Customer is always right? Not for me

Daviot Kelly
Daviot Kelly

September 16, 2019

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“Even your most loyal customers always have a choice about where to take their business.”

 – Marilyn Suttle, from the book Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer Into Your Biggest Fan

There are some jobs I know I would not be able to do.

To have the intellectual capacity is one thing, to have the qualifications is another. But there is a certain ‘X’ factor that also must be factored in especially when you’re dealing with jobs that require direct interaction with the public.

Simply put, I could not work in the service industry.

To be even more specific, I mean jobs in a restaurant, cook shop, bar, store, wholesale, and okay you get the point.

The saying is that the customer is always right. I believe that actually, sometimes, the customer can be downright wrong.

But the ‘experts’ will tell you the opposite. Well, I’ll try and meet them in the middle. I believe some customers can go and be ‘right’ somewhere else.

Quite frankly, some of these customers can be downright jackasses and clowns, not to mention just damn rude.

I’ve heard customers trying to buy peanuts and are clearly told by the vendor “I only have honey roasted”.

The customer then proceeds to order “two fruit and nut”. Slowly, the vendor repeats “I only have honey roasted.”

The almost inevitable responses are either “How yuh fi nuh have no fruit and nut?” or “No other one?”

Sure there are others, that’s why they told you they “only” have honey roasted. Bruh. Now who can really blame the vendor if they raise their voice? Talk truth.

Another time I remember a clearly inebriated fellow, after begging for something no bar is supposed to sell, telling the bartender to go home and do something explicit wid har man.

Now if she smashed him over the head with an empty flask, squaddie woulda haffi carry har go station. Would that really be fair?

In his defence, he did apologise. But not before she gave him a look that would kill an entire herd of cattle.

I remember one day I was in a fast food restaurant and two women ordered particular pieces of chicken.

They got something else. Hey, mistakes happen. But in addition to pointing out said mistakes, one of them felt it necessary to say “she (the server) mussi can’t read”.

Now, based on the ‘rules’, the server cannot tell her “maybe you need to learn to cook” or, what I would have gone for, “based on your size, yuh can do without fast food for a while.”

People love to say you must be ‘professional’. I always remind people that we’re human beings first, professions second.

And if something hits the wrong nerve, you could be a member of the Missionaries of the Poor, yuh wi get dark.

There is a place for respect however, no matter how disagreeably difficult the customer may be. And as any business person will tell you, every dollar counts.

But massa, yours truly would go out of business very quickly, because while I love profit, I love sensible customers even more.

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Daviot Kelly


Daviot Kelly

Daviot Kelly describes mumbling and fumbling as two of his greatest obstacles in life, but not when it comes to penning his weekly column, Kelly’s World. A wizard with the pen, Kelly has been sharing his wit and unique perspective with the Flair since 2006.

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