The customer is NOT always right!

Many years ago, I worked for various McDonald’s restaurants as a cashier. And occationally, this would happen:

  1. A customer would come to my station and make an order. I would operate strictly by the book; greeting the customer, taking the order, taking the money, assemble the order, and send the customer on her way. The customer would give me absolutely no indication that anything was amiss.
  2. Then, unknown to me, the customer would go behind my back and make a complaint to a manager, claiming that I either got the order wrong in some way (especially when I was in the drive through position) or, more often, that I was rude to her, without specifying how exactly I was rude to her.
  3. The manager would later confront me about the complaint, taking as FACT without question what the customer said and demand of me what the problem was. I would be taken totally by surprize and be unable to offer an explanation for what happened.
  4. In some cases, I would be formally reprimanded by the manager with a  written report that would go on my record. I would be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

This sort of treachery shouldn’t be tolerated by any business. I suspect that customers who pull this stunt are trying to scam the restaurant in some way, perhaps to get a free meal. So here is I think what should happen instead.

  • Customers MUST make a complaint first directly to the employee that offended them. If they fail to do so, management should not be obligated to listen to them.
  • When complaining of rudeness, the customer MUST specify to both the employee and the manager the rude behavior and give details and suggest how the behavior can be corrected.
  • When discussing what happened later with the employee, the manager does not reprimand him and takes what he says in equal consideration with what the customer said earlier.

If these rules were followed, then I think employees and management would get along much better and fewer customers would be attempting to scam restaurants or other places of business.

2 thoughts on “The customer is NOT always right!

  1. My first real job was at a McDonalds. I didn’t have any problems with customers because I only worked as a cook, but I also didn’t have any problem with management. I’d guess I was lucky to have nice managers who didn’t accuse me of anything unfairly.

    Your experience sounds quite awful. I agree with your assessment. Management shouldn’t treat employees that way. There will always be customers that complain, but unless the manager observed the incident itself I don’t think they should take the customer’s word as absolute truth.

    That said, McDonalds is a massive corporation. It’s intentionally designed so that almost anyone can work there without any experience or even much intelligence. To McDonald’s customers are worth more than employees. It’s easy to replace employees and they’re used to constant turnover, but if a customer is unhappy you might lose them for life. McDonalds’ management has no particular incentive to treat employees fairly.

    This is the reason workers’ unions form, but McDonald’s has little to fear of unions. It would be nearly impossible to form a union when turnover is so high. So, McDonalds’ actually has an incentive to ensure employees don’t stick around to long because then they might start to organize.

  2. Watch this video:

    What a clueless b!tch! I would have expected her complaint to get someone working at the Alamo Drafthouse written up for being rude to her. That wouldn’t have been just, but that’s about the same as what happened to me at McDonald’s!

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