Several months back, I wrote an editorial on bad customer service, and the trials and tribulations we go through with automated services, a lack of caring from certain businesses, and the trouble we sometimes go through to get quality service.
However, this week, I am going to write about bad customers, which are out there as I witnessed for myself at a recent luncheon.
I am sometimes amazed at how rude people can be to the waiters and waitresses serving them food. I was a waitress while going to college, and I can tell you, there were times that I no longer cared about getting a tip, just getting rid of the rude people who could not be pleased no matter what I did.
During an event luncheon last week, I watched a person continuously give a waitress trouble for the food that was set for that luncheon. It wasn’t as though we got a menu to choose from, it wasn’t a Burger King where you “get it your way.” It was an organized event with the set menu.
This person complained about the assorted breadbasket – there wasn’t enough of the kind she liked. She complained about the appetizer, demanding something else. When I say demanding, I will stress there was no please or thank you, it was a strict demand.
The waitress complied kindly with every request. I was impressed with how she maintained composure and continued to answer to the rude requests.
Then, there was the main course where her plate had fewer slices of meat than the one next to her. That led to another complaint. She requested more meat and that the server go get different vegetables for her. The server again complied, providing a plate of heated vegetables that weren’t even on the day’s menu.
It got to a point where I felt the need to overcompensate, thanking the server for every water, or tea refill. I wanted to leave her a big tip even though that wasn’t allowed at this event.
After the luncheon, I got to thinking about how often I see customers being rude to those who don’t have the power to make company decisions, to those who didn’t choose the menu and were only doing their jobs by serving it, for those who answer the phone and take the heat for a broken product that they had nothing to do with.
If we’re being honest, we’ve all done it. We’ve all had those moments where there needs to be someone to blame and that employee who deals with you at the lower levels is the one who suffers the brunt of our anger.
What we sometimes seem to forget is these people are earning an honest living, and while not all perfect, they don’t deserve to be treated like second-rate citizens as this server was treated last week.
Being disrespectful to servers is one of my biggest pet peeves. They handle our food, they work in busy, stressful environments, and until you’ve done it yourself, you have no idea how hard it can be to please diners, especially those who you can’t please no matter how good you are at your job.
The bottom line is as a customer, we are not only responsible for paying the check, we should also be responsible for showing human kindness.
While some may believe the service industry professionals don’t deserve respect based on classism, prejudice, discrimination, or intolerance, I choose to believe they are human beings just trying to earn a living and shouldn’t have to deal with those who feel entitled.