Why the Customer is Not Always Right.

 Everyone is familiar with the expression "The Customer is Always Right", but anyone who has ever worked with the general public will tell you that this simply isn't true, and there are numerous examples both funny and serious of cases where the customer is very definitely wrong.

I have compiled a list of some of my favourite stories based on just how very wrong the customer can be, and also how hilarious the results can end up being. Honestly after reading some of these you will wonder why some of these people are allowed out in public unsupervised.

Enjoy!

A customer arrives to pick up the meal he ordered over the phone.

Assistant: “So you would like to add to chocolate shakes to your phone in order?”

Customer: “Yes, please.”

(Assistant gets out calculator to add the two orders and sales tax.)

Customer: “Typical! Teenagers can’t solve any problems without a calculator.”

Assistant:“OK then, what’s your total?”

Customer: “I don’t know, let me see the calculator.”

*****

*****

Assistant: “Hello, can I help you with anything?”

Customer: “Yes, do you have any scallions?”

Assistant: “Oh yes, we do. They’re right here.”

Customer: “No, not spring onions, scallions!”

Assistant: “The two are the same thing. They just have different names.”

Customer: “But do you have any scallions?”

Assistant: “They’re right here!”

Customer: “Those aren’t scallions, those are spring onions!”

Assistant: “Give me a moment, let me check outside for you.”

(Assistant goes out to the prep room, picks up a crate of spring onions, turns over the ticket and writes ‘SCALLIONS’ on the front.)

Assistant: “Here we are, the last box.”

Customer: “Fantastic! Thank you so much!”

*****

*****

Assistant: “Thank you for calling ***, how can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi, yes. I just got back from surgery and I can’t remember my email password.”

Assistant: “Sure, I’ll be glad to help. Let me pull up your account and we can reset your password.”

(Assistant proceeds with a very routine process of setting a new email password. About halfway through, the customer bursts out laughing.)

Customer: “I’m sorry. My coworkers just handed me a card congratulating me on the new twins. I guess you can tell what kind of surgery I had, huh?”

Assistant: “I gu–”

Customer: “I’ve got BOOBS!”

*****

*****

Assistant: “How can I help you?”

Customer: “My son told me to get broadband I’d have to pay more money, but I told him that there was this thing from the phone company you put on your telephone chord that gave you broadband.”

Assistant: “You mean a noise canceler, sir? That is only for DSL lines through the phone company, not through us.”

Customer: “Diesel…yeah, that’s what I want! So, can you hook me up with diesel broadband?”

Assistant: “Sir, I’m sorry we don’t offer D-S-L Lines. You have to call your phone company and have them installed.”

Customer: “Do you have unleaded lines?”

Assistant: “Sir, it’s DSL. Not diesel as in the fuel.”

Customer: “You’re not a very good company then. You’re saying I can’t get diesel from you, but then telling me I can’t get unleaded either.”

Assistant: “Sir, if you just call your phone company I am sure they can help you.”

Customer: “Oh, okay then.”

(The customer starts mashing numbers on the keypad without hanging up. Assistant stays on the line.)

Assistant: “Sir?”

Customer: “I just talked to [my company] and they said you have diesel lines.”

Assistant: “Sir you never hung up the phone. This is still [company name] from [ company name].”

Customer: “Holy s***! You work for both places?”

*****

*****

Customer: “Hey! Where are your biscuits on special?”

Assistant: “On the display right next to you. You’re standing right next to it.”

Customer: “Oh. Well, you should have a sign there to point them out!”

(Assistant points to the large sign above the biscuits. It’s black and red and quite large.)

Customer: “Well, you should have a sign that points to the sign!”

(Customer #1 is wearing a shirt and khaki pants while shopping at a certain discount store. Customer #2 approaches him. )

Customer #2: “Do you have any more of these in back?”

Customer #1: “Sorry, I don’t work here.”

(Customer #1 pushes his cart down the next aisle and continues shopping.)

Customer #2: “Excuse me! Don’t ignore a customer! That is rude!”

Customer #1: “I don’t work here. If you pick up the phone at the end of the aisle, they will send someone over to help you.”

(Customer #1 walks away and continues shopping.)

Customer #2: “I AM GOING TO MAKE SURE YOU GET FIRED FOR BEING SO RUDE! IN THIS ECONOMY GOOD LUCK FINDING ANOTHER JOB!”

Customer #1: “I don’t work here. I can’t help you!”

Customer #2: “How rude!”

(Later on, customer #1 is pushing his cart of purchases out of the store. He sees customer #2 talking to a manager.)

Customer #2: “HIM!” *points at me* “He is the jerk who ignored me in your sporting goods department! You should be ashamed of how rude he is to customers. I won’t shop here if that is the kind of employee you hire.”

Manager: “Ma’am, that man is not one of my employees.”

Customer #2: “Then you need to make sure customers don’t come to the store dressed like employees!”

(The woman storms off, but the manager hands customer #1 a coupon for a free coffee from the store snack bar for his trouble.)

*****

*****

Customer: “So the next convention in Sydney is THIS Thursday?”

Assistant: “Yes, sir. Would you like me to register you?”

Customer: “Ah, well, Thursday isn’t really going to work for me. Could you move the convention to Friday instead?”

Assistant: “I’m afraid that we have already booked the venue and the speakers and planned everything for Thursday. It’s a little late to consider changing the date, especially since we have around 70 people booked for this particular seminar.”

Customer: “So…no chance at all then?”

*****

*****

Customer: “Where can I find your carrot tops?”

Assistant: “We don’t sell carrot tops, but you can buy the whole carrot.”

Customer: “But I need to feed my rabbit her carrot tops!”

Assistant: “If people buy carrots would you like me to ask them if they’d like their carrot tops cut off and I can save them for you?”

Customer: “Oh that’d be lovely! I’ll come back next week after her therapy session. Her therapist thinks she has an anxiety disorder.”

*****

*****

Assistant: “Hello, this is [Bank] how can I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I deposited money through your ATM machine yesterday and it still isn’t showing up in my account.”

Assistant: “Okay, sir, can I just get the card number from the ATM card that you used to make the deposit.”

Customer: “I didn’t use a card.”

Assistant: “I’m sorry sir, I might have misunderstood. Did you make your deposit into the ATM or the night drop box?”

Customer: “No, I put it into your machine but I didn’t use a card. I didn’t need one.”

Assistant: “Sir, I still don’t understand how you could have made your deposit into the ATM without using a card. Could you please describe the steps you went through?”

Customer: “I drove up to the machine, filled out an envelope and stuffed it into the little door that said deposit but I didn’t use no card.”

Assistant: “Sir, the deposit door on the machine will not open without a card. How exactly did you put the envelope in?”

Customer: “Whoever designed those machines is a freaking moron. I couldn’t figure out how to open the little door so I got my pocket knife out and pried the door open. Then I stuffed the envelope with my deposit in there as best I could and drove away!”

*****

*****

(While ringing up a customer, the computer flags cold medicine and asks for age verification.)

Assistant: “Sir, I need to verify your date of birth.”

Customer: “Why?”

Assistant: “You’re trying to buy medicine and I just need your date of birth to confirm you are over the age of 18.”

Customer: “Oh. April 20th, 1420.”

Assistant: “Sir, I really need your actual birth date to continue.”

Customer: “4-20-1420. Put it in.”

(Assistant entered the date. The system accepts. Assistant looked in disbelief.)

Customer: “Told you.”

*****

*****

Assistant: “Thanks for calling [credit card company], my name is ***. Can I get your first and last name, please?”

Caller: “I wanted to talk to the computer.”

Assistant: “Well, ma’am, the reason you got me is because [credit card company] is wanting to take care of you personally and let you know about–”

Caller: “I want to talk to the computer, not a person! I don’t like talking to people.”

Assistant: “Well, ma’am, I’ve already got your account info up on the screen. I can give you the same info the computer lady can.”

Caller: “No! I want to talk to the computer! I don’t want to talk to a d*** agent! I wanted to get my balance from the computer!”

Assistant: “Ma’am, since I’ve got it up already, would you like me to just give you the info so you don’t have to call back? You’d still get an agent if you did.”

Caller: “NO! I WANT TO TALK TO THE COMPUTER!” *click*

*****

*****

Customer: “Excuse me, miss. These jeans just don’t seem to fit right.”

Assistant: “Well these are men’s jeans. We have plenty of women’s jeans over here, in the women’s department. Is there a size I can help you find?”

Customer: “You mean I just tried on men’s jeans?” *horrified look*

Assistant: “Yes, ma’am. These are men’s jeans. This is the men’s department.”

Customer: “OH MY GOD! The Bible forbids women to wear men’s clothes! I’m going to h***!”

Assistant: “I’m sure you’ll be fine. You didn’t know. God won’t be angry.”

Customer: “That’s what you think. You obviously don’t know God then.” *storms off*

*****

*****

Customer: “Do you have a picture book of dinosaurs?”

Assistant: “Sure.”

(They walk to the dinosaur books and the assistant shows him many books with various sketches and paintings of dinosaurs)

Customer: “No, not pictures…PHOTOGRAPHS. Photos of dinosaurs, please. Where are those?”

*****

*****

Seafood Restaurant Customer: (While looking at the lobster tank full of live lobsters) “Do you have any fresh ones?”

*****

*****

Tech Support: “All right…now double-click on the File Manager icon.”

Customer: “That’s why I hate this ‘Windows’–because of the icons–I’m a Protestant, and I don’t believe in icons.”

Tech Support: “Well, that’s just an industry term sir. I don’t believe it was meant to-”

Customer: “I don’t care about any ‘industry terms’. I don’t believe in icons.”

Tech Support: “Well…why don’t you click on the ‘little picture’ of a file cabinet…it’s a ‘little picture’, okay?”

Customer: *hangs up*

*****

*****

Caller: “Is this the store that sells those little Christmas trees in different colors? Including the one in black?”

Assistant: “Yes, it is. Are you interested in one?”

Caller: “No! I want to complain! You’re selling black Christmas trees! That’s satanic!”

Assistant: “I’m sorry. We sell lots of other colors, too. Pink, purple, neon green, silver.”

Caller: “Your store is owned by the Devil! Black is the color of Satan! You should be ashamed!”

Assistant: “I’m sorry, ma’am. We sell many different colors of trees and a lot of customers really like the black tree. I can assure you, it’s just a Christmas tree.”

Caller: “Well, I don’t agree. I think black is satanic! Christmas trees should be green!”

Assistant: “I understand and will inform our manager of your feelings. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Caller: “Oh, yes…can you put one of those pink Christmas trees on hold for me? I think they’re just so cute!”

*****

*****

Customer: “Hi, I’d like to buy a lemon and lime pie please.”

Me: “I’m sorry miss, we don’t sell those. We never have.”

Customer: “But I was so sure. Let me just check.” *pulls out phone and dials* “Hi, darling…yes, I know, but she says they don’t sell them anymore. Okay, I’ll put you on…”

Customer: “He’d like to talk to you.” *hands me the phone*

Assistant: “Hi, sir, I’m sorry, but we don’t sell lemon and lime pies.”

Phone: “Woof! Woof! Woof!”

Customer, to me: “You see?!”

*****

*****

(A shop just opened one Sunday when a man comes in and robs it at gunpoint. During the robbery, the robber makes staff lock the doors so no customers can come in. After he leaves, the staff were so upset that they didn’t think to unlock the doors. While they waited for the police to arrive, another man knocks on the door.)

Customer: “Are you open? I’d like to get a coffee.”

Assistant: “I’m sorry, sir, we’ve just been robbed at gunpoint, so we’re a little freaked out.”

Customer: “Well, did he steal the coffee? I can still get a latte, right?!”

*****

*****

Assistant: “Good morning, ma’am. What can I help you with today?”

Customer: “Do you have this product here?” *points to a video game in company ad*

Assistant: “Certainly, ma’am. Just take that aisle down here and turn right. Near the doors are the video games.”

Customer: “Oh, alright! Thank you.”

(Shortly after, the assistant gets a call about TVs so head towards that section. After helping another guest out, the first guest shows up.)

Assistant: “Hello again, ma’am! Want me to show you where that game is you were looking for?”

Customer: “How did you do that?”

Assistant: “Do what, ma’am?”

Customer: “How did you appear like that? Magic?”

Assistant: “No, ma’am. I just–”

Customer: “It’s magic! You kids and your devil ways!”

Assistant: “I promise it’s not magic, ma’am. I just took a shortcut.”

Customer: “Through h***! Demon!” *storms out*

*****

*****

Assistant: “Thank you for calling [cable company]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “We just moved my grandmother’s TV and I think the cable has been disconnected at the outlet where we moved it. Could you send someone to reconnect it?”

(Suddenly, the grandmother grabs the phone.)

Caller’s grandmother: *yelling* “That is not what happened! The cable has been hooked to that outlet since the 70’s! You people just need to flip the little switch and turn it back on!”

(The grandson gets back on the phone.)

Caller: “I am so sorry. Please ignore her. I just need to set up an appointment for the technician to come out.”

Assistant: “No problem. My grandmother can be like that too. I can have someone out on Tuesday.”

Caller’s grandmother: *yelling in the background* “You are not listening! All they have to do is flip the switch! Don’t let them lie to you!”

Caller: “Grams, when you moved the TV back in the ’80’s you had the cable disconnected from this outlet and reconnected at the other end.”

Caller’s grandmother: “Now you’re lying! I’m going to make sure that I’m not here when they come out. This is ridiculous! Tell them not to come!”

Assistant: “Tell her that our switch is broken here and we have to manually come out and flip it in her home. We’ll be there Tuesday.”

(The grandson relays this information.)

Caller’s grandmother: “Oh, okay then. I’ll see them Tuesday.”

Caller, to Assistant: “Bless you.”

*****

*****

Stories quoted from shop assistants.

"There was a customer in the restaurant who ordered a soup based noodle dish for dinner. As described on the menu, the dish consisted of noodles and had other items such as beef and vegetables in it. When the customer received the order, she ate a little and then requested if we could take the beef out of the dish as she wasn’t much of a meat eater. So, we did.

She then called us again and now requested that we take out some of the vegetables as again it is not something that she would normally like. Finally, she calls us for the third time and now mentions how there seems to be too much soup in the dish and requested that we drain it so that she can simply et the noodles only. Sure enough, we did it.

When it came to the bill, she was outraged at it as she believed she shouldn’t have to pay the full price since all she ate was mainly the noodles. She also mentions how we could have simply served another person the portions that she did not eat and it’s our fault for wasting it which makes it our responsibility to cover the cost of it."

*****

*****

"I used to do warranty repairs for home electronics a few years back and I remember this conversation a co-worker of mine had on the phone with a customer.

Co-Worker: Sir, I’m calling you to let you know there are roaches inside your DVD player and we will be refusing to service your item under the manufacturer’s warranty. Please pick up your item by the end of the day or we will dispose of it for health reasons.”

My friend is quiet while the customer at the other end is speaking.

Co-Worker: No, the warranty only covers manufacturer’s defects - either problem in workmanship or design. We will not be servicing your unit.

Another few seconds pass as he listens to the customer. His face starts to frown.

Co-Worker: Sir, did you hear me? There are cockroaches in your DVD Player. That is not a problem of workmanship or design. (Pause)

The customer then begins to say something and my co-worker reacts.

Co-Worker: No! It is not normal for cockroaches to live your VCR, or any other appliance or piece of electronic equipment. That’s why we can’t cover you under the warranty.

Customer then appears to understand and my co-worker is relieved a bit.

Co-Worker: Good, I’m glad you understand now, will you be picking up your DVD player or should we dispose of it for you?”

Suddenly, he has a long pause and this time his eyes begins to roll.

Co-Worker: Our in home technicians are pretty much booked this week. Let me get the number of another service depot and maybe they can get someone to your house and find out what’s wrong with your TV set."

*****

*****

"A customer phoned in as his computer keyboard did not seem to be working anymore. I asked some basic questions such as for him to check if it was properly connected to the computer. He assured me it was.

Trying to get to the bottom of it, I tried to find out what he was doing before the keyboard began to cease functioning. He mentioned he didn’t do anything other than clean the keyboard as it was a little dirty. My immediate response was that maybe the material he used to clean it damaged the keyboard and so I asked him to tell me what he used to clean it.

He was adamant that he didn’t use anything bad to clean the keyboard. According to him, all he did was soak the keyboard in regular soap and water to clean off all the dust and residue."

*****

*****

"I work in a call center for a popular resort area. A lady called because she was planning a trip for her entire family. Her oldest son who was twenty-five and his fiancé 19 or 20, were going to be sharing a room. The mother requested 2 beds in the room because she did not want them to sleep together before they were married!

I had to bite my tongue hard to keep from telling her that sleep was the least of her worries!"

*****

*****

"As A Construction Manager all my work is customer relations but it takes a secondary role. I joined this Group to learn from the pros. I do have a Navy Story to share about a true Customer Service Professional. It is true and a good laugh.
I was alone on liberty in Hong Kong in 1975. I received my back pay and was not broke. I went to a very classy place near the famous Bottoms Up! We really had to dress up in our opinion, but to tell you the truth, the place allowed me in because I was an American Navy Sailor. After a time I had to find a toilet. I went downstairs and met the maitre d'. He asked me if I was looking for the "Potty" in a beautiful English accent. I said "yes" and he escorted me to the entrance of a room with people sharing stories and cake in hats and other party wear. I explained my prediciment and he grasped my situation, and the error imediately, and pointed me in the right direction. We got good laugh. He was truly professional and I will never forget him."

*****

*****

More by this Author


Comments 27 comments

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Funny stories, misty. I can't help thinking of Stew Leonard's, a very successful supermarket-like dairy in Connecticut and in nearby New York. He has a big sign at the entrance to his store that reads: Rule No. 1 The customer is always right. Rule No. 2 If the customer is ever wrong, reread Rule No. 1.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Hi William, great comment, loved it. Thanks for that :)


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

The world is crazy, lol. Thanks for this funny hub. Someone should make a monument to customer service employees, some of them really deserve it.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

I agree Hypnodude, they really do, but what is worse is so many of these true examples are just poor sales assistants doing their job, and not even getting paid to be "Customer Service Staff".

Thanks for commenting :)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Great stuff, Misty! I wrote a similar Hub soon after I joined. Will link yours to mine (or is it mine to yours?)!

Love and peace

Tony


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Hi Misty - "Potties" are lots of fun.

Gus ;-)))


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Hi Tony, feel free to post your link here and I shall add it to my links section too. Glad you enjoyed this.

Hi Gus, LOL, I'll take your word for it ;)


ehern33 profile image

ehern33 6 years ago

You really had some crazy stories here. I love these strange ones so much as it makes me laugh so hard. Thank you so much for writing these. There are so many of them that you have to wonder about people sometimes. Thanks again.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks Ehern, there were so many to choose from that this hub would have been endless if I had included all of them. I particularly recommend the "Not Always Right" site I listed in the links section as this had over 274 pages of similar anecdotes from actual staff members.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 6 years ago from Scotland

Had a laugh at those stories Misty

I could never work in one of those contact centres, I would go crazy listening to that :-)


hublim profile image

hublim 6 years ago from Scotland

Great Hub Misty! I worked in a customer service centre while studying and had a few humorous customers in my time. I loved the scallions/spring onions story!


emievil profile image

emievil 6 years ago from Philippines

LOL the stories you tell misty. Had to salute the customer service people, they always manage to maintain their cool while dealing with irate or st*pid or even sometimes, mad customers. Thanks for sharing this hub. I needed the laugh :).


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Funny stories, Misty. It shows that only a certain sort of person can work with the public. Pat always admires Tricia's endless patience dealing with people. Tricia thinks Pat should just stay indoors some days.


lisaluv9784 profile image

lisaluv9784 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

This is hilarious!I work in retail customer service,so I really can appreciate an article such as this one.My favorite- “Well, you should have a sign that points to the sign!” I see this one happening all the time,and it never gets old:)


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks so much everyone, Shinkicker, Hublim, Emilevil, 2patricias and lisaluv9784, what a lovely load of comments to wake up to and all positive ones from people who enjoyed reading these funny but true stories. :)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Wow, misty, these are fabulous snippets of the retail experience. I used to work as a cashier at an agricultural nursery and some of the customers were absolutely impossible. My solution was to go in with a fresh attitude every day and make them my friend.

It worked!!!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Hi Lorlie, that is a good attitude, although it can backfire occasionally. I experienced this 1st hand when I made a supreme effort to get a smile and a good customer/staff relationship with a constantly miserable taxi driver mysoginist who used to come in to a petrol station where I worked. After months of trying he suddenly changed and became ever so delighted to see me when he came in, smiling, chatting etc. Trouble was he wouldn't leave, so the queue behind him would get longer and longer and longer, him apparently oblivious to the problem he was causing. To give you an idea of what he used to be like the staff used to call him "Mad Axeman Bob"!!

I guess the real monster was the one I created by befriending him though!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

What great stories! Thanks for the hub - read every word right to the end. I could identify with some of those situations since I spent a part of my life training department store associates in customer satisfaction. I liked to point out that customer service was simply serving the customer, while customer satisfaction - satisfying them - was a great deal harder. Some of the folks in your vignettes did just that!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Hi drbj, thanks so much for visiting and commenting on this. It certainly is really hard to satisfy all customers, especially when restricted by company policies etc. I just wish the poor customer service guy was not always the one who gets shot for being the messenger to some angry (or crazy) customer.


Art of legend india.com 6 years ago

I like your stories. I agree with you.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks Art of India, glad to know you feel the same way :)


rvsource profile image

rvsource 6 years ago

What a great hub Cindy!

There's a lot of truth to this hub. One thing I learned a long time ago however is that "although a customer many times is wrong" A customer is STILL the customer.

One never wants to compromise his or her integrity, but sometimes you have to hold back your true feelings in the sake of business.

One line I will not let a customer cross, is when they become rude or cruel in what they do or say. That is something that NO ONE should have to put up with.

Thanks again for writing another great hub!

Jeff


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Cheers Jeff, of course you are right, but my goodness, it can be so hard on occasions to bite your tongue when they are being completely unreasonable.


AuraLee 5 years ago

Hilarious hub. Now I'll be up all night reading your links!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Thanks AuraLee, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the feedback :)


helmutbiscut profile image

helmutbiscut 4 years ago from Ohio

I just came upon this hub, and I'm glad I did. Thanks for a good laugh!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands) Author

Glad you liked this helmutbiscut. If it made you laugh it worked as I intended when I created it :) Thanks.

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