This post is not really financial, it is more an open letter to the service industry and those who deal with the public, why do you feel it is so darn important to be right, when all you end up doing is alienating a paying customer? (surprisingly I have found an old post which is similar to this one).
The following is a situation that arose a few years ago at a local grocery store. The store offered a “child watching” service so that parents can go shopping without their kids, and the kids don’t have to get dragged around the store, which I think is a great differentiating service for a smaller grocery store. We had used the service before, and was doing most of our shopping at this store, and all seemed to be working quite well.
My wife went shopping, and the “play area” was pretty darn full, and my son who doesn’t deal with large groups of kids well (but we have warned the folks at the service about this, when we registered him with the service). My son got a little too excited, and there was an altercation about a train. There was a page for my wife to return to the play area.
The young lady who was in charge was explained quietly to my wife what transpired. While embarrassed, my wife, was not upset with this, and was about to collect my son, when the owner’s wife felt that she should come in and add her opinion.
This lady was a victim in this altercation (i.e. she was hit with a train hurled by my son). She felt she should publicly chastise my wife (in front of a group of parents and such) about how badly behaved my son was. She let my wife had it, and my wife slunk away with our son in tow (and left her basket of groceries as well).
While I understand that no one should have to deal with an irate child who hurls trains, there are better ways to deal with it, and ridiculing a regular customer is not (in my opinion) the way to do it. I have no doubt that the owner’s wife feels vindicated. The owner’s wife felt she was correct to ridicule my wife for her badly behaved child, but I must ask, was it worth it?
I went back to see how much we had spent at this grocery store, and it is not an insignificant amount of money, and it was well over 80% of our grocery purchases were there, however, we have decided to shop elsewhere now, since that is our only recourse (i.e. vote with our feet). Is this being childish? Possibly, however, I am the customer here and frankly I think the owner’s wife dealt with this in a less than appropriate manner.
Update: After a while, we relented on our boycott. We have since shopped at the store, but we have moved the majority of our shopping elsewhere. Some very interesting, and odd comments on the original work as well. Can you charge a 5 year old with assault?