Student Voice


November 29, 2023




Customers have no respect

March 8, 2007

It’s Saturday afternoon at the bridal shop where I work and we were swarmed with girls waiting to try on their gowns.

The appointments for this particular day had been booked for the past three weeks, yet for some unknown reason my manager chose to keep the department painfully understaffed. The lack of help pushed us 20 minutes behind our appointment log and we were scrambling to catch up. With most customers, a simple apologetic explanation of the situation will suffice. On this Saturday, however, I listened to the biggest tantrum I had ever heard in the five and a half years I have worked in retail.

A bride and her mother came waltzing into the shop 15 minutes late for their appointment (which really didn’t matter given how behind schedule we were), and marched to the front of the already lengthy check-in line to declare their arrival. Very apologetically, I told the duo we were running behind and would get them up to a room as soon as possible.

This response, which was more than acceptable for every other patiently waiting bride in the reception area, was not what the mother wanted to hear.

For the next 20 minutes, I had to suffer through the mother’s ranting and raving over how terrible we were as a store and how inconsiderate I was as a sales associate.

I can handle slander and accusations but, when the mother declared “you are here to work for me, and I expect my scheduled appointments to be on time,” a light bulb went off in my head and I knew that I had the topic for my next column.

For anyone who has worked in customer service before, you understand this scenario very well. A customer is upset over poor or slow service and assumes that the entire event is your fault. Although, when the situation is out of your hands, it seems ridiculously unfair to have to be the punching bag for the establishment as a whole.

There are so many complaints about poor customer service, but what about the stories of how many poor customers there are? My words of advice to anyone planning to eat out, go shopping, see a movie, get a haircut or even answer a telephone: have a little respect! If you are visiting a place that works by appointments or reservations, keep in mind that it is run like a doctor’s office; there will always be a wait, so plan accordingly. Even if you have never worked a customer service job before, consider for a moment what we must be going through: maybe our co-workers are newly hired, it’s been an extremely busy day and we still haven’t gotten a break or we are out of stock in a particular item. Many of those issues can’t be helped at that particular moment. Be sympathetic of the situation, and we will do our best to make you happy as a customer. Consider this for the next time you dine out: we don’t work for you, you chose to do business with us.

Laney Smith is a student at UW-River Falls.