Serving fajitas hot is not a walk in the park. It’s rather like walking on eggshells, ‘cause an encounter with a customer can go sour anytime. And forget the mantra “The Customer Is Always Right.” Reality is a teeny tiny bit different.
The truth is, some customers are just too much. From ordering something that’s virtually non-existent and coming up with their own takes on the menu to plain yelling and calling corporate, this is the daily bread of food industry workers.
Thus, fed up with entitled customers, people on Twitter got together for this viral thread and shared their stories of working as food servers. Nobody said that accommodating serial a-holes for a living was meant to be easy, but nobody warned them it’s that damn hard, either.
Bored Panda reached out to a college student named Palmer, better known by his Twitter handle Decent Pigeon, whose tweet on delivering Grubhub to a problematic customer went viral with 374.2K likes as well as 58.7K retweets and comments. In addition to creating content for Twitter, Palmer has also worked for DoorDash and Grubhub for the past three years and he agreed to share what it was like.
“The funniest part of the industry is that when a customer is mad, they have (a couple of times) tried to degrade me based on my job title, the ‘service industry worker,’” Palmer told us. “It’s almost like I only do it on the side while I study in college to get another job.”
Palmer can’t wrap his head around the customers that degrade the industry they rely so heavily on. “I’ve encountered tons of amazing people in the industry, so why chalk it down to just their job title?” he continued. “Cliche, but people just need to learn to respect one another.”
This viral thread has shown Palmer that he is not alone, “and that I am not cursed with all the psychos of the industry.” He also said that none of the stories truly surprised him because “many customers in the service industry are extremely entitled and rude.”
It’s not the first, and let’s be real—probably not the last time we hear about entitled customers. Just take a look at our previous post on people sharing ridiculous demands from customers from hell or this post on customers acting like total jerks and getting shamed for it online. Such incidents are all too common, but there may be an underlying reason for it.
In fact, American consumer culture focuses a lot on making people feel special and people come to expect it. This article suggests that “They feel like they have a right to act however they want towards others until they’re appeased—which winds up isolating the consumer and shaping their view of the world as 'me against them.'”
This type of rude behavior is related to the entitlement mentality which basically screams “Me!” in most daily-life scenarios. Psychiatrists say it is manifested in an over-exaggerated sense of self-importance, lack of understanding of others, and unwillingness to compromise.
When it comes to the food service industry, bad customer behavior is usually associated with attitude problems and plain rudeness. But this research showed it’s much more sinister than that: “behaviors of entitled customers negatively impacted waitstaff employees.”
Moreover, “the participants in the study have reported 'physiological arousal, negative affect, burnout, and feelings of dehumanization as a result of dealing with these patrons.'” In these cases, sticking to the age-old mantra “the customer is always right” may make matters even worse.