Are You A Customer Service Saboteur? If So, What Kind?

The idea of the bad consumer — the person whose antics make products and services more expensive or cause stores to enact anti-consumer policies — is nothing new to Consumerist readers. But a college student in Washington recently undertook an effort to identify seven categories of what he calls “Customer Service Saboteurs.”

Washington State University student Joel Anaya presented his findings on Customer Service Sabotage — “The act or behavior must have a negative effect on others customers while at service establishments” — at the Hospitality Business Management school’s Academic Showcase.

“Customers don’t just go to a restaurant to enjoy a burger,” he explains. “They go to have a good time, to enjoy the ambience of the establishment. If that’s ever affected, if they ever leave liking your hamburger but saying they had a bad time, that’s not a win for the restaurant.”

As part of his research, Anaya came up with the following categories of Customer Service Saboteurs:
Badmouthers: This is the most common class of saboteur, whose favorite weapon is loud profanity. “It’s crazy what a few bad words can do, how uncomfortable they can really make other customers nearby,” says Anaya.

Paranoid Shouters: These are close cousins to Badmouthers, but are identified by their tendency to lose control at the first sign of inadequate service or a perceived injustice.

Customers with Poor Hygiene: These are your fellow shoppers whose smell, or sweatiness or nose/ear/scab-picking sours other customers’ — and presumably store employees’ — experience.

Outlandish Request-Makers: The shoppers and diners who bring customer service to a halt by making complex demands.

Service Rule-Breakers: These are line-cutters and other people who for whatever reason are convinced they aren’t governed by the social norms that we all generally adhere to.

Bad Parents with Bad Kids: Parents who let their children run amok, not just making noise but actually interfering with the goings-on of other customers.

Unknowledgeable Customers: These are similar to the Outlandish Request-Makers, except these people hold up customer service by being uninformed about the product or service they are buying.

Anaya’s goal wasn’t just to come up with funny categories for people that spoil the shopping experience. It’s more about identifying the specific issues associated with each type of saboteur and acting appropriately.

We’re sure y’all have different and/or better ideas for customer service saboteur types. Feel free to share in the comments.

New category of heel: the customer service saboteur [WSU]

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I was expecting a clasification of people who ruin return policies and customer services issues, not consumers that I eat next to.

    I think I care less about his list and more about the one I wish he had made.

    • Kuri says:

      Hmm, maybe Consumerist should eventually do a sort of list compiling of the worst customer types that ruin the experienc,e customer service or otherwise.

    • WalterSinister2 says:

      Seconded. I was expecting retail renters on the list.

      • FatLynn says:

        I had a dilemma on this last night. I needed a pliers that could open to about 2.5″ between the jaws. There were several that looked like they may be okay, but there was no way to be certain while it was in the package. I ended up buying one, opening it up in the parking lot, and then immediately returning it. But what are my other options? The sales guy had no idea.

        I feel like a jerk, because the packaging was damaged, but it’s not like I actually used it.

        • StarKillerX says:

          “But what are my other options?”

          Oh gee, I don’t know. Maybe not buying it if you didn’t plan on keeping it?

          I know strange concept.

          Here’s a question for you, if you bought an item you thought was new and when you got home you found that in fact the item had been opened, used and then closed back up to appear new what would be your reaction?

          • The Cupcake Nazi says:

            The hell? He didn’t buy it with no intention of keeping it, he bought it intending to keep it if it turned out to work as needed. It didn’t, so he returned it. If the tool is packaged in such a way that he can’t assess what it can do properly WITHOUT buying it and opening it, what else is he supposed to do?

            Sure, it’s a little much to ask that a power tool or something complex along those lines be packaged such that you can assess the capabilities in full before buying, but the idea that you should be able to check, or find printed on the package, exactly how wide a pair of pliers can be opened is not unreasonable. Lacking that ability and information from another source, he did it the only way he could.

          • EasilyDistracted says:

            I think you misread FatLynn’s comment…she couldn’t measure the pliers’ jaw-width until she got to the parking lot…the sales guy wasn’t any help. She never said that she used them.

          • Jimmy60 says:

            If it was underwear I’d be annoyed. Pliers, well, they’re pliers.

          • MMD says:

            Why are you so angry?

        • doctor.mike says:

          I had a similar dilemma. I wanted to buy a WaterPik for travel. The actual travel model is crap, because of the battery. My local CVS (yes!) in [not redacted] Staten Island, New York, had a small, plug-in model, but I need dual voltage, because I travel in different countries. This model has a Made in China (MIC) small power brick, shown clearly on the box, but the box is labeled as 110 V. Every other MIC power adapter is dual voltage, so I guessed this one would be, too, regardless of what the package says.

          Here’s what I always do: I find a sales clerk and tell, politely, “I want to buy this item, but I need to know what is inside the package, as there is no display model.” We open the package together, and if the item is suitable, I buy it.

          This particular time, the converter was not suitable, and I told the clerk why. She neatly repackaged it, and put it back on display. No returns, no “used” merchandise.

          Courtesy pays!

          • DarkPsion says:

            That’s one that always got to me, if they would just ask, we can open it together and see if it is correct.

            I have years of experience opening and re-wrapping my Christmas presents. ;)

    • Latentius says:

      A lot of these seem like they’d transfer over with just a minor tweak in wording.

    • melati says:

      Extreme couponers anyone?

  2. sagodjur says:

    When I worked retail years ago, I always said that customers were the number one barrier to providing good customer service.

    It’s still true today even when I’m just another customer. I usually mention it when some retail CSR apologizes for the fact that the previous customer took so long because they had a number of tedious requests.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      That’s an odd thing to say, given you don’t have a business without the customers. So if you perceive customers as the problem, then you’re doing it wrong, I guess.

      For example, if the previous customer took too long, maybe you need to adjust how you resolve customer issues, streamline, synergize departments and databases. Or adjust policies to make the overall experience between for customers on average.

      You’re always going to have fringe customers who just don’t fit into norms. But to say it’s their fault and not your own misses the point entirely.

      /rant over

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        between = better. Damn word replacement syndrome.

      • az123 says:

        Having owned a company and done more work in efficiency for retail than I care to think about… in a broad sense it is customers that cause a problem, but what it truly is that you have 1% of the customers that create 99% of the problems, which is what causes the system to slow down and everyone to end up with a bad experience.

        This 1% are the people who do things so stupid that new rules that make everyone else suffer get put into place, they are the reason the line backs up because even a full refund, apology, signed declaration of their greatness are not enough to make them stop complaining… Basically they are the people who just need to complain.

        But I do agree stores can do things to fix this themselves, you have bad customers you need to deal with them. Number one thing I would tell any store (large or small) is that you need a supervisor or backup on duty for customer service, when you get one of these troublesome people slowing things down for everyone then you either have the supervisor take over their issue and let the worker continue on with everyone else, or you have the backup come into play to tend to others while that person is handled.

        The problem is that now the store has to spend more money to deal with this 1% which in the end just cost everyone more. There are bad consumers out there and they do make things worse for everyone else, if you don’t think that is a reality then you need to take a step back and re-evaluate

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I’m glad I don’t work in retail. If we have an especially terrible client, we just stop putting in proposals for their RFPs. Or at the very least, we just arbitrarily add 50% to the budget and see what happens.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I don’t have a business myself, so maybe my feelings would change if I were in the thick of it. But for now, my opinion remains that I agree 1% causes 99% of the problems, and therefore you should just not do business with that 1%. You can refuse service to anyone, and there are definitely times where it’s better to do just that.

          Anecdotially, I heard a story from my manager in the youthful days of working at Safeway. This old man went to the customer service desk stating he deserved a bag of potatoes. He never bought any, but he still deserved them for whatever reason. And to appease him, the manager gave him a bag of potatoes. But then he came back and demanded another bag of potatoes. Eventually the manager gave in for the sake of appeasing a customer. After 3-4 bags of potatoes, the manager told the man basically, “I will give you a bag of potatoes today, but this is the last time, and I do not want to see you in this store ever again.”

          • homehome says:

            But they’re the ones who write consumerist and get everybody upset about an issue where they know it was their fault. They’re the ones you support in the arguement while only knowing 10% of the argument. Regardless, whether the company is right or wrong, they will be ostracized. Ppl who get into loans, can’t pay, then get mad because the borrower won’t help them. Or ppl who won’t check their minutes, then when they get their bill, all of sudden want to be diligent. Most of the posts on here are from that 1% who cause 99% of the problems.

            • Talmonis says:

              If you’re so assured of the perfection of corporations and businesses in this country, I believe you’re on the wrong blog. I do believe the WallStreet Journal, The New Yorker & Forbes magazine may be more your crowd.

              • homehome says:

                who said corporation are perfect? Reading comprehension 101.

                • Talmonis says:

                  Assuming that the problems are that of the consumers, instead of assuming that someone is telling the truth until proven otherwise would lead people to believe that you’re little more than a pro-corporate shill. Like I said, you may be more comfortable among the WSJ or New Yorker crowd, where the assumptions are much like your own.

                  • homehome says:

                    Again, you’re reading my post wrong, I’m not saying the corporation is always right, never have said that and I won’t say who’s right until I get the whole story. Two of the biggest complainers I’ve seen are cell phone owners and mortgage owners. I’ve worked in the cell phone industry and I’ve done a lot of work in mortgage on all levels. Most problems occur because the customer isn’t paying attention and are their own worst enemy.

                    I would literally beg ppl to read their contracts and not agree to something they didn’t read, very rarely they did. When I say rarely, I mean I could literally count the times that ppl actually did and even fewer times did ppl read the contract without me urging them to. I did this because I knew these be the same ppl who would come back 1 month, 6 months or a year later with all kinds of attitude claiming we defrauded or tricked them into this. And always respond that with “I didn’t know that was there in the contract or I didn’t sign anything” not realizing a verbal contract is the same as a written contract. I’m sorry I get tired of the crying from ppl who refuse to be responsible because they know that ppl will come out of the woodwork to help their own mistake. Then ppl in this country wonder why we have so many grown irresponsible ppl.

        • camman68 says:

          I still disagree with your 1% theory. I am having an issue with Waste Management. My contract states that they will pickup trash once a week and provide a dumpster. For that service, I agree to pay them “$x + tax” (Handwritten by salesman on contract.) The contract states they can adjust the rate any time they want due to fuel and material costs. The contract also states that they will not add any extra charges unless it is agreed to in writing by both parties. They raised the monthly rate on the second bill. Then they added a “fuel surcharge” – even though “increased fuel” is already covered in the rate agreement. Then they decided to skip some pickups. Once it was due to weather (they just canceled the route) and a few times they had no reason. I told them I paid them to pick up 3 yards of rubbish every week. The contract says they have 10 days to correct the situation. They stated that they picked it up the next week so we were even. I disagree. I pay for them to haul 13yards a month. If they skip one pickup, they have only hauled 10 yards. They refuse to credit me for missed pickups. I run a horse rescue so we always have a full dumpster. The neighbors don’t fill their dumpsters up so it doesn’t matter if a pickup is missed. So I guess that places me in the 1% because I expect them to fulfill the contract obligations.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            What does your story of truly poor customer service have to do with 1% causing the majority of problems? Your story doesn’t negate that.

          • Doubting thomas says:

            The fact that you have run into a bad business doesn’t change the fact that bad customers exist.
            If there is a 1% of customers that are bad ( a low-ball estimate IMHO) then there is also going to be a 1% of bad businesses.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I think that’s the only time I’ve ever seen the non-sarcastic use of the word “synergize” that wasn’t part of an HR PowerPoint presentation prior to layoffs.

      • Latentius says:

        Your comment seems to make sense, but I get the distinct impression you’ve never worked in Customer Service a day in your life.

        It would be nice if companies could perform some magic trick and make everyone happy, but reality simply doesn’t work like that. Sometimes, a customer walks in, already intent on being angry for whatever reason they can come up with, and there’s nothing you can do at all to make it better for them.

        Even worse, these types are frequently angry over something that truly is their own fault. Say you run a store with a very clear 30-day return policy, very prominently stated. Maybe you’ve even extended it to 90 days for the holidays. Even with all that, you’ll have people walk in 6 months or more after a purchase, and then get pissed off at you because you won’t accept their return. Or maybe they buy something expensive, go home, break it within a week, and expect the store to provide a replacement for free to cover their own mishap.

        Now, these types aren’t the majority, but they’re not exactly a niche group, either. Depending on what your business is, they could easily make up 10-25% of the customer service issues. They ignore the rules, shout, cuss, make a scene, and make all the employees and customers in the vicinity miserable. Yes, customers are what make a business sustainable, but they most definitely are also the cause of the majority of the problems experienced there.

        • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

          You make so much sense, it makes my head hurt. It’s like you and I are part of a hive mind. Sadly, this hive mind is apparently unavailable to a large portion of vocal Consumerist commenters who believe corporations/business are always evil and customers are never evil. That is to say, I don’t think a lot of vocal commenters have any reasoning capabilities or common sense; they just want something to be outraged at.

          • Brave Little Toaster says:

            I completely agree as well. Folks on here often comment about “entitlement” starting to run rampant through our society.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        Your comments make sense in a logical ordered world. If you ever find such a world I am sure they will be of great use. To avoid the situation of one customer with an above average list of demands and questions making other customers wait an unusual amount of time what you need is more people to help the customers who are waiting. However since you can’t predict when Needy Ned is going to show up that means you have to have extra staff on all the time. That raises you labor cost which raises prices. The truth is that there isn’t a perfect solution. Business make the best decisions they can Another truth is that there are “customers” who are bad for your business for various reasons. Some are scammers who are never going to be happy with anything because they know if they scream and yell long enough they will get something for free. Others are just the type of naturally unpleasant people, whether it is personality or hygiene, that make your employees miserable and your customers uncomfortable. Sadly these people don’t come with labels or warning tags and businesses usually just have to put up with the fact that there are always a few bad apples.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          +1000. People like to pretend the world works a specific way, in spite of every single scrap of evidence to the contrary, then claim that YOU’RE the one who is fucking things up if the world isn’t working like that.

          They’re everywhere, from the people who deny abuse-of-authority in government to the corporate apologists.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        For example, if the previous customer took too long, maybe you need to adjust how you resolve customer issues, streamline, synergize departments and databases. Or adjust policies to make the overall experience between for customers on average.

        By this statement alone I can tell you’ve never worked retail or customer service a day in your life. You can streamline & synergize till you’re blue in the face, and it will have ZERO effect on the bad consumers who come in the store already angry & looking for a fight, who scream, shout, swear, nit-pick, threaten, and refuse to leave the store till you give in to their demands to let them return a pair of used underwear without a receipt six months after they bought them.

        Some customers are just jerks, and no amount of customer-friendly policies will change that.

    • incident_man says:

      Maybe you need a lesson on what the term “customer focus” means. In my experience, and it is quite lengthy, a vast majority of “difficult” customers just want their grievance to be heard and empathised with, to feel valued, and to be treated like a human being. The truly “asshole” customers are a incredibly slim minority. What pushes these folks over the cliff from “difficult” to “asshole” is perceived employee indifference to their issue.

      I’ve found that, in most circumstances, by simply engaging them in an honest dialogue, acknowledging their concern, empathising with them, and offering to go the extra mile to attempt to solve the problem will usually net a positive result. Admittedly, I don’t solve every single issue all the time, but it’s the effort that makes the difference. A vast majority of the “difficult” customers I’ve used this approach with appreciate the effort and even apologize for their earlier behaviour. Many of them now come to me for assistance when they need it because I actually took the time to LISTEN to them.

      Being a customer myself, I know how I want to be treated when I do business with someone; that thought is ever-present in the back of my mind when I’m working WITH a customer.

      • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

        I completely disagree; I think the numbers are the other way around as most bad customers truly are just assholes. They don’t want to be heard and patronized. They just want to bitch about the situation because it makes them feel better because they’re just NOT good people. It doesn’t take a lot of courtesy and politeness to state a problem or issue plainly and without emotion to an employee. The second someone raises their voice in anger without provocation, they’ve become an asshole.

      • sagodjur says:

        The problem is that engaging every problem customer to that degree means that you may have to neglect other, polite and less needy customers because the problem customers demand so much more attention and service. If you’ve ever worked a retail job where you’re the only person manning the store and you have to try to serve multiple customers at the same time, it’s always the selfish problem customers who ruin it for everyone else.

        I recall problem customers who demanded that I attend to their problem immediately instead of helping the three or four other customers who just wanted to checkout. Sometimes losing a small sale to a problem customer is worth it over losing the several sales of other customers who aren’t creating a problem or being selfish.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I have done that. I have told countless employees that I am sorry that the person in front of treated them poorly. I tell them that the person was being unreasonable etc… usually they are so thankful to get a little sympathy. I am so embarrassed about how some people behave. It saddens me to no end.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Oops. I misread what you were saying. I thought you were saying you showed sympathy for workers who were mistreated. You were saying you get apologized to.

  3. Auron says:

    This job would be great if it wasn’t for the f*cking customers.

  4. Cat says:

    Unknowledgeable Customers:

    “This USB cable is NOT wireless!”

    • NotEd says:

      You almost just got me fired.

      +1

    • shepd says:

      I had the joy of being in the call centre when a customer decided to call and complain that he had to plug his wireless router into the wall and into his modem.

  5. az123 says:

    This is really not customer service related more related to customer experience at an establishment. Probably just semantics but when I think of customer service I think of my interacting with someone at the store or company (returns / complaints etc…). Examples I was expecting are the people who do things that cause the formation of rules that make everyone suffer for the behavior of a few and people who matter what just cannot be made happy… or think that everything that happens in life is clearly a personal attack on them

  6. QuantumCat says:

    I know it’s part of the customizable sandwich thing, but I sometimes get impatient with folks who order several complex sandwiches at Subway.

    The worst offender was one person who demanded specific bits of tomato–she was upset when the pieces looked “too mushy”.

    I realize they’ve every right to order how they like–I just can’t help but sigh when I’m behind such people in line.

    • az123 says:

      My favorites are the ones that just cannot decide what they want, or ask questions like “what is that” to the guy making the food. Odds are if you don’t know what it is you are not going to want it.

    • CalicoGal says:

      That reminds me of this one time I was a *very* busy Subway, during the noon hour, and 2 people ahead of me in line is this kid with a list on a series of post-it notes. Clearly, he drew the short straw and was sent there by the office. He ordered about 10 sandwiches, all different, reading off toppings from the post-it notes.

      By this time, the line was at a complete stand-still, about 2 dozen deep. FINALLY, he got the the cashier, those of us behind him were like FINALLY, as was the cashier, who was ready to ring him up at light speed and get the line moving again.

      The kid goes in his pocket, and brings out a STACK of credit cards. Every sandwich was to be paid for SEPARATELY on a different card. You HEARD the SIGHS and grumbles from the line.

      I have never seen anything like this before and not since.

      • az123 says:

        Store should have told him he could not do that one… using other people’s credit cards and all

    • Ogroat says:

      The guy at Subway who I dislike is the one who comes in with five or more orders all written down for others. Getting behind that person means that my wait just got 15 minutes longer.

      • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

        I try not to get mad at that guy — after all, it would be even slower if he’d brought five people with him, wouldn’t it?

        • Platypi {Redacted} says:

          I used to buy lunches for 10+ people and some days were sandwiches. I always tried to call/fax in the order, but some shops like the local Quiznos, prefer that you just come in for some reason. I tell them: “I am ordering 12 sandwiches, do you really want me jamming up your lines while you make them?” Their answer: “Yes”. Whatever dude!

          Jimmy John’s does it right, with online orders and delivery (at least around here!).

      • Corinthos says:

        I hate those but my work does it. My local subway has little flyers that you can take 8-10 orders on and bring back. We have a stack at my workplace and an intern just hands it over to the worker.

    • fraterormus says:

      I love the people who inevitably are ahead of you at Subway holding up the line by asking a battery of questions; “Is the bread Gluten-free?”, or “Are those tomatoes Certified Organic?”, or “Are the Sprouts grown locally?”, or “Is the Pepperoni Kosher? Is the Chicken Free-Range” The poor underpaid college kid behind the counter is trying really hard to not lose their demeanor and attentively answer their every little question about every item in the sandwich while everyone else in line just wants to scream to the lady (and it’s always some upper-middle class woman with a Gucci handbag who drives a BMW, or so it seems) “For goodness sakes lady! It’s a fast-food restaurant, duh! If you want local grown, O.G., Kosher, Free-range & Gluten-free, then you are in the wrong place so please get out of line so the rest of us can have our conventional, shipped from who knows where, mass produced mystery meat with all the gluten we want sandwiches before we die of old age!”

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Ah, the entitlment high maintenance people. I loathe those people with a passion. They make everyone miserable.

      • Eric Jay says:

        In my experience, Subway really is the worst for bad customers. I’ve been behind people who ask for “The regular sandwich,” with “plain bread,” with “whatever comes on it.” Then there’s the other end of the spectrum… “Yeah, let me get some pepperoni, some of the turkey ham, a few meatballs, and some prosciutto, with romaine lettuce, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and green olives. What do you mean I can’t get that?”

        I’ve heard customers completely baffled by the question, “Would you like that toasted?” or protest loudly when “that box you heated up my sandwich in doesn’t look like a toaster!”

        I’ve seen people ask for “a little bit more turkey… yeah, more… yeah put some some more on there!” and then freak out when they get hit with the up-charge for double meat. “Turkey is a topping, it says I can have whatever toppings I want!”

        Just the other day I was behind two women who INSISTED that the word “daily” meant all day, and therefore they were entitled to the breakfast sandwich promotion that was advertised as “7-10 am daily” in the middle of the afternoon.

  7. Kuri says:

    I’ve been the un-knowledgable customer quite a few times, but I at least like to think I’m not an ass about it.

    In my case my goal is to become informed.

    • az123 says:

      I really don’t see how that one is being a bad consumer, well unless it is taken to an extreme…. Asking questions and understanding is reasonable… but if you know that you are in a store on a fact finding mission and not planning to buy yet hold the workers up with your questions preventing other people from getting their shopping done, then yes you are being an ass and bad consumer. If you are looking at buying things and asking questions about the product with the intent to choose something etc… then you are being a good consumer and trying not to buy things you will just return and creating more issues

      • Kuri says:

        In my case if I don’t buy something that day then I plan to the next time I visit.

      • DarkPsion says:

        It’s the ones that refuse to learn that’s the problem. No matter how many times you explain it, they just don’t listen or just don’t get it.

        Some I remember from the Hardware Store;
        This lady who would ask for Hydraiums every year. I kept explaining there are Hydrangeas and there Geraniums, but no one yet has managed to cross them.

        The lady that kept digging up her newly planted shrubs to “see” if the roots were growing.

        The guy who bought paint stripper and skipped the “wash it off” step and his new paint came off in sheets. In fact there were so many people who would skip steps in paint preparation, even when I told them what they needed to do and then came back mad.

    • homehome says:

      When I was CSR, I didn’t mind the unknowledgeable, because I liked educating them about stuff, it was the outlandish request makers and overreacters that annoyed me. Ppl who were the cheapest ever, but expected you to role out the red carpet for them for spending $5.

    • VintageLydia says:

      This category reminds me of some of the customers I had when I worked at a pet supply store. They were typically customers who just bought a puppy from the mall across the street and then get MAD AT ME when I was teaching them all they need to know and how expensive it was to care for that puppy. They were almost people who had dogs when they were kids so were never involved in the expense and care of a dog other than feeding and maybe dog walking. People who never had a dog in their lives were the best to work with because they were usually much more eager to learn. They took time away from other customers and we were severely understaffed so that aspect sucked, but the customers themselves were fine.

    • Chmeeee says:

      It’s not the people looking for a little information or asking a few questions. Its those people you get stuck behind in line that have been asking the most inane questions for several minutes, sometimes repeating questions that have already been answered, etc.

  8. clippy2.1 says:

    Way to not include me on the list! I’m the type of customer who takes a dump in the changing room, tries on underwear right next to the rack, and samples all the food products without paying for them!

  9. sirwired says:

    “The Customer Is Always Right-ers” No single phrase has done more damage to customer service employee sanity than this absolutely untrue, yet catchy, phrase. It leads customers to think that they need not apply the principles of rationality and fair dealing when interacting with companies, and citing this principle makes it MORE likely the CS rep is going to start rolling his/her eyes and mentally composing a way to make sure you DON’T get whatever unreasonable thing you are demanding.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      It’s worth nothing that the man often credited with popularizing that godawful phrase, Harry Gordon Selfridge, died in poverty.

    • A.Mercer says:

      My observation is that the customer will only trot that little gem out when they know they are 100% in the wrong. If they have something tangible to back up their argument then they will use that but if they have nothing then they say the customer is always right.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      In my years of customer service the only customers who ever used that line were the ones who knew that they were actually wrong

      • Kusac says:

        Others would use that line to try and get free things as well. Had more than a few try that with me while I worked in a pizza place.

  10. Carrie317 says:

    You can add to that list “people who are parking at theme parks. Don’t ask a million questions to the person collecting your $15.00 – pay them and go on your way! Secondly – you do NOT decide where you park in the row – they have people pointing you where to park for a reason. Thirdly – after you park, do not walk past/in front of all of the cars trying to park. Move one row over where the cars are already parked and the road is free and clear.”

  11. ZachariaKindred says:

    Regarding ‘Bad Parents with Bad Kids’. It reminds me of the time I kindly asked some kids that were blocking a doorway at a mall to please not block the doorway as people need to use it. (Mind you I work with children and their parents in my employment and know how to interact in a respectful manner).

    15 minutes later on my way out of the mall (short trip), I have all the children parading after their mother who is trying to chase me down and screaming “Don’t tell my chlidren what to do.”

    Bad Parents…. raise Bad Adults… (I don’t believe kids are ever truly ‘Bad’ yet).

    • Kuri says:

      So, wait, she actually tracked you down as you were leaving to tell you to not tell her kids what to do?

    • StarKillerX says:

      You should have said “If you did your job raising them right I wouldn’t have had to tell your little animals anything!”

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      ‘Well, lady, someone has to tell them what to do and it obviously isn’t you.’

    • Coffee says:

      If someone doesn’t tell your kids what to do, they’ll grow up shiftless and stupid, like you, and they’ll end up raising a bunch of insufferable little twats, like them.

    • A.Mercer says:

      My favorite memory of bad parents is when I worked at a big, wooden maze. It was a fun place. You go in, find 4 checkpoints, find your way out. If you do it in a good enough time you get a prize. For safety reasons, there were spaces at the bottom of the walls to allow you to crawl out if you needed to. Some people liked to try to use those to cheat. However, we were darned good at catching people doing this. For instance, we knew the fastest possible time to get thru the maze if you never made a single wrong turn. Running speed made little difference because there were so many twists and turns that you never had a chance to get to a high speed. Besides, we had a guy who was pretty darned fast and his best time was about 3½ minutes. When you get a kid come thru in 2 minutes then you know something was up. Also, we watched and knew the sections rather well. There was an observation booth so people could watch those in the maze. We would sit up there and if we saw someone in one section suddenly appear in the section next to it without having to traverse the appropriate route then we knew they crawled under a wall. Finally, we would just watch under the walls. You could just sit back at one point and see all of the feet of the people going thru. This was a safety thing. If someone fell or were having problems then we wanted to know as soon as possible. From here we could also see when someone made like a soldier and crawled their way to victory.

      Ok, all that said, we had a mom and her two sons show up. They go in and take like 15 minutes. They want to go again. They do it and come out in about 2 minutes and want the best prize. They are covered in dirt and the girl watching them said they crawled. I believe that I was diplomatic and offered to let them do it again on the same ticket but not cheat this time. The mom came down and started yelling at me. Not just argue but yell about how dare I suggest that her kids cheated. I told her that they finished in a time that was way too fast and that our watcher had seen them crawl. I also told her that they could run it again on the same ticket. She would not accept that they had been caught cheating. I remember her storming off and turning around and flipping me off. They drove off and I remember the two kids flipping me off as well.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        My best bad kids story was in a Hotel. This was a nice 4 star tower hotel. We had a half a dozen teams for a soccer tournament in the hotel. Always a nightmare. In my lobby I have 2 12-14 year old kids kicking a soccer ball against the wall inside my lobby. I go out and ask them nicely to not kick the ball inside. They roll their eyes but agree. I turn the corner and hear the ball hit the wall again as soon as I do. When i turn around they are back to kicking the ball against the wall. I step in and take the soccer ball. Knowing that we had this event coming I had stocked a few items from home to be helpful. One of those items was a hand held sports pump. I used the needle from that to deflate the soccer ball and told them I would return the ball to their parents or their coach. The parents come down and read me the riot act. I give them the ball back and explain that if the kids continue to kick the ball inside the hotel they will all be asked to leave. The dad pumps the ball back up and hands it to his kids, then proceeds to head back to the hotel bar with his wife. 2 minutes later I hear the ball bouncing again and this time the 2 geniuses are using my elevator doors as their target. Just as i am headed towards them to take the ball the elevator opens and a 68 year old woman takes a soccer ball to the gut. That was the first time I ever got to kick a family out of hotel.

  12. XTREME TOW says:

    Now you know why carrying loaded guns in public is illegal. The temptation to use it is too much for a normal person to endure.

  13. Upthewazzu says:

    Go Cougs!

  14. framitz says:

    Considering the source I have see no redeeming value in this at all. Anaya is full of crap IMHO.
    I go to a restaurant to EAT, nothing else, just to eat.
    “Hospitality Business Management school’s Academic Showcase” next joke please.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      And everyone else in the world is exactly like you, of course.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      So if you go to a restaurant to eat, and some inattentive parents allow their insufferable kids to come over to your table where they eat off your plate, you don’t mind?

      If someone seated near you smells like they’ve been shoveling manure all day, it doesn’t put you off your meal?

      If there’s a lady screaming at a waiter nearby about how the rare steak she ordered is pink and bloody in the middle, are you completely unfazed?

      There are dozens of ways that bad customers can make ordinary customers feel uncomfortable, which leaves you with a bad experience overall, even if the service you received was fine.

    • MMD says:

      You haven’t “considered” the source. You’re clearly biased against the source.
      Your attitude is why we can’t have nice things.

  15. Flyersfan says:

    This isn’t exactly the list I was expecting either. I basically have one rule when it comes to customer service – I want to be treated like I’m the only person they have to serve. That seems to serve both the provider and me well in trying service times.

    For instance, if I’m behind an unknowledgeable customer, I try to remember that I would expect the CSR to patiently answer my questions just as he/she is for that person. It’s amazing how much patience you can muster when you think of it that way.

    Now, that doesn’t excuse only having one person working a particularly service heavy department or not opening a second register or (insert particular pet peeve here) when I’m waiting patiently behind such a customer. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I expect a reasonable effort be made to accommodate me in a minimal amount of time. By the same token, I try to minimize the amount of time I’m taking away from the people waiting behind me.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Totally, because you know exactly how much money the store is making, and you know whether or not they can afford to hire more people. I mean, fuck the solvency of the business, they need to hire someone else at $8+/hr so you can make your one $10 purchase quickly and not come back again for three weeks.

    • dks64 says:

      “I want to be treated like I’m the only person they have to serve. “

      To a certain extent, yes. I’m a server and wait on people rather frequently who have this attitude and most of the time, it’s that they don’t care about the other customers. I don’t mind answering questions and being patient to a certain degree. I’ve had many customers give me their life story, keeping me from other customers, making my tips go down, then they leave me $1. That happened to me a few weeks ago, I needed to cash out a table who was on a lunch break and this guy wouldn’t let me walk away. He complained that one of our soups is more expensive than the others, but obviously it costs us more to make (I don’t set the prices). Then you have customers who think you’re their personal slave and send you on numerous trips back and force rather than asking for everything at once. I love building a relationship with my customers, but people need to understand that they’re not the center of the universe when they go out.

      Then you have people who need more time to look at the menu, but won’t let you walk away. Sometimes I assure people that I won’t disappear and I’ll be back in under 2 minutes. Making a server stand there and watch you look at the menu for an extended period of time is rude and inconsiderate of other customers.

  16. MaytagRepairman says:

    I used to live in a small apartment in a well-to-do neighborhood that drove me nuts. I would frequently find myself at the grocery store or a fast food place behind the “Unknowledgeable Customer” who would ask the cashier several questions and make unusual requests that would take at least 3 times the time it would to process a customer in any other neighborhood. I was trying to comprehend if they thrived on being rich and fulfilling their need of self-entitlement by having people go out of the way for them.

  17. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Loudmouths People quite happy, too happy in fact. One recent Mother’s Day dinner was entertained by the woman at a table 20 feet away. She bombastically explained to the person next to her, in detail, how religious she was, how bad her dad was and why she divorced her parents at 14 years old, medical conditions, love affairs, all kinds of family details, etc.

    I don’t care to hear about your yeast infections lady, I’m eating pizza.

  18. gman863 says:

    There should be an eighth category:

    Fraudsters: The customer who attempts to return their used prom dress the day after the prom or expects their cellular phone to be replaced as “defectiveve” after they dropped it in the toilet. Anyone who goes to outrageous lengths to scam a merchant.

    • gman863 says:

      …”defective”

      edit button, anyone?

    • anyanka323 says:

      To some extent that overlaps with the renters. I’ve personally seen a couple interesting cases of fraudsters. The Hutterites are notorious for buying $100+ coffeemakers and returning them by claiming they didn’t work. The scam they are trying to pull is avoiding having to pay for a new thermal carafe, which is tough to find in local stores and usually runs about $40 to 50 online. They get their new carafe for free and we have to damage $100+ worth of merchandise because it’s missing an essential component.

      I had one couple try to scam me out of a new set of Rachael Ray cookware by returning their set that had been used multiple times and was almost a year old. The RR cookware is good stuff, although a bit gaudy for my tastes, and has very few issues. The teflon coating on their skillets and saute pans were peeling. My first thought was that it had been caused by their abuse, more than likely putting it in the dishwasher, and I called a manager. Luckily, I got my former manager who knows a ton about cookware. I wasn’t going have my number on the return because the store is under very close scrutiny from corporate. My manager didn’t allow them to do the return. She had me look up a customer service number that they could contact about getting a replacement set. It wasn’t what they wanted but we were both polite to them. After they left, she took their description down in chance that they tried to pull their scheme on another person. So far, they haven’t been back yet.

      I’ve learned to spot the renters, especially in regards to bedding. More than likely, they are older women in their 50s and above and by themselves. They have a vague idea of what they want in the rooms and are usually trying to match a picture or some other wall fixture. Having watched too much HGTV, I know that is a bad approach. You plan either plan everything in a room around the bedding or have neutral carpet and walls where most bedding would be a good visual fit. Add wall decorations after that. There was one older lady in today who wanted bedding to match the ocher in a picture. I let a coworker work with her because I had a sale to set and figured she’d return most of her purchases.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      I worked for Sprint as a repair tech back in 07, and we had this skeevy guy come in one day who absolutely REEKED of alcohol. He was swaying & stumbling, and put this old, dirty phone on the counter. The phone itself smelled like beer, and he told me how it wasn’t charging anymore & how he tried to fix it himself with a soldering iron(!!!). The phone was toast- I couldn’t have fixed it even if he hadn’t voided his warranty by mangling it himself, but he wanted us to replace it or fix it because he had phone insurance. I explained that I couldn’t fix it & that he had voided his warranty, and he just stood there for a few minutes, staring at me. He grabbed the phone, slurred “Shiiiit…”, and walked out.

      Another time we had an east Indian family come in with a complaint of a dead phone. She handed me this little flip phone that was COVERED in grease & REEKED of curry. It had obviously been dropped in a cooking pot, but of course they wanted it fixed or replaced for free too.

    • dks64 says:

      *Pint of beer 3/4 of the way gone* “I didn’t like this one, can I get something different and you not charge me for this one?”

    • lestahb says:

      or the ones who buy new MacBook chargers, stuff the old one in the box and try to return it. Its scratched and filthy, but they don’t want to pay for new one. I suggest that they go home, and just double check that they didn’t put the wrong one in the box. But it makes me twice as mad when they do it with their kids there, I want to shout ‘what exactly are you teaching them?’

  19. gman863 says:

    One more:

    Checkout Creeps: People who create a train wreck that blocks the checkout line. Examples include (but aren’t limited to):

    * Taking two or three minutes to find cash or their credit card, especially if they had at least this much time to do so while waiting in line.

    * Coming up short. Clueless on basic math, they pile $70 worth of groceries in the cart with only $40 in cash or available on their debit or EBT card. The cashier ends up spending several minutes voiding items off the order until the total equals the available funds. As an added bonus, meat and other perishable items that have been at room temperature for 30-45 minutes end up being put back for some other sucker to purchase.

    * Extreme couponers: ’nuff said, especially if they’re trying to scam the store by redeeming coupons for items they haven’t purchased or expired coupons.

    • balderdashed says:

      I agree, but I don’t primarily blame the customer. No matter how clueless some customers may be, the creepiness is in my view the fault of the company. I dislike extreme couponers. But if stores are going to promote coupons and not place any limits, naturally some consumers will respond as they do, and I’ll end up waiting in line behind them. Similarly, I despise people who show up at the “Limit 10 times” line in a grocery store with 30 items. The only thing I despise more is the fact that grocery stores pretend to have such policies and post the signs, but I’ve never seen a checkout clerk actually enforce such a policy, ever. And if meat and other perishable items are being put back for “some other sucker to purchase” after being at room temperature for 30-45 minutes, it is presumably employees that are putting those items back, and they shouldn’t do that. Retailers spend a whole lot of money to study and manipulate consumer behavior, and they make the tradeoffs they do, in order to maximize profit. I pity them not.

      • Christopher Wilson says:

        When I worked at walmart I got yelled at for not enforcing the 20 items or less sign that people pretended not to notice. So I started turning people away who had too many items, someone went to customer service to bitch, they got a $50 gift card and I got screamed at. Thats why nobody bothers to turn them away, its damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

        • A.Mercer says:

          I have had many instances where I was directed to the 20 items or less lane by a manager when my cart was full. When it happens the other lanes are packed and the person at the 20IOL lane has no one. So that can happen from time to time.

      • yurei avalon says:

        When I worked at Walmart years ago I was told that you cannot tell a customer “no” if they have 100 items and get in your lane anyway. You can politely remind them that is an express lane, but you were never allowed to tell them to leave. The most obnoxious people were the ones of non Caucasian ethnicity that pretended they could not read or speak English. (Particularly if I overheard them talking to their pack of kids or pack of other family members in line in English while waiting. And they always shopped in packs.)

        We were also told at Walmart that if our line was empty, and the other lines were full at an express to grab a full cart from another line and move them through. And always without fail some poor schmuck with 2 items would end up coming to the line right after that and go complain. You simply cannot win.

      • gman863 says:

        The only store I’ve seen actually enforce the express lane item limits is H-E-B. If an idiot with an overflowing cart enters the 20 items or less lane, either the cashier or customer service manager politely reminds them they’ve “accidentally” entered the express lane and directs them to another checkout.

        As for the items that are put back, it’s that or tossing them in the trash. If they appear totally defrosted, most stores will toss them. This is called “shrink”; it’s the same as shoplifting: Any losses the store suffers are passed on to customers in the form of higher prices. People who constantly fuck up and have items voided off their order should be banned from the store.

    • Corinthos says:

      Also people who write checks but don’t have a check ready until the cashier is ready for payment.Doesn’t happen as often now as it did years ago. I’d get so annoyed at a store that has a line and has it posted in the line who to make the check out to. They’d wait until the cashier told them the cost them go digging their check book out and you’d have to wait for them to fill out the whole thing.

  20. balderdashed says:

    I’d like to think of myself as a Customer Service Saboteur — in that I think the “customer service” policies and practices of many companies might be more properly called “customer dis-service,” and deserve to be “sabotaged.” That said, my arsenal does not include profanity, shouting, line-cutting, children running amok, or poor hygiene, all of which I consider unacceptable in any context. But “complex demands” and “outlandish requests”? I just might make a few of those, as what is complex or outlandish is partly a matter of perspective. It seems to me that with a number of companies I’ve dealt with recently (Verizon, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Dish, Comcast, Samsung, the list goes on) merely expecting that someone has the skills to communicate in basic English — or to transfer you or put you on hold without disconnecting you — is a “complex request,” well beyond the skills of many CSRs.

  21. Cooneymike says:

    I thought this article was going to be about people who game the system in a manner the retailer didn’t intend and take advantage, something I confess to doing myself. My sister in law in an affluent suburb of Milwaukee stumbled on a governement program that enabled people to refinance years ago at no cost in certain areas including hers. Combining that with bank incentives she was able to not only refinance at a lower rate but took about $1000 off her mortatgage total and had her overall credit score improve a few points in the overall process. This was better than 10 years ago.

    Not a bad gig right? And not wrong either, until she did it like 22 or 23 times in a row, refinancing as fast as the last one was recorded. Someone killed the program, and I’ve never asked her if it was because of her or just happened anyway.

    And to think all I did was use triple coupons and a Sunday special to get 30 or 40 2-liter bottles of Dr. Pepper for $0.01 each one weekend.

  22. mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

    Here are a few of the types I expected to be featured in the article:

    Return Fraudsters: These are the folks who upon learning they are beyond the return period on a damaged product, buy a new one and then return the damaged item with the new receipt.

    Coupon Hoarders: I have no problem really with people who use coupons, I use them myself. I have no problem with those who use a lot of coupons–it would be nice of them not to check-out during super busy periods, but not always possible for everyone. My issue is the person who single-handedly cleans out the store’s entire inventory of a product for which they have good coupons for. “Yes, it’s fantastic that you are getting toothpaste for $0.06 a tube after coupon; but do you really need 42 tubes of it?”

    The Hyper-Inflated Sense of entitlement: This is the customer who parks their car in the handicapped spot without a placard, if not the fire lane–knowing the odds are slim-to-none that their car will be towed. They’ll graze on unpurchased grapes, sodas, and candy while touring the store. They must have their shopping cart at their back while they spend five minutes deciding which cereal they want–completely blocking the aisle. Then getting offended if someone asks to be let through or, heaven forbid, tries to relocate their cart to get past. They will then head to the express checkout with 65 items in their cart, send their kin out to grab several more items on the shopping list they forgot, and then decide they don’t want half of the items once the total is rung up–Leaving assorted items piled up in the magazine and candy racks.

    • A.Mercer says:

      Ooh, ooh, ooh Mr Kotter!! I have an example for the sense of entitlement group. I worked at a fast food place that was pretty popular in a medium sized town on a lake. Very busy, especially on the weekends. The place had a small parking lot. There was a bowling alley next door that had a large parking lot so that helped. This guy towing a boat comes in and parks his big truck and boat trailer across almost all of the lanes in the parking lot. That left about 4 lanes of the side of the building and 2 handicap spaces. This was right as the lunch rush was starting. As this guy came in the owner of the place asked him if he could park the truck and trailer in the bowling alley parking lot. It was much larger and had a lot more room for this guy. The boat guy went off. He started arguing that he had as much right to park in the parking lot as anyone else. The owner tried to explain that the boat and trailer were taking up too many spaces. The guy started to say that there were no signs saying no boats. The owner (starting to get annoyed) said he expected people to have a little more common sense. Ok, the boat guy hit the roof on that one. He stormed out and said he was planning on spending a lot of money but he would just take it elsewhere. We figure that with him taking up about 8-10 spaces that he was not planning on spending near enough to cover the amount lost on the other customers who left because they could not park. This guy just expected the business to completely let him dominate. He did not care about money lost by the business. He did not care about other customers. He wanted to be the only person on the planet who mattered at that moment.

  23. Bojay1997 says:

    I don’t understand this list or why it merited a post. There is really only one item (Outlandish Request Makers) that even vaguely fits the title and description of the purported list. Everything else just seems to be poorly groomed and badly behaving or mentally ill people over which stores probably have little or no control.

  24. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Not me. As someone who is on the receiving end of a some customer service questions at my job, I don’t do these things as I have some idea of what the poor soul on the other end of my conversation is going through.

  25. jpdanzig says:

    This article reminds me of the time I was trying to buy a shaver screen at the Macy’s Herald Square shaver counter, waiting behind a gentleman who was inquiring about a particular brand or model, I don’t recall which.

    There was only one Macy’s clerk serving customers, and this other customer was asking questions about a fifty-dollar shaver that were more acute than those one might have heard at a congressional hearing on a billion-dollar weapons program.

    Finally, after waiting as patiently as I could for five minutes or more, I asked the clerk behind the counter if there was another Macy’s employee who could assist me.

    The customer spluttered with indignation that I had had the temerity to interrupt his interrogation of the clerk — even though he was apparently not ready to buy and I was.

    I really think that there are some people who go out of their way to demand attention at the expense of their fellow customers, and I just hope that this clown cut himself shaving with whatever he wound up buying, if indeed he did wind up buying anything that day…

  26. NCB says:

    My job involves it little bit of chit chat and “making nice with the customer” if I know them and they are waiting to see my boss, just catching up with a long time client etc but there are the customers that want to loudly pontificate on his/her politics, religion, is nosey about what exactly I’ve got on my desk (despite trying to quietly turn paperwork over etc. And this is in a very public area.
    I have to say yeah to my coworkers who will sometimes subtly interrupt the hostage employee with an “emergency” and the customer still doesn’t get it.

  27. Dr.Wang says:

    We see this in the ER all the time. People who think we have scads of empty rooms but just keep people in the waiting room because the staff are sitting around playing cards and eating pizza and just dont want to work.

    Or, if we have 15 ER rooms and 16 patients arrive that somebody is going to have to wait.

    The worse offenders for threatening or rude behavior tend to be from NYC and that area.

    • quail says:

      Much of the North East has that in-you-face attitude, and they’re proud of it. Truly, much of NYC citizens would never survive in another culture. Loud shouting might get you your way in the city but in the South or Midwest or Asia or Great Britain that behavior will lose you more than it will win you.

  28. clementine says:

    I would like to add people who do not realize that there is more than one application of perfume or cologne in a bottle. I have had to move seats in restaurants, restaurants, and theaters or even leave entirely because of these walking stink bombs. When I am at a restaurant, part of the experience is to be able to smell and taste your food – this is difficult to do with these idiots around. I have even had migraines triggered by some of these people who bathe in a scent.

  29. Charmander says:

    I work in retail, and I do believe I experienced 6 out of 7 of those categories of people just today.

    • WhiteWolfAniu says:

      My typical work day as well =D

    • anyanka323 says:

      Typical day in retail for me. I’m self medicating for tomorrow for our Spring Black Friday shopping event. Thank god it’s a short shift, then a short vacation :).

  30. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I find that being polite to employees and people around me goes a long long way in life. I rarely have service issues of any kind. I almost always get what I want when I request something. The thing I think that jerky people don’t get is that the worse you act the more difficult life will be for you. If you are an arse, people will go out of their way to make life bad for you. If you are pleasant and kind, people will go out of their way to make your experience good.

  31. Snip says:

    There is a call center analog to the Unknowledgeable Customer. These are the people who call the toll free line asking detailed technical questions that an expert who gets paid a lot more than nine dollars an hour could answer, and being unpleasantly surprised when the nine dollar an hour agent can only offer a jumping off point for research. Dude… no… in the information age you pay for that kind of expertise, and the experts who have it expect more than nine dollars an hour. These are the customers who wind up going up the call center food chain and stay on the phone all day and end the day unhappy because they didn’t get free expert advice. And then tell all their friends about how they didn’t get expert advice from an nine dollar an hour call center agent. Because call centers are totally hiring MIT educated engineers and you can talk to them for free! NOT! The Paranoid Shouter analog comes up with conspiracy theories and methods for defrauding the system that get disseminated on message boards and passed on down the toll free line. Upset that you have to give over your shoe size and the name of your firstborn child to get help or promotions? You can thank the Paranoid Poster for those draconian precautions. The customer is not always wrong, but it’s amazing to me sometimes how much they expect out of a barely above poverty level agent on the other end of a toll free line. We don’t have magic Santa sacks or psychic powers over here, just whatever tools the boss sees fit to arm us with as we await your call.

    • Corinthos says:

      I work for one also. Customer call in for tech support for their product and since its computer/internet based they expect us to deal with everything on their computer. I really love the calls when some ass tells me he is not hanging up until it works. Fine by me I’ll keep him on the phone until I go home and just hang up on his ass. I’ve been on the phone two hours with a guy who was like that and about 90 minutes of it was me telling him that there was nothing else I can do for him or anyone in the company.We no longer have to do escalations and just give them a correspondence address they can write to.

      Also of course none of these guys read the instructions or went to the site with a message board of users who are able to do more than we can. Most of the time its their router settings. The manual tells them what ports need to be open and to contact their router provider or website. I ask them if they forwarded the ports and its always “what’s that” or there is nothing wrong the the ports in my router, I am surfing the web just fine. They won’t allow us to mess with router settings so we don’t mess anyones network up. Our forums has users who have posted how to do so for the popular router types.

      Also the site isn’t mobile or safari friendly. It actually gives them a message on safari that won’t work as expected and to download a different browser. Some people think if they call us that I am going to recode the website for them. I just tell them to send it back if its that much of an issue because they have 30 days. Its never been safari friendly and doubt it ever will be. We do have iphone and android apps but the android app only works on 2.3 – 4.0+ phones. It won’t even show up for people with lower software versions. Love getting calls where they are arguing why their free upgrade phone isn’t able to get the app when they have coworkers or friends who can.

  32. RavenWarrior says:

    I don’t want to sound racist or insensitive or anything, but we need to add something along the lines of ‘Lost in Translation-ers:’ people, or more often groups or families, who don’t speak English or have one designated person who speak for the group when trying to shop in a store. For someone like me who has to try and make sure a customer has everything they need to go with a product, it’s next to impossible to do my job in situations like this. Not only does it slow the transaction down to a crawl, but trying to explain why a person would need a certain accessory or service never gets adequately explained for it to matter on either end. Even if we are able to establish what the customer wants, it’s almost always that product alone and none of the other supplies to accompany it. And then my supervisors see it and start asking why they left with just the base product and it becomes an even bigger mess…

    Long story short, if you go into a store, please know how to speak English or at least make sure your English speaking member of your group can relay the message fast. How can we know what you want if we aren’t even speaking the same language?

  33. Jerem43 says:

    They forgot cheap ass couponers. I hate it every time BK releases coupons into the market I work in. It brings out all of the cheap asses and scammers.

  34. shufflemoomin says:

    Come to Denmark if you want to see the pinnacle of sh**ty customer service. You can punch a customers in the face, sh*t in their kids mouth and they’ll be back tomorrow for more. Makes me sick.

  35. kranky says:

    I’ve been in places where I was an “Unknowledgeable Customer” and while some establishments deal with that well, others cop an attitude and give off a vibe of “you don’t belong here.” (Like my first visit to Starbucks where I ordered a “small coffee”)

    Kind of a mystery why they don’t seem to want any new customers, but I’m happy to accommodate them. I don’t return.

  36. Kisses4Katie says:

    Working in a childrens resale store, I am amazed at the number of piss-poor parents. They all assume that because our toys are gently used, their 5 children can run around pulling things down and breaking them. I have never seen as many bad parents as I do there on a daily basis. One woman had a nervous breakdown and screamed at her child she was having one because the little girl would not quit saying “Mommy” (which is what insecure little girls with unstable mothers do). Then she refused to take the little girl to get something to eat. I really think maybe people should take a class to keep their kids, with yearly tests. Seriously.

  37. Brave Little Toaster says:

    I feel as though it’s becoming a self-feeding cycle.

    Customers have a bad experience (due to their fault or the company’s or circumstances, whichever) and think their next visit will be difficult. So become jaded into thinking they’ll all be like that and come off as a jerk.

    The company then deals with the jerk customer, and has to create policies to deal with that or becomes jaded into thinking they’re all like that. Customer service quality slips.

    Customer comes back in, gets poor service, becomes a jerk. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  38. wasabirobot says:

    This is a good example of why Hospitality Management should not be considered a real academic discipline. This is the kind of research they do?

  39. theblackdog says:

    The customers we always hated at the fast food sandwich shop I worked at (that was named for a family relation) were the ones who walked in, stares at the menu to figure out what they want, then someone else walks in so the first person goes immediately to the counter so they can be first, then stares for another few minutes trying to decide what they want. Meanwhile the second person clearly knows what they want, but can’t order because they jackass in front of them has a “me first” mentality.

  40. corridor7f says:

    If companies learned that saying “no” means losing a bit of money in the short-term and saving a lot of money in the long-term, then we’d all be happier.

  41. movalca says:

    I enjoy the customer that asks “are your prices more than the X store?” or “where is the X store?”

  42. quail says:

    The headline made me think of workers who sabotage a bad customer’s experience. When I did retail I went out of my way to help even the annoying customer, figuring that they were just having a bad day, and that I could help turn that mood around. But there were a number of bad customers who would just catch me at the wrong time, and my level of service would end with “we don’t have that.” Even though there were multiple ways for me to help the customer locate items at other stores or online.

    Seriously. You want a decent experience in the retail world as a customer? Be nice to the lowly associate, especially those with gray hairs who would give a damn if you just said please & thank you. At some retailers you’d be surprised at how much they can do for you if you just stopped acting like an ass and picked up after yourself.

  43. movalca says:

    It seems too much emphasis is being placed on the “business”, as if the “business” were just one person. The minimum wage or part-time csr shouldn’t have to put up with the abuse of anyone. If they follow the rules and there is a dispute, take it up with the manager. But, some people just feel the need to put someone down that can’t fight back to satisfy their ego. If csr’s were allowed to just be able to say “talk to the hand” when a customer is overdemanding and overbearing, but they can’t. I suppose it’s in their job description to have to take the abuse and say nothing.

  44. webweazel says:

    http://notalwaysright.com/

    but it goes the other way, too:

    http://notalwaysworking.com/

    Read some of these and you’ll be afraid to be a customer AND an employee.

  45. RayanneGraff says:

    One of my biggest pet peeves is check-writers. It’s @#$%ing 2012, there’s no excuse to even HAVE a checkbook anymore. Checks are slow to clear, easily lost, easy to forge, and it’s a PITA when you have to return something paid for via check. Get a goddamn debit card, you dinosaur.

    My mom still writes checks. I’ve been hounding her for years to just get a check card, and her excuse is, “Cards are too much trouble!”. *facepalm*

  46. zyphbear says:

    Those fighting policies that have been set and then posing the question “don’t you think i’m right? Don’t you as a person feel I should get what I am asking for?” That is one of the worst practices now. The people are on the phone to help you get whatever you need done as long as it is within their power. When they tell you no, or we can’t do this, or this is how it has to be done, and then a customer comes back saying “I don’t think it should be done that way, don’t you agree with me?” it makes the situation MORE uncomfortable for the person since if they agree with you or not, it can’t change the policy that they have to enforce since if they go against it, it could mean they could lose their job. Otherwise they would have offered you a solution before.

  47. Press1forDialTone says:

    I am none of the things in the article and customer service on average still
    sucks because the corp overlords don’t -allow- the reps to give good service
    to otherwise good customers.