I Didn’t Come Here for an Argument


I Didn’t Come Here for an Argument

A few weeks ago, a group of friends and I decided to go to Eat Street Markets in Brisbane for a night out. The markets are a fabulous eclectic mix of food stalls, representing foods from across the globe, and the atmosphere really is quite special.

While meandering through the alleyways, we came across a bar and decided it would be a good idea to stop for a drink, the girl who served my friend was friendly until she brought the wrong order out to us. When my friend corrected what she delivered, rather than the usual no problem and swap the drink around, she decided to argue with him.

My friend, not one to back down and knowing what he had ordered smiled and suggested with the noisy atmosphere that perhaps she had misheard. “No”, she said, “I know what you ordered, and it wasn’t that.”

What went on, was not the best example of customer service I’ve seen and culminated in her walking away and leaving my friend with a bunch of drinks he didn’t actually order but didn’t pay for either.

And so, here we are at part two of my ‘Curse of Lazy Retailing’ series …

Staff who argue with their clients.

I could cut this article really short by simply saying, “Don’t do it.” But, it seems as though it’s becoming a more common occurrence than you might think.

Not long after the Eat Street experience, I took my parents out for lunch at a cafe. When the waiter delivered our drinks, he had made the wrong tea; again, I had to go through a whole scenario of justifying to the waiter why they should swap the tea over without charging me for the extras.

Even in a health food store, I had a staff member who wanted to argue with me when I returned a refrigerated product, 24 hours after purchase, after I had noticed it was two months out of its best before date.

And that’s just me, three separate direct experiences within a three-week period. Multiply that out by the number of customers in and out of retail shops, cafes and service businesses every day and just imagine the number of poor experiences people are walking away with.

Why? To what end are staff wanting to argue with customers?

Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand what a tough gig retail and hospitality is, but arguing with your clients just loses you clients and annoys them enough that they will tell every single person they can think of not to bother going to your shop.

Clients are not always right. They make mistakes, get confused, change their mind and can be downright infuriating. Ultimately though, without them, you have no business.


The next time a customer returns something because it was wrong, or not what they ordered, or just wasn’t quite right, avoid the eye rolling, skip any sarcastic comments (no matter how much you want too) and gloss over any attitude you’d really love to offer.

Instead, smile, do your best to placate them and the situation and be grateful for the moment; you have clients dealing with your business, keeping the doors open and helping you to remain self-employed … Especially if we’re talking about a $4.00 cup or tea or a $5.00 stick of butter.

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