How to be a Good Customer

I’ve mentioned the lack of good customer service in this part of the world a few times on this blog. So, I thought it would be fair to discuss the lack of good customers for a change. 

I don’t know which came first – whether businesses just started cutting back salaries and hiring fewer people and less qualified people and/or providing them with less training in order to save money; or, whether customers became so rude, demanding, careless, ignorant and impossible to please that no one with any other option and/or lick of sense wanted to work in customer service anymore.

Whichever way it happened (probably a little of both), customers, and the businesses they patronize, are now almost operating as adversaries rather than as a team. Any transaction has to work out better if both parties are able to come out of the experience having gotten what they want with a minimum of bloodshed, right?

By now we’ve all heard more than enough about Steven Slater  and his dramatic resignation from JetBlue Airlines. To me, the most interesting/frightening thing about this story is how many people in the airline industry (and customer service industry in general) are applauding him as a hero.

He “did what everyone always wanted to do but never did,” says the “Free Steven Slater” Facebook page – one of his many overnight shrines.

And really, I think if you accidentally hit a flight attendant, or anyone else, in the head with your luggage, you should apologize profusely.

Other airplane etiquette would include:

  • Not ringing that damn bell the second you find your seat while other passengers are still boarding and the flight crew is busy helping people to their seats;
  • Not wandering around the aisles, especially while the flight attendants are trying to squeeze their little food carts down the same aisle;
  • Not spending the majority of the flight taking things from or putting things back into your overhead compartment;
  • Not getting drunk and obnoxious; and,
  • Not yelling for, or at, the flight attendants.

As I mentioned a while back, XUP Jr. is working this summer as a hostess in a local restaurant. Up until a couple of weeks ago she really enjoyed her job. Then one evening she was clearing a table where four “large ladies” had been dining. (Large ladies may not have been the exact term she used).

She dropped a plate from the stack she was carrying and the large ladies started laughing uproariously and calling her a “stupid bitch” and saying things like: “I can’t wait to see how she’s going to pick up the broken plate while she’s trying to hold all that other stuff.” And, “what’s wrong with this restaurant that they hire skinny twits that can’t even carry a plate”. And, “Come on, stupid, clean up this fucking mess.”

They so shocked and surprised XUP Jr. that she lost all her aplomb and ran crying to the washroom. One of the servers cleaned up the plate and went to tell the manager about the large ladies, but by the time he got out there, they were gone. The manager was very nice to XUP Jr. and told her to come straight to him if anyone ever talks to her like that again.

I’m thinking most people in the customer service industry have run into many, many large ladies during the course of their work life. On top of this, many people in the customer service industry do not have kind, understanding managers like XUP Jr.’s So, I can see why store clerks and restaurant servers and call centre employees might not always be chirping sunshine.

However, maybe there is still time to turn all this around and make shopping somewhat pleasant for everyone again? To that end, I’m starting a list of ways to be a better customer. If everyone adds something, I reckon we’ll soon have a comprehensive handbook and people will find it and use it and distribute it all over the world and then everyone will be happy and peace will rein throughout the universe and there will be no more poverty, famine, natural disasters or right-wing crazy people. 

  1. Be polite and respectful. This should go without saying, but apparently cannot go without saying.
  2. Do your research. Find out something about the product you are looking to buy so you are somewhat knowledgeable and don’t walk into the store saying “I want a computer” and when the tech-geek asks you what sort of thing you’re looking for, you won’t get mad and sarcastically say, “I don’t know, you’re the ‘expert.’”
  3. Know the store. The internet is full of information so you can become familiar with pretty much every store and restaurant before you enter the premises. Some websites will even tell you if the have certain products in stock in that particular location. This will save you getting pissed off at The Beefy Steak House for not having a wide vegetarian selection.
  4. Go shopping in the morning. People tend to be a little less short-tempered when they haven’t already dealt with 180 dolts and/or haven’t been on their feet all day.
  5. Listen to the store guy/gal when he/she tries to explain stuff to you so you don’t keep asking him/her the same damn questions over and over. And try to answer his/her questions as fully as possible so he/she can actually help you.
  6. Don’t mess up the store.
    • Don’t carrying stuff around the store and then put it back in another section because you decide you don’t want it anymore.
    • Don’t knock stuff off shelves or hangers and leave it because “they should stack things better” or because “it will give them something to do”.
    • Don’t leave your cart in the check-out line or cluttering up an aisle somewhere.
    • Don’t open packages or unwrap stuff and then leave them lying around.
  7. Don’t hold other customers up when you’re at the check-out or with a floor clerk or at customer service. Do your business and move on.
    • Don’t start engaging the clerks in long conversations about past shopping experiences.
    • Don’t complain to the cashier about all the stuff you couldn’t find or how nothing fit or how expensive everything is.
    • Don’t be surprised that there’s sales tax on stuff so you don’t have to spend a lot of time arguing about the final cost with the cashier and/or have to put stuff back because you can’t afford everything anymore.
    • You know you’re going to have to pay at the check-out so don’t start wondering where your wallet is after everything has been rung up.
  8. Keep your freakin’ kids under control. I had a youngster once, too, so I know how excited/impatient/bored they get while shopping. So, either don’t bring them, or if you have to bring them, keep them with you and try to keep them from screeching in that high-pitched wail only young children can do. And don’t let them run around playing tag or hide-and-seek or testing the tensile strength of all the toys, garments, household appliances and food packaging.

What else?????

44 responses to “How to be a Good Customer

  1. I am sorry XUP Jr. had to go through humiliation like that! Customer service sucks!
    What’s also not always fun is working in a hospital which I did years ago. Granted I was just a caregiver hired by an outside company to assist the nurses, but the abuse I put up with and saw was enough to make anyone sick. (And makes me pissed off just thinking about it)

    People-If you are sick and in the hospital, treat the nurses and care staff respectfully, particularly the nurses. They work long hours in a tough job taking care of lots of people. Many are great at their jobs and sincerely want to help people, even ingrateful a-holes who frankly don’t deserve it!

  2. Poor girl. Personally whenever I have run across women like those “large women” I have usually taken it upon myself to set those type of people straight. In a situation as described I would have said that they hire “skinny girls” because no one wants to wait until some grossly obese fat cow waddles the plates over the table. And chances are they’ve picked food from the plate because they obviously have no control over their food consumption.
    Manners are the lube of society. People are forgetting that co-operation and civility are what makes life tolerable.
    Otherwise its all just one painful “Pink glove”.

  3. I thought this was a great post.

    Your comment in #7 reminded me about how much I love the fact that in Europe the taxes are already included. My personal reactionw as funny, because I kept on adding the tax on-top in my head, so everything seemed “cheaper” at the till.

    When i got back here, everything seemed more expensive.

    It is beyond me why it’s not already included. (It is in some things like movie tickets, why not everything else?)

  4. Assholes abound. Sorry Jr. had to experience that, but it’s good training for later in life.

    Re: point 7.
    – If you’re going to pay exact change, please have it counted and ready if there’s a line behind you. Nothing aggravates people waiting at the cashier more than some SOB paying $32.71 like this:

    “Hmm, here’s 2, 3, umm, 5, do de do, 6, 6.25, 6.50, 6.60, 8.60, umm 9.60, 9.61, 11.61, er, umm, 13.61 umm, 13.86, 13.96, 14.01, 16.01, 18.01, 19.01, 19.26, 19.36, umm, sec (roots around in handbag for 2 minutes, pulls out another change purse) ooh a $5 note so where was I, oh 24.36, 26.36, 26.37, 26.38, 26.43, er, umm 27.43, 29.43, er, 28.43 hehe that was only a loonie, 30.43, 32.43, 32.68, 32.69, 70, 71! there you go!”

    Ditto for coupons. Most stores are better about coupons these days – the ones I shop at tend to auto-apply the newspaper coupons and such, but there’s always special offers. Only meticulously counting change drives the people behind you more irate than tendering a stack of coupons on a busy day at the store.

    I actually bought someone’s groceries once because of the change counting thing. She was trying to get to about $22 in loose quarters. It was either buy their groceries or strike them dead where they stood with death rays from my eyes.

  5. Pauline – You’d think if someone was sick in a hospital at the mercy of nurses and other medical staff, they’d be a nice, if for no other reason than self-preservation. I know being laid up and ill often makes people cranky, but heck – what’s the sense in taking it out on the people trying to make you better?

    Lebanowski – It wasn’t really about the ladies’ size. If they hadn’t mentioned her skinniness, she never would have mentioned their largeness. Rude comes in every shape and hue.

    Justin – That’s a whole other post I keep thinking of writing. I don’t for the life of me understand that either. It’s like a trick or something. Restaurants are even worse because you have the price of your meal, the taxes AND the tip. Why not just include all that in the price of each item? It’s bizarre.

    Squid – Props for writing all that out in the same excruciating detail it would take to count it all out!! Old people seem to be the worst about that. They still use real money. Debit has taken care of a lot of that change counting otherwise.

    Grouchy – They were just nasty. I wonder how sad someone’s life has to be to get off on berating a poor teenager just trying to do her job?

  6. I especially would like to see #8 enforced more often.

    It pisses me off to no end, when parents bring their misbehaved demon-spawn to restaurants. And allow them to run around and play “chase me”, crawl on the floor, and scream whenever they feel like it.

    Great. So I’m taking my hard-earned money, and treating myself to an expensive meal. And as a reward, I get to watch your little urchins disturb the peace.

    Folsk, either CONTROL your kids, or STAY HOME.

    Or better yet, why don’t I just show up in their living room one night, when they’re quietly watching TV..and I stand there and go “AAAAAH! AAAAAH! AAAAAAH!”.

  7. Awh, that’s too bad. I feel bad for XUP Jr. I’ve worked with the public before and it’s not always a picnic. The good customers make up for the A-holes though. There have been a few good ones in my memory; one truck driver surprised me one year. I’d been serving him coffee and donuts every morning for a year or so; he gave me a $5 tip just before Christmas. I got all choked up, lol.

    I try to make an effort to treat people in customer service as people rather than objects. Especially cashiers. I’ll make eye contact with them and ask them how they are doing, or make a joke. It seems to wake them up from their mundane habit. Sometimes they look so caught up in what they’re doing; they’re almost like machines.

  8. @XUP-It makes no sense, none at all, but then again some people lack sense. As someone who was sort of medical staff and had a psych degree, I was also there to help the patients-ie. To get things beyond their reach, help them get up, take them for walks, discuss their issues, talk about their progress with their families if they are unable, ensure they don’t hurt themselves, etc.

    But some people didn’t see it that way and decided to verbally or physicall assault myself or my fellow caregivers for no reason at all! The difference between me and the nurses though was that they were used to it and were better able to stand up to jerkoff patients.

  9. # 66. Don’t shop when you are in a hurry.
    Lack of planning on your part does not constitute anyone elses emergency.

  10. Be up front about whether you’re shopping around.

    I have had countless people come in and say “What’s your best rate on *whateverproduct*?” We haggle back and forth, and 30 minutes later they say “Well, someone else can do better so I’ll go there.”

    If you’re really just price shopping, be up front. Say to the sales person “Look, I don’t want to spend more than $X”. That way the person knows how to direct and help you.

    It’ll also let the person know if you’re wasting your time or not.

    If you’re up-front and honest with them, they will be too (at least the good ones will be).

  11. Friar – I can tell you for a fact that it’s perfectly possible for a child to sit through a meal like a regular human being or spend time in a store without wreaking havoc. And for those who say it’s easier with just one, I grew up in a family of 5 kids and the rare time we all went somewhere together we behaved or we were sent to sit in the car with a pan of water for if we got thirsty and the window cracked for fresh air.

    Davina – I reckon XUP Jr. isn’t doing too badly if she’s only had one experience like this after 2 ½ months. We had a nice chat about stupid people that evening. And yes, it would be nice if all the polite customers could make up for the one horrible one, but it doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. But we have to keep trying, I guess. I admit I’m not always nice, but I do try never to be horrible.

    Pauline – I guess some people just don’t like being beholden to others maybe??

    Jay – Ah, good one…but not always possible. The after work rush at the supermarket is inevitable. Everyone is cranky from work all day. They want to get home and still have to make supper and the line at the check-out is 15 deep. Not a happy place to be.

    Ken – I will take that even further and say to be up front about if you’re just dicking around or are seriously thinking of buying something. I can’t remember which culture it is that says if you go into a shop having no intention of making a purchase, you are stealing that shopkeeper’s time and that is as heinous as stealing his products. I don’t personally see any point in window shopping or “browsing/just looking”, so I almost never do it (only perhaps when I’m waiting for someone and have to kill some time) because I don’t feel right about using that person’s space or taking up a clerk’s time.

  12. I think you pretty much cover it.

    And by large ladies, we mean the FFBs*?

    aka Fat Fucking Bitches (can I say that here?). Anybody treats Jr. in that way again, send them my way so I can tear them a new one. Slowly and with infinite pleasure. I like Jr.

  13. Re:7 – and to extend the tip… my pet peeve while on the bus are those riders (customers) who have root through their purses/backpacks/pockets for their pass/tickets/change!
    Like, you’re at the bus stop, waiting for the bus! Did you think that the driver would just say “aw, never mind… I don’t need to see anything…”

  14. I am glad you pointed out, in reponse to that comment, that rudeness comes in every shape and size (it surely does), and I agree that because your daughter was called a “skinny twit” her first response would be that they were “large ladies.”

    Speaking from experience though (and seeing these comments!), I feel like some believe it is their RIGHT to point out that someone is obese/fat/a cow/gross/can’t control themselves. Why does our society tolerate, accept, encourage this behaviour? Do we think people don’t know they are fat? Believe me they do, because they get told every day. It is the last form of discrimination left with out laws against it, or protection for it!
    People have no qualms about calling those large ladies, fat bitches. But they think it is wrong that they said, skinny twit??? Does anyone else not see the irony here? IT IS ALL WRONG, One is not better than the other.
    There is no excuse for rudeness in any form or fashion! And these ladies of all people should know how it feels to be judged for their size and should have NEVER said that to XUP, Jr!! I am sure your daughter was shocked and hurt, I hope she doesn’t let it get her down.

    Maybe you could do some kind of post about this? See what people say about obesity….

  15. @Kelly

    I hear ya. As a rather (ahem) “large” person, I get a lot of snarky comments about my weight, too. (In fact, I wrote a whole post about it a while ago).

    I think it’s even worse for a guy, because people think men can “take it”, so the comments tend to be even ruder.

  16. That is a disgusting and disturbing story…I feel horrible for XUP Jr. Unfortunately in that line of work, you often see the worst in people. I think that is one of the many jobs everyone should experience – then we’d have less ignorant assholes like the “ladies” mentioned.

  17. I think everything has been covered already, but it really all comes down to being courteous and respectful, and then all the rest follows from there.
    And poor Xup Jr. I cannot believe those jerks. I hope they ran away because they realized that they had behaved horribly and were ashamed of themselves.

  18. Jazz – Thanks. If it happens again, we’ll try to subdue them until you can get here to do your thang! Jr. likes you too, btw.

    Trashy – Funny how this stuff surprises people, isn’t it? I’ve seen people line up at the airport ready for boarding and get all flustered when the airline staff ask them for their boarding pass and passport. At least they boot them out of line until they get their shit together and let other people go through in the meantime.

    Lynn – I find it hard to believe that your kids are that out of control. Kids are never going to behave like adults and we wouldn’t expect them to, but there’s a big difference between a little whining/goofing around and being total maniacs in public.

    Kelly – Yes, I wanted to be clear in pointing out that we were only calling them “large ladies” because they made a point of calling XUP Jr. “skinny” and saying she was too skinny to hold a plate. She was indeed, very hurt and shocked and calling them “large ladies” was her way of lashing out – tit for tat. I did do a post some time ago in the context of airlines wanting to charge larger people for 2 seats and/or not allowing them on board at all. There was a lot of discussion on that post about obesity. But perhaps I could do one some time soon from a different angle. Thanks for your comment and thanks for visiting the blog.

    Friar – Rest assured that XUP Jr. would never normally make a remark like that. She’s been very sensitive about her thinness for as long as she can remember and people have been making all sorts of rude comments to her about it all her life. And really, she would have been considered a perfectly normal teenager in 50 years ago – the norm is just a lot bigger these days.

    MM – This is one of the reasons I tried to talk her out of a customer service job, but she was determined to give it a try. All in all I guess she’s been lucky that this is the first really nasty incident all summer. I’m sure most customer service people have to put up with this sort of thing all the time.

    Finola – One would hope…but I doubt it. If they were truly ashamed, they should have waited and apologized. They weren’t even drinking, so they don’t even have that as an excuse.

  19. In this case the labels just happened to be the contrasting ones of “skinny” and “fat”. But people make judgments and assign labels to other types of people as well. I believe the “sensitivity factor” goes beyond weight (not that I’m condoning what was said here; it was just a way to lash out).

    What about the people who are labeled as stupid or ugly, or flat-chested, or pimple-faced, or whatever other label a person can dig up? I don’t think the issue here is about weight; it just *happened* to be the convenient label to pick on and lash out with. It’s the lashing out that is the problem, I think. The intent to hurt another person in whatever way that is available. That’s my 2 cents.

  20. Being a Fat Bitch myself in that particular situation I would have asked XUP Jr. to put the plates down on the table and helped her clean up. Just because people are fat does not make them rude, it may add to it in the form of a lovely young slender girl sets off their lack of self-esteem issues, but that is no excuse to throw their shit at other people. I am going to have to teach X.J. the art of the cleverly played trip with a full pitcher of water in hand…I have only done it with beer and mixed drinks…but it will work either way. Fuck rude people of all size and shapes.

  21. My pet peeve are people at the fast food outlets, standing in front of a long line and asking the poor guy taking orders to tell them about the specials.

    “Okay, if I take the special, I get a burger, fries, and a medium soft drink for 10 dollars. Is that right?”


    “How much is the burger alone? And How much if I order the burger and fries only? Or how about if it was the burger and drink only? Or just the drink? I just want to make sure that the special really is worth it.”

  22. Poor XUP Jr, that’s horrible!

    I have kids and I do my very best to keep them behaving well in stores. Sure they sometimes have meltdowns and that totally sucks but those kids don’t bother me as much as the wild ones. I can’t stand when I see kids climbing, running, or touching everything in a store.

    You didn’t mention don’t take a full cart of groceries through the express check out! I hate when people do that.

  23. I worked as a nurse for years. I’ve never met a group of people more obnoxious and rude than doctors. Had to work with them every day. I think I cried a few times too. Oh, the egos. Those 4 ladies sound like they were on day leave from a mental hospital.

  24. Honestly Canadians need to come to Korea to learn about customer service. I’ve said it before on my blog (here and here) that Korea really knows how to treat the customer right.

  25. @Lone Grey Squirrel

    How about the Burger-Tards, who have had ten minutes of waiting in line to study the menu, to figure out what they want.

    And when it’s finally their turn, they blank out, and just stand there:

    “Uhhh….I’ll have….uhhh…a burger. No, wait! Make that…uhhhh, a cheesburger. Uhhh…with (do I want fries?)….Uhhhhhh…Can I have it with no onions….uhhhhhh….

  26. I ventured into the mall yesterday. It is literally a once a year experience for me.

    My big thing advice for parents of young children.

    Shop with a partner or an understanding friend who also has young children. If your kids are getting out of control (kinda unavoidable when shopping for 6 prs of school shoes for 3 young children at the same time) your partner or friend can usher them out of the store while you stand in line to pay. Then you can do the same favour for them.

    Other advice – if it is avoidable, do not shop with the kids along! Really, my kids don’t get a choice about their clothes until it really matters (preteens need some autonomy with their clothes and I don’t want a 10 year old shopping as entertainment with friends, so we make a date for these things – just the two of us). Stores are so overwelming for younger kids. Leave them at home!

  27. Hi Xup!

    It’s a major pet peeve of mine when I see folks shopping with young kids. Not necessity shopping (i.e. groceries) – I realize sometimes we need to bring the kids because there is no one else to care for them. It’s the “fun”, non-necessity shopping (perusing the aisles at Winners for the latest and greatest) that I don’t like. I have tried this and it doesn’t work. Kids are not interested in adult fashions. It is unreasonable to expect them to sit idly while their parents poke around for deals for themselves. It also drives me nuts when kids are yelled at etc. for not being perfectly behaved during this shopping time. We were all kids once, remember the AGONY of shopping? Not fun. We tried outlet shopping on our vacation with the kids and it didn’t work. We pulled the plug and left.

    A friend of mine gives her kids a ring pop to suck on when she has to bring them grocery shopping. They never ask her for anything, they are so content/focused on the ring pop. Bad parenting or stroke of genius? Discuss.

  28. @Meanie

    You bring up a good point about “necessary” and “fun” activiites.

    The same goes for restaurants.

    There’s “necessary” eating out (fast-food, or something quick because the kids are miserable and hungry and really need to eat..NOW!)

    And there’s “fun” eating out. When a group of parents decide they want to go out for Sunday sit-down Breakfast.

    And they come in, arrange the high-chairs, and sit around the table while 3-4 screaming toddlers hold court.

    Folks..I know you like to eat out.

    But your kids DON’T (unless it’s McD’s)

    The LAST thing your darling urchins want to do at 10:30 AM, is sit still for 90 minutes talk in their “indoor voice”.

    You might think you’ve having a good time, but in the process, you’re ruining it for the other 25 customers trying to enjoy a quiet meal.

    Just STAY home…

    Or go to McD’s..and let them burn off their energy in the Ronald-Land Hamster-Maze.

  29. I have to side with the parents here and I *detest* screaming kids in restaurants; anywhere, for that matter. If I had kids I would not want to bring them clothes shopping with me or to a restaurant (I hate shopping as it is). I’d be embarrassed if my kid caused a disturbance. I’m sure most parents, as much as they love their kids, need a break from them. However, I don’t believe it’s always possible for parents to get out without their kids; otherwise, dontcha think they might? 🙂 Geez.

  30. Hmm.. but some times ‘large ladies’ are the customer service. “You bought the stupid little machine we make?hehehehe. Now it doesn’t work?Serves you right!!!”

  31. Heh, heh… Two scenarios that prevent parents from leaving their kiddies at home with a babysitter:

    1. The babysitter had to cancel at the last minute due to a squirrel emergency at their mother’s house.

    2. The whole family is taking little Mikey to the Theme Park. Since they live in the boonies and the nearest restaurant is a half hour from home, what’s the point of leaving little Mikey with the babysitter, only to have to drive back home to retrieve him from the babysitter’s loving arms and then on to the Theme Park. Nope. Might as well suck it up and tote him to the restaurant. 🙂

  32. Another option:

    3. The parents raise their children with boundaries and rules, so that by the time Little Mikey is old enough to go to a restaurant, he can actually behave in a semi-civilized fashion.

    Like XUP say…it IS possible.

  33. I agree, and in an ideal world that would be awesome! Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and if certain people have issues and can’t deal with kids in restaurants maybe THEY should stay home 8) Cause, if it’s not the kids in the restaurant to bitch about it’ll be the traffic on the way to the restaurant. If not that, it will be how some A-hole parked in the parking lot. If not that, it will be the 80-year old who blocked the door in the lobby while digging through their purse for spare change.

  34. at the risk of seeming like i’m self-promoting, i did write something about the perils of taking kids to the restaurant ( we actually punished them by not taking them to a restaurant for quite a few months, reminding them constantly why we never go out for dinner as a family. i have to say they are quite well behaved at restaurants now.

    shopping is another story….

  35. Davina – True. We pick on a person’s most vulnerable area when trying to hurt them — physically or mentally.

    Cedar – Yes, I said exactly the same thing to Lebowski — rude comes in all shapes and sizes. I think we have to let the child grow up and have her experiences good and bad. We can’t protect her from everything forever….unfortunately.

    LGS – The special in a fast food place is almost never worth it. They should post that on their menu board. Sure it costs less than if you bought each of those items separately, but chances are you probably don’t really want each of those items. It would be a simple thing if they just put a little sticker next to the special that said “save 13 cents” or something. Save everyone a lot of time.

    Betsy Mae – As I said to Lynn – kids will be kids. We don’t expect them to enjoy shopping. Of course they’re going to grumble and complain and act out. But there’s a limit. It’s obvious which are the kids that are just being normal bored kids and which kids have no boundaries or control on them —the ones racing through the aisles pushing stuff over, screaming, running into people, playing with everything. And, now that you mention it, I haven’t really seen a lot of people with too many items in the express lane lately. There was one a little while ago, who had a whole weeks’ worth of groceries in the express lane and pretended not to speak English when people kept telling her she needed to go to a different check-out. She just kept piling her stuff on the counter.

    Linda – Now you’re giving mental patients a bad name. Some of them are very sweet and wouldn’t be so cruel to another person. These women sounded more like they were on a weekend prison release.

    Friar – Maybe it’s some sort of form of performance anxiety? All this stuff when people seem to forget why they’re in the place they are at that moment? “My order? Huh? Where am I? How did I get here? What are fries? Do I want a burger? Will I need money? Where is my wallet? Did I bring my wallet? Do I have enough nickels and pennies to pay the bill? What’s my PIN? How do you work this INTERAC machine thing? Did I come in with anyone? Are those kids mine? I don’t recognize them so I’d better ignore them. They sure are loud. I hope they’re not mine.”

    Mudmama – I don’t remember my mother ever being insane enough to go shopping with all 5 kids. If some of them had to come along, I had to be there too, to keep them out of trouble while my mum shopped.

    Meanie – I always took my one, single solitary child with me. She liked going to restaurants and behaved and she always liked shopping as long as we were shopping for her. We’d take turns spending a few minutes in the grown up section and then a few minutes in the kids’ section. As long as she knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel and the tunnel wasn’t too long, she was okay “heloping” me pick out a few items.

    Davina/Friar – I’m sure there are many reasons why parents need to take their kids along If you’re shopping at Walmart you probably can’t afford $40 for an afternoon of babysitting since that might be your wardrobe budget for the season. And frankly, I think it sort of behooves parents to teach their kids how to behave it public. That’s not something they’re going to learn one day when they’re 14 –that’s something that’s an ongoing training thing. Like I said, I took mine along all the time and I’ve never heard that screeching sound come out of her — just once when she fell and broke her arm – but that didn’t count. She never threw herself on the floor crying, demanding stuff. She never ran around a restaurant or store. I made sure she was fed properly and well-rested before we ventured into a morning of shopping and she knew that going to a restaurant was a special treat that she would only get if she behaved. But I was lucky since mine was never a wild kid anyway, so it was all pretty easy for me. I know it’s a lot tougher to get boys to be calm and sit still and even a lot of girls just aren’t made with indoor voices. The problem kids from what I’ve seen, usually fall into 2 categories. The ones with parents who’ve fed their kids donuts and cokes before going to the store and spend the entire time yelling at them while they’re out. The second category are the parents who think their kids need to “express themselves” and just let them run wild without any boundaries or restrictions so they don’t “stifle their creativity”. So they ignore them until there’s a complete meltdown. Then they’re the ones you see sitting on the floor next to their kid having a temper tantrum trying to talk calmly to them and reason with them.

    Ramble -Personal experience?

    Meanie – Promote away. I remember that post. And good for you for putting your foot down and not treating them to a restaurant until they could maintain a little self-control. Like I said, I think it’s good for kids to learn that they can’t run amok everywhere.

  36. XUP… the parents who think their kids need to “express themselves”. Yep. I think they give other parents a bad name and other kids see what their kids are doing and get ideas from it.

    There are some kids who are just plain brats despite any parent’s efforts to teach them how to behave; I suppose over time the kids come to learn. I’m not an expert on child rearing, but I did help raise my brother and it sure doesn’t happen over night.

    My downstairs neighbour, for example, has two young boys. The youngest just turned two. He went through a period where he practiced that high-pitched screeching. I know for a fact that she is trying to bring her boys up right, but this kid was obviously going through a phase. I rarely hear that screeching now; thank God!

    When I’m dining out and wanting to strangle someone’s bratty kid at the next table, (once I stop scowling), I count my blessings that I get to go home to my own private haven where I only have to take care of myself. 🙂

  37. One suggestion:

    Even if you can scam your way to some free benefit, consider not doing so. Often, customers can bully managers into giving them special favours, even when they have no genuine basis for complaint. This tends to annoy the staff, not to mention other customers who were more courteous and yet did not receive the benefit you did.

    Examples include inappropriate warranty claims, demanding preferential treatment, etc.

  38. Davina – I really don’t think brats are born brats. Sure, some kids have personalities that are a little more difficult and parents can never be perfect, but I think we’ve pretty much established that the nature/nuture thing isn’t exactly 50/50.

    Milan – Ya, you can get greased if you’re a squeaky wheel, but nobody likes a greasy wheel.

    Loth – I don’t know…that’s a lot of reading. She’s not a big fan of a lot of reading. But they are pretty funny.

    Grouchy – I know, eh? She ought to be horsewhipped.

  39. my first instinct after i read about the things they said to xup jr. was to track them down and punch them really hard in the face. that was WAY OVER the top. good lord.

    i agree with your list and agree that “everyone will be happy and peace will rein throughout the universe and there will be no more poverty, famine, natural disasters or right-wing crazy people. ” if it’s put into circulation.

    lastly, i think it’s imperative that all people have at least one customer service job in order to become more well rounded and maybe not be dicks to the people that do have those jobs.