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The International Staff Campaign for Customer Dress-Down Day

Updated on December 7, 2012

The International Campaign for Customer Dress-Down Day

It has become a familiar feature of working life to have a 'Dress-Down Day' once a week.

Normally on a Friday and usually in the modern office environment it offers the chance for employees to go casual at work.

Staff can wear an assortment of colours and styles.

It's all t-shirts and jeans, knitted jumpers, baggy shirts and training shoes. Now it's time to relax the rules even further. For too long unreasonable expectations of customer service have made life difficult for those who work with the great unwashed.

Unendurable patience in the face of anger is expected plus a politeness taken back to Victorian standards of social etiquette and delicate sensibilities. The pressures are enormous for employees to batten down the lid on a pressure cooker of outraged emotions at the injustice and intolerance they have to withstand.

The customer is not always right. Customer is not always king or even tyrant queen as they inflict their ridiculous demands on the poor servants who heed their earnest calls and every whim.

In an endeavour which I would lovingly dedicate to the heroic historical figure of one Basil Fawlty, I ask that this power disparity be righted. I call for a launch of a campaign to introduce an 'International Customer Dress-Down Day' forthwith.

At least only for one single day each year the long-suffering employees of the service sector should be granted the freedom to speak their mind and blast out their true feelings. Basil was indeed the grand master of the public dressing-down of his paying customers. Imagine, for instance, how he would inspire the waiters of the gourmet world.

Waiter, Waiter!

Consider the possibilities for the underpaid and the down-trodden. For example, that stressful evening shift for the poor restaurant staff would be utterly transformed.

Diner: "Waiter! Waiter! I must say this steak tartare is a little on the cold side".

Waiter: "Well then! Shove it in your gob and keep it there for a minute. That'll soon warm it up".

Diner: "How dare you!"

Waiter: "Go on! Make it a double-dare!"

Diner: "What! Get me the manager immediately!"

Waiter: "Get her yourself. I just deliver the food and drink around here".

Not only will the waiters of the world show customers to their places, they'll put them right in their place too. A deluge of sarcasm, innuendo, subtle taunts and downright insults would make an evening's dining far more entertaining.

Table manners, cutlery use, eating habits and choice of wine and are all up for scorn and contempt.

Can I help you sir?

It goes without saying that shop assistants everywhere can be the most put-upon and degraded. The all-powerful customer can take requests beyond reasonable limits of satisfaction;

"Do you have them in a larger size?"

"Do you have a smaller size?"

"Is there not any other colours?"

"Do you stock them in singles?"

"Do you not have anything cheaper?"

Pandering to every demand is the fate of shop staff who succumb to the will of the difficult, the undecided and the occasional delinquent.

But it could all be different just for one day. That day is 'International Customer Dress-Down Day' and let the free-for-all begin. Let the epithets run loose and the air turn blue with contemptuous comments on dress sense and body mass index in equal measure.

Customer: "Excuse me?"

Assistant: "Yes! What the hell do you want now?"

Customer: "Erm ... well... I was wondering if I could try these trousers on?"

Assistant: "I seriously doubt it!"

Customer: "Why not? Have you no changing rooms?"

Assistant: "Oh yes! But I think you'd have a hard time squeezing in there, never mind launching into a pair of hairy slacks"

Customer: "I certainly will, I'll have you know!"

Assistant: "Maybe last century! But not today"

Customer: "That's it! You've gone too far"

Assistant: "Really? Take a seat bud and pin back your ears"

On a normal day the pressures of competition would preclude such behaviour. Shoppers would just take their cash and their credit cards elsewhere unless they took a masochistic pleasure in the scatter of abuse.

But if we had unanimous participation in 'International Customer Dress-Down Day' that would produce the level playing field required. It would be somewhat similar to France on an average shopping day.

But admittedly it must be difficult to choose who suffers the most from the ravages of the consumer hordes. It goes without saying that anyone in the licensed trade suffers untold agonies. It's an occupational hazard in the pub trade and just considered part of the j.o.b. Of course the ultimate sanction can be applied in the traditional manner of barring the offenders. But wouldn't it be much more jolly for them to lock horns.


On the buses

Certainly bus drivers and taxi drivers would also be heavy contenders as being among the greatest sufferers.

More especially as they deal with the drunks too on a daily basis.

But they do have the added advantages of sealed cabins, radios and emergency alarms in their arsenal.

So then they can enjoy the comfort of a secure environment to pour out the derision.

Passenger: "When's the next bus along here driver?"

Driver: "Tomorrow!"

Passenger: "Tomorrow?"

Driver: "Yes! That's right! Tomorrow! You know? Two days after yesterday, a week before next Tuesday".

Passenger: "This is the last bus?"

Driver: "No! The last bus left 10 minutes ago. You're undergoing a drug-induced psychosis and this is an imaginary conversation".

Passenger: "Eh?"

Driver: "Nothing mate, just wishful thinking on my part. Are you getting on then?"

Passenger: "I'm waiting on my friend".

Driver: "Are you really?"

Passenger: "And this is the last bus then?"

Driver: "Yes! And this is your last chance. Are you getting on?"

Passenger: "But I'm waiting on my friend".

Driver: "Well you're welcome to sit down and wait".

Passenger: "Really?"

Driver: "Sure! There's two seats in the bus shelter. Now! Get your filthy carcass off my vehicle!!"

As you see the possibilities are endless. What are you waiting for? Join the 'International Campaign for Customer Dress-Down Day' and let the festivities begin. Who knows it may become so popular that we could have more than one each year. Perhaps even once a week.

Why wait for Saturday night to let your hair down. You could enjoy a fun-filled Friday of rudeness, sarcasm and scorn. A chance to vent your spleen and get yourself even with the world. The most relaxing way to wind-down for the weekend. Everyone loses their temper at some point and how better to do it than at a time of your own choosing. It'll do you good.

Here's to your health. Your rude health of course.



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