eyes so stupid, others are infuriating. This site is a total time suck, you can get stuck there reading for hours!

Rebecca said...

Hi Chaos,

I know what you're saying, my parents said the same thing. But I still have a fear. Lol.

You sound like you will make an awesome mother yourself, be it to humans or the furrier kind. Lol


Rebecca said...

Hi Donna,

I think that's how my parents taught me. It stills seems so overwhelming though.

I know of people who bribe their children, it always, always ends badly.

I like the treating them like grown ups idea. That's all I wanted when i was a kid, so that is a massive reward in itself, the McDonalds is just a bonus. Score!

As for Not Always Right, I loooove that site. I've been reading it for years because no matter how crappy your day is, there is always someone out there who is copping it worse. And to be honest, it's funny when it happens to other people.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment Donna. I really appreciate it!


Karina said...

Wow, poor kid! O__O Really, that just made me furious with that women, and I don't even want to imagine how much she must have fought with the kid when they got home, for "embarassing her friends in front of everyone" *shakes head*