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No One Is Always Right

If i could travel back in time, and come back in time for work, I’d have to assassinate the English or French Business persons that came up with this harmful, common sense defying and harmful slogan.

 It went down like this. After I Asked, “What can I get for you?” And after that it was all uphill. Well, on the surface it was a typical “Sheez, can ya just order, correctly, ya know articulate in words what it is that you are trying to order-if that is not asking too much.” Well, apparently it is asking too much. What is too much…a common transaction where a customer(s) tells the handsome atheist and skeptical barista what it is that they want: then you pay, say thanks and tip me accordingly. The last couple of years it has become more difficult for the average customer to say, “Hello, can I get a cup of coffee.” then complete the transaction with out a hitch.Really, really pathetic.

All business’ have this option but it is only used in extreme cases where service peeps, after taking many for the team, have had enuff.

 The ridiculous saying “The customer is always right” was first used in the early 20th century and also in 1908 by a French hotelier. There intention was to get more customers and make them feel welcomed-esp. their money. Along the way it got bastardized and the, how should I say this, the more stupider of peeps took it to be literal and from there all the fun. As a marketing ploy, I think it’s a great idea-empower the customer so they have the confidence to spend money in your shop, nothing wrong with that. But as a literal saying, mmmm, it is one of the most stupid sayings out there. No one is always correct, not even Einstein or Stephen Hawkins, and esp. the average peep on the streets.

This horrible phrase that has been ingrained into our capitalist culture has produced foolish and rude consumers that feel privileged to the extent that they are capable and willing to act like irrational fools. One just has to look at my not epic Yelp reviews and the occasional “talking to” from the wonderful @burnttorange. I admit to being “artistic moody” at times and the seasonal depression sure doesn’t help in the concentration, short fuse and good customer service department (and I totally admit that, ya know, being human). 

Is this the book for the super awesome sight? I’m sure only hospitality and service peeps buy this, but everyone should.

 Yesterdays incident had all the elements of “it’s not my fault (the worker)” and a clueless, unreasonable customer (and the customer is a good person and I do like her and have liked her for years, except when she is a bad customer). What happened was that she came in with her family and a family of friends and they attempted to order. Pretty easy task if you ask me. What happened was they asked three times for a specific drink that does not have chocolate. What I told them was that we have two drinks like that, one is vanilla and the other is mocha (chocolate), so they should order the vanilla one, easy right. Collectively they could not understand that mocha is chocolate and proceeded to order the mocha drink even though it is chocolate(they kept asking for a mocha with no cholcolate over and over).With patience I explained to them that mocha is chocolate and that they wanted the vanilla drink. They straight up could not understand that the mocha version of this drink is chocolate. I kept saying “sounds like you want the vanilla one,” and I did it with patience, no raising my voice and no impatience. In fact I said it in my unemotional stoner zombie voice (it really couldn’t have been with less emotion or with more patience.) Reluctantly, they ordered the vanilla one (now that I think about it, they wanted something else, but they did not have the ability to articulate what it was that they wanted).

Still not being a jerk (and I’m certainly capable of doing that, but I didn’t), while instead of ordering for themselves they went around and asked “what do you want, what do you want,” when they should have just concentrated on what they wanted. Finally they completed their order. It took way too long to order the few items that they wanted and the whole time there were three people waiting behind them. When it came time to pay, they argueed about who should pay, “No let me, I owe you. “No, I have a credit card let me.” That went back and forth for too long and the peeps waiting were waiting patiently (thanks patient homies). Finally their order was done and I handled the three patient peeps in a matter of minutes-because they acted like adults and knew what they wanted and were able to understand the english words coming out of my mouth and, with kindness, they tipped me. Then the people who did not understand words like “mocha is chocolate” or “there are only two flavors, one is vanilla and the other is mocha-which is chocolate” came back. With kindness I said, “Hey what’s up, do you need something else?” She said that her 20oz Americano was too watery*. OK, at that point I wanted to explode, but still kept my cool. Without raising my voice I said, “I’ll make you another one,” and I did. The one womean who has been a customer for a very long time and I actually like her said in a slightly raised voice, “You know there are cameras here.” I didn’t know exactly what she meant, but today, after my boss said something, I believe that she was mad because I messed up somehow (in her mind) and that I better do better (when my service was stellar. When I do bad service, I admit it. This was not the case.).

This assumption will be made and in angry, unreasonable tone, that this is how it is all of the time.

Going to a shop or a cafe to get something is a two way street and it’seasy street at that**. If you want kindness and respect, the you should give kindness and respect. The barista, and hospitality workers in general, often “take one for the team.” Most of the time I bite the bullet and show kindness (and most of the time I’m in a good mood and can just brush off the negativity). Here at the #atheistcafe we always “take one for the team” and if we get edgy (I did not in this instance and my awesome coworkers usually do the same), then it is not our problem, it is yours.

I fear that the counter is a microcosm of what is going on in the nation. It is an indicator species that shows the toxicity of what should be everyday common and easy endeavors. Recently in the gulf because of the horrible BP spill last year, dolphins and their cubs are washing up on shore because of the massive oil spill that happened last year. When there are huge sardine die offs that have happened twice along the California coast in the past two months, that shows there is something wrong with the coastal environment. When time after time, and with more and more frequency that past couple of years, customers are not capable of doing something easy like ordering whatever it is that you want, but they fail, then blame the counter person, that is a sign of a general, what should I call it…stupidity; and that indicates the downfall of this nation. Really what is more easy than going into a shop and saying, “Hey man, can I get (insert something here). I would say nothing.

It was very rare before, but now we have to deal with bratty privileged kids that are rude ( no yes’ and/or please), people on their phones multitasking-but they are so clueless that it takes them a long time to order-which is simple-and the are ignoring the peep on the other side of the phone. When the counter person, after asking several times, asks if they can pay now because there are people waiting behind them, then it is the counter person that is rude and “how dare you.” Sheez.

I can go on and on, but looking at the length of this (it is way longer than a regular post), it has turned into a rant (sorry). My fear is that people are becoming stupider and stupider. What were once easy tasks are now difficult because of attempted multitasking. The old slogan “The customer is always right” was at one time an ingenious marketing tool that has became to be believed as literal (when it was never intended as such and, really, it is impossible to always be correct). I’m going to try harder, because my boss is wonderful and deserves my best effort. That is on my side of things. What I cannot control is the stupidity of the general public. I’ve been at this job for 18 years and I have seen the good and the bad. It never used to be customers asking what does vanilla taste like, or I want a mocha, but with no cholcolate.

I know I always says this, but it rings ture, esp. right now. I fear that the comedy movie Idiocracy is turning into a documentary. I fear that Idiocracy is becoming American society. Let’s hope that that is not true.

* The customer is not always right.

* Why Yelp sucks

* For all the servers out there

* An american in this case was 20oz of water and 4oz of espresso, so of course it’s watery.

** I believe that there is nothing more easy than going into a store and telling them what you want.


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