The Customer Is Always Right – Except When They’re An Employee

, , , , , , | Right | June 24, 2019

(I am the front desk manager at a hotel, and I recently hired a new employee to work the front desk. He has only worked two three-hour training shifts so far but it is already obvious that he is not going to work out. While he seems to be learning our reservation system easily, the guy has zero customer service skills and is incapable of following even the simplest of directions. He needs to be guided by the hand like a child in everything he does, no matter how many times he has done it. I’ve already told my boss that if I don’t see any improvement at his next shift I am going to let him go and start holding new interviews. This is the afternoon after his second shift. I stop in at a fast food restaurant to get supper for my kids and me when I hear a commotion at the front. A group of young guys are making a scene and harassing the cashier. The ringleader of the group happens to be my new employee, still in his uniform and name tag.)

My New Employee: “Look, [gay slur], you may not realize how things work in the real world but the customer is always right! I told you I want a [burger from Competitor] and I don’t care if it’s not on your menu. You will figure out how to make one and you will sell me one!”

Fast Food Employee: “I’m sorry, but I can only punch in what is on the keypad. Like I told you, the closest thing we have is [Signature Burger], which has similar toppings, but we don’t carry the sauce they use. You could—“

My New Employee: “NO! We’ve been through this. You’re not going to make me look like an idiot in front of my friends! I know I’ve ordered this before. I’m not stupid. I know you can, so just shut up and do your job or get me someone else who can!”

Fast Food Employee: “Well… Okay, let me get my manager and maybe…”

My New Employee: “Holy f***! Really?! Just punch the f****** order in and make my burger happen! I know customer service! I know what it means to please your customer and do your job properly. Now, punch in the burger that I ordered; I know you have a button for it and I expect to be heavily discounted for all this trouble! God… you young people today. I would never hire someone like you at my company.”

(I’ve had enough, both because he’s holding up the line and making me wait, and also because I can’t believe I almost let someone with this kind of attitude serve my customers and work with my staff. The manager, who has been stuck at the drive-thru this whole time, finally has enough and comes over to deal with the situation, but I can’t help myself and step in.)

Me: “Hey, [My New Employee], so, uh, what kind of pull do you have exactly? What kind of authority does six hours of receptionist training give you in the ‘real world’?”

(He turns and looks at me as though he is going to say something when a look of recognition flashes on his face and he immediately goes pale.)

My New Employee: “Oh, uh, hey, [My Name], I was, um… trying to teach this guy about customer service just like you taught me. You made me understand how important it is and… uh… I’m trying to help him, you know? I really love my job and all, and I really need my job so uh…” *chuckles* “…yeah.”

Me: “Look, I don’t care what resolution the manager gives you here tonight, but you can drop off your uniform and name tag at my office tomorrow morning. I’m not going to have somebody with an attitude like yours serving my customers. Now, please, do us all a favor and go to [Competitor] to get your burger like any normal person would do and let the rest of us get our food so we can get on with our lives and pretend that you don’t exist.”

My New Employee: “Wait, why do I have to drop off my uniform? Do you guys, like, wash it for us?”

(Some people laugh, and his group of friends groan and start to leave.)

Me: “Really? Dude, you’re fired. When you go out in public with our uniform on, you are representing our company, and I will not have you making us look bad. Please go home and take those clothes, drop them off tomorrow, and don’t ever speak to me or come near our building again.”

My New Employee: *stands there quietly as he begins to realize what has just gone down and then starts to cry* “Oh, man. Oh, man! I can’t believe this! No!”

(I ended up getting the employee discount on my order, and I made sure to leave a nice tip for the young man that was getting yelled at. The guy did drop off his uniform and tried to ask for a second chance, which he didn’t get.)

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