The old adage that “the customer is always right” is wrong. It may be shocking to read, but it’s true. The customer is, in fact, often wrong.
Think about it: We’re all customers of some sort. We make a multitude of transactions every day with businesses. We buy groceries, stop at gas stations, pick up a cup of coffee at Starbucks, buy clothing at department stores, and so on.
Case in point: A few weeks ago, our dog was sick and I went to a local pet supply store to buy some food that helps soothe his stomach. I’d purchased the product at our local vet before, but had seen it on the shelf of the pet store the last time I visited.
In the check-out aisle, the cashier asked if I had a prescription card for the food. I didn’t, and didn’t know I needed one. She explained that the food was available for purchase only with a written prescription from our vet. Oops. I put the food back on the shelf and proceeded to purchase the other items. The cashier apologized for the inconvenience (no fault of hers), and life went on.
There were two possible outcomes to this interaction. The first possible outcome is what actually happened: I (the customer) was wrong, the cashier was polite, and life went on. Because of the way she handled the transaction, she kept me as a customer.
An alternate ending
This sequence of events could have happened much differently, however. Knowing I was wrong, the cashier could have slammed the cans down on the counter and yelled, “I’m so tired of this. Can’t you read a freaking sign?! RIGHT under the cans it says ‘this product can only be purchased with a written prescription from your veterinarian.’ What is wrong with you? Put it back or give me a freaking prescription card! Moron.”