Although we may serve you, we are not your servants
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Thursday, April 12, 2018
By Kelly L. Sherlock
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Let’s say you work in an office as a data entry clerk. And let’s say you are sitting at your desk entering data just as you are paid to do and your boss comes over out of no where and starts cursing at you and threatening you.  No matter the reason, would you stay at that job and better yet, would you have a case against your boss for harassment or misconduct? And what if you recorded it and it got out on social media? I tend to believe that the posts on Facebook would create quite an issue for this boss and his business would suffer tremendously, especially if he is male and you are female.  So if that is the case, which we all know it is, why is it okay to speak to servers in a restaurant, police officers, bartenders or anyone that works in the service industry like they are crap?

My definition of the service industry is quite literally anyone who deals with the public providing a service and included in the cluster of job titles that fit that description is anyone who works in the wedding industry!  Not every career path in life puts you in the direct line of communication with the public. But when it does, you not only report to the boss of your company, but the public, in essence, becomes your boss as well. On the daily, we are “on” and we are face to face with our clients (or our boss as it were) consistently working to make them happy with whatever we are selling that they are buying. For me, I would not have it any other way. 

I worked my way through college waiting tables. Even as an adult, I went back to that faithful job to support myself between career paths and while I started my wedding planning business. I have always been involved in the service industry to some degree.  I always thought it was a bit one-sided that the public was able to basically chew you up and spit you out yet you could not do anything to take up for yourself because “the costumer is always right”. But recently, no matter where I go, I find more and more disrespect at the hands of the consumer and watch these poor employees stand idle as they are threatened and verbally beat down by entitled assholes who would 1000% sue the pants off of anyone coming into their work place acting in the same way.

For me to explain why people think this is acceptable behavior, would take much more time, energy and text than this poor blog has to offer, but I can tell you that what I witnessed something a few weeks ago that has my mind reeling with topics that will soon be coming to Kandidly Social.   For now, let’s just start with this one incident, which proves my point perfectly, although I could name about 10 other examples of similar things I have seen outside of our industry.

A few weeks ago I had a wedding. My wedding and my clients were perfect, of course!  But there was another wedding going at another venue down the street. I had gone to get something out of my car in the middle of the reception and I came upon the team at said venue being completely belittled, antagonized and bullied by a guest that was attending the wedding at their venue. He was drunk, although I believe he was more than just drunk, so the venue had the bartenders cut him off and he started yelling at the bartender calling him derogatory names and cursing him out. I am not really sure why his race and assumed sexual preferences came into play or how this guest knew this bartender’s bedroom behavior, but apparently it is totally acceptable to speak out of turn on such things just because you are cut off from drinking (I just wanted you to get an idea of how low this guest was hitting below the preverbal belt).

At any rate, security for the venue escorted him out and he proceeded to jump around the street charging at the venue employees and the security officers calling them names that I could not even stand to hear let alone repeat. This went on for almost thirty minutes. He was in the face of the two security officers screaming profanities and being so vile that the surrounding businesses came outside with just the slightest glimmer of hope that maybe this guy would “fall” into them making it okay for them to kick his ass! The cops eventually came and he left the premises. 

Now this is just one example, but the groom from this wedding was outside and witnessed the entire episode and I heard him yelling at the venue staff because he felt that they were wrong for mistreating his friend. So I ask you, how far does the “costumer is always right” go before you pull the plug on clients that are putting your staff and business at risk?  Why is it that there are expectations on behalf of how the customer should be treated but there is no protection or expectation of how the business and its employees should be treated? If a bartender spoke to a guest that way that business would be closing its doors before the week’s end and we would have to endure seventy different versions and videos of the incident. But when it is a customer to an employee, we cannot expect so much as an apology.

So the short of this long story is:  How do you teach the overly sensitive, entitled youth the difference between good customer service/ patience and self respect and teach the consumer the difference between realistic expectations and the appropriate way complain when not getting what they are paying for?

It is my stance that once language becomes foul and you get heated with me, I pull the plug. The obvious rule of thumb is that you should treat people the way that you would want to be treated. But beyond that, take your self out of the setting you are in and put yourself in an office setting. Would it be reasonable to have your boss or even a random crazy person off the street run into your office threatening you and talking about your sexuality? NO! So why would it be okay in any setting at all? Just know this; paying for a service or a product sold by someone does not mean you own that person. Renting a room or a venue does not mean you own the place and have the right to do whatever you want – right or wrong. Everyone has guidelines and all things come with stipulations but above anything else, humans are not your property and no matter what you are paying or who you are, we do not need to respond to you when being cursed at, belittled, fondled, or harassed – and these things apply to male and female employees and male and female consumers. I will even say that we should not have to respond when you snap at us, but that might be my own personal pet peeve!

To all my business owners out there, protect your staff and your self. Your clients are not the only people that have the potential of being taken advantage of or mistreated. It is time for the public to know that just because someone does not work in an office from 9am to 5pm does not make their job any less professional and it sure the hell does not make them any less deserving of respect!


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