I recently watched an episode of Louis that I can’t stop thinking about. The show is fictional, but I have the feeling it’s grounded in reality.
In the opening scene, which you can watch at the bottom of this article, Louis is shopping at a home and garden store. That is, he’s trying to shop there. He’s looking at some expensive copper pots, and as he tries to get an employee’s attention, she ignores him and walks by.
He finally gets her attention to let her know he’d like to get a closer look at the pots, and she dismisses the idea, at first saying they’re for “very serious cooks” and then saying that she’s locking up the store soon.
Basically, she offers him terrible customer service. Like, objectively terrible.
At checkout, Louis mentions that he probably would have spent thousands of dollars on the pots (apparently copper pots are expensive in New York!). It’s here that the same employee (who is revealed to be the owner) justifies her dismissal by saying, “Because, frankly, most of our clientele are younger. And they’re serious about cooking. Our customers come here to find the best, not because they want their ego stroked by a young Asian clerk.” Four insults, all in a row.
The clerk/owner goes on to say, “The whole ‘customer is always right’ approach is kind of old school,” which begins a ridiculous speech about how young people are the future (and old people “don’t belong in it”).
I really hope this entire encounter was fictional, because it’s one of the worst examples of customer service I’ve ever seen. The only part about her speech that resonates with me is the “customer is always right” part. I believe that the customer is always respected (in truth, customers are wrong all the time).
But the rest of it? It’s not just bad–and insulting–customer service. It’s bad business. Why would the owner ignore a customer who has chosen to go into her store to buy things and then insult that customer? Louis wasn’t being aggressive or mean–he just wanted to buy some pots, and she dismissed him because he’s older than a typical customer.
I’m not really sure why a fictional speech has gotten under my skin like this. I think part of it is that Louis’ writing is so good that it feels like a real scenario. And if it didn’t happen to Louis, it’s happened somewhere.
Do people watch this scene and root for the clerk? That’s essentially how the scene is written (and Salon seems to agree). But for me, I can’t believe that someone would offer customer service that bad and refuse to see it. If that clerk/owner is our champion of customer service in the future, I’m seriously worried.
What do you think? Does this scene draw your ire too?