Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Have It Your Way

I was waiting in line at Starbucks the other day, and there was a rather large line. The people in front of me were getting angrier as their wait (and everyone else in the line) increased. When they finally got to the barista, they began to yell. Has this ever happened to you?

When did we become such a 'me' society, and how have we let it get this far? While the barista was getting berated, I felt bad for the employee, but more importantly I felt awkward. This customer, who had to wait for a shorter amount of time than I did, summarily decided that it was their job to scold the employees publicly, belittling them in the process. Yet, no one else in the line felt it was important enough to warrant what equated to a screaming match from a two year old.

Afterwords, the manager came over, and gave the customer some free drink coupons and the customer walked away happy. I was left thinking two things: great job to Starbucks for containing this issue, and silencing the belligerent customer; but more importantly, why did the manager reward the customer for their petulance? We set out to stop it in children at an early age, but when it comes to adults, we practice a system of appeasement to make a buck.

I wish that companies today would just grow some balls and tell the customers who act like children and throw temper tantrums that there are other coffee shops. In fact, I believe that if enough companies did this, and maybe rewarded the good customers, they could effectively change consumer behaviour for the better. After all, there is a high turnover with these service jobs because there is little pay, and bitchy customers to deal with. So why not change customer behaviour? In the long run, it makes more business sense, no?

1 comment:

  1. It's funny, at work I experience this all the time.. "What is wrong with you guys, I have been waiting for 20 minutes just to get some help here?!" ... when we are short staffed and are working our bums off already. In reality we want to tell them to shove it, but for good customer relations you apologize sincerely. To top it off, they still get irate about it all.

    I have been thinking about this situation lately.. perhaps it has turned into a "me me me world" or is it just the certain services that people feel they have the "right" to do whatever they want ie. retail, fast food, cheesy entertainment? But in actuality, chances are people wouldn't lose their minds at an upper class restaurant or outing.

    ... guess it is just a sign of the changing times.