Service of Being a Good Customer

October 23rd, 2014

Categories: Customers, No, Service

I imagine that pushy, over demanding customers think that this is the only way to get the best service. The obnoxious approach might work on the spot at retail or in a restaurant because sales and restaurant staff want to avoid a noisy tantrum that would make other customers uncomfortable and spoil their experience.

Be ugly enough and the sales person might remember you and see that you wait next time or disappear in the storage room as you approach. The busy restaurant may have a waiting period of an hour for the loudmouth; ten minutes for everyone else.

We’ve all known—or observed–people who feel that they can treat another person abominably because they are paying for a service or because they think that they are important and deserve subservience. In a conversation about such people a friend, with a topnotch reputation in a technical field, said that she wouldn’t stay a half hour overtime for a nasty client even if her boss agreed to pay her a substantial sum. At the same time, she’d stay even longer for a lovely person, even if the boss said that there couldn’t be an extra cent in it for her because he wasn’t charging the customer for overtime, because she was down on her luck.

Have you been in the enviable position of being able to give a nasty client/customer short shrift? Do you think pushy, entitled, aggressive behavior wins in the end?

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6 Responses to “Service of Being a Good Customer”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    There’s no clear answer to being pushy vs. mannerly. Much depends on personalities involved along with situations at hand. Most of the time a broad smile along with a funny remark wins the race. It’s always a good sign when, as a frequent shopper, smiles break out among the staff. That’s not to say that throwing ones weight around doesn’t work. It can, but revenge is not only sweet, but can be entertaining. Imagine the satisfaction one gets when a store owner/manager, protective of both staff and customers, forces the departure of Mr./Ms. Obnoxious. Result: Happy staff and return customers, a fine recipe for success.

    I’ve seen it happen, and it’s great fun to see a bully’s bluff shattered. Audience 1, Bully 0.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    My friends whose jobs put them in daily contact with the public would cheer if they read your comment.

    This incident isn’t spot-on topic as it’s more about an unconscious rather than an aggressively obnoxious customer: A friend told me about a restaurant manager who firmly and politely told a couple with a baby who couldn’t stop shrieking to please leave. It didn’t occur to one of them to walk the baby outside so he could catch his breath, regroup and maybe fall asleep. As they left the others in the place cheered.

  3. Job Caretaker Said:

    To answer your second question first, if winning is defined as becoming very rich, which is now almost always the case in this country, then obnoxious, aggressive behavior almost always wins out.

    My favorite story about the satisfaction which comes from putting such people in their place took place a few years ago during a New York doorman strike. I was looking after a couple of New York City apartment buildings for some overseas owners when it happened. Working closely with the managing agents, I was doing my best to make sure that essential services and security were not compromised, and with the cooperation of most if our tenants, keeping things going.

    A day or so into the strike, however, I received a telephone call from Her Royal Highness, Princess “X”, one of the wives of a major tenant, a key member of the Kuwaiti royal family. She demanded that we break with the other City owners, settle the strike immediately, and restore full services forthwith, arguing that our building was different because its residents included members of royal families whose station in life entitled them to special treatment. I blew up and reminded the princess that, at the moment, she was living in a republic, not a monarchy, and would receive no better or worse treatment than any other resident.

    It did occur to me that there might be repercussions, but I quickly realized that most Arab men detest pushy women even more than I do. If anybody important found out about my rudeness, they would be more likely to applaud than condemn.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Job C,

    What a story! I bet it felt good then and it clearly continues to tickle you and well it should.

    I can just imagine the ruckus had you done as she’d ordered! Wow! That would have generated the kind of publicity that might have made it impossible for Ms. Princess to exit the building because of the strikers and paparazzi and onlookers you’d brought down upon the place, not to speak of your removal from your job as you’d have disgraced the building you represented so it couldn’t function in a city in which unions rule!

  5. RCF Said:

    Actually, I think the nasty person has already lost out. They are NOT happy – just look at their faces. They are being forced by some inner misery to be unpleasant. I am inclined to tell the nasty person that I am sorry they feel so “bad.” If they want to continue to flail out, they are not going to win in the end. I have not been in the position of deciding whether or not to “give them” what they are asking for (you can translate that any way you want), but were I to offer my sympathies, they probably would not know what to do. The other response might be:”I am sorry, I cannot provide what you need. Take care.” So, in a word, no – I do not think Pushy wins out.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    There’s truth to the old saw about killing someone with kindness. Brilliant suggestion! I especially love the “take care” part.

    The hardest thing is to keep cool when being verbally battered although driving the nasty person nuts with charm and smiles could be fun if you look at it from that perspective.

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