It’s 2014 and the customer is always wrong 69



View Profile

As I was scrolling through my newsfeed yesterday, I came across a Facebook post that some of my friends had liked. It was posted by a cafe in my hometown of Redcliffe QLD, and was a screenshot of a customer complaint. Now, this is not the first post of its type – in fact there have been many cafes and restaurants involved in viral posts on social media this year – but it was the first post I had seen that was in reference to a place I had actually visited.

The owner/operator of the cafe was clearly feeling stressed and annoyed after a busy Sunday running his independent cafe. He’d had a run in with a customer that day and wanted to vent his frustrations about what looks to be a Facebook inbox message. You can see this message below:

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 8.19.15 am

It’s up to you to decide whether or not this is appropriate behaviour, but in my opinion I think it could have been dealt with a lot more professionally, i.e. not calling a customer a wanker. Common sense tells you that you should just thank them for the feedback and move along, but that was not the case.

The owner eventually addressed some concerns by saying that there was more to the story: “This gentleman was very rude to two of our young female staff members…His version was exaggerated and missing details. We take pride in the quality of our product and service. And didn’t appreciate his negative comments on our social media pages. We were simply trying to show that this behaviour is not tolerated. The choice of words may not have been politically correct although it was accurate as to how he was behaving”. Despite posting the exchange boastfully on their own Facebook page, the owner Vince claimed he did not mean for it to have gotten so out of hand. A picture of a coffee with a penis in the crema further added insult to injury and no doubt made the customer humiliated as his full name was mentioned several times throughout the post. Regardless if he treated staff poorly himself, two wrongs don’t make a right. 

This post and the many we see on social media seem to be breeding a new trend of “the customer is always wrong”. How often have you been to a store, restaurant or cafe and felt like you were a second class citizen? As if you had rudely interrupted the clerk from picking their nails or using their phone? It is only happening more and more frequently and rude owners are only making their staff follow their lead.

What happened to the days when you received service with a smile? Where the person who served you was happy to help you with anything you needed? Now they just roll their eyes – you’re lucky to get a ‘how are you?’ or even a smile. I remember serving customers at a busy cafe when I was younger and I was almost too nice! We wouldn’t have got away with anything less, but now it feels like if you make a fair complaint about bad service that you will be thrown to the dogs.

It makes you wonder how this cafe above can call a customer a wanker at a time when we see cafes closing left, right and centre. Local businesses are typically doing it tough, so one does have to wonder how this unprofessional dealing will affect business over the holiday period.


What do you think about this cafe’s response, and customer service in general nowadays? Is it on the decline or is this an isolated incident? Tell us your thoughts below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I’ve been both a customer and cafe staff. Can see both sides. Customers can be rude, impatient and critical. If staff are busy, then things take longer. Go to macas if you’re in a hurry, and believe me, you wait for your coffee there too. I’ve also been a pleasant, patient customer and been ignored and had staff be rude. We’re all human. Just everyone be nice.

  2. I work in a busy cafe too and have to put up with rude customers , our policy is smile and always return service the way you would like to be treated . Sometimes it is very hard but it pays off in the end.

  3. This was poor on behalf of the café – yes the customer may have been rude which I know can and does happen and that can make your blood boil but it is no excuse for what was written in reply to the complaint. You chose a profession that has to deal with all types of customer learn to take a deep breath and not sink to their level. It would certainly make me want to give the café a miss if customer relations are that bad.

  4. Everyone has a bad day .even the staff .from experience staff are not proud of being human and loosing it .everyone just look at the person and see past the bad behavior.if they are just busy that day !be thsnkful you aren’t on the receiving end of the flack

    2 REPLY
  5. The only comments I will give is that it takes less energy to be nice than nasty. If unsatisfied with the service then walk away. When there are no more customers the owner will not even think he and his staff were in anyway to blame and will call it an “economic downturn”.

  6. I haven’t been to this place however if I am not satisfied with the service or the food I speak to the manager not write it on Facebook. My only complaint if ever is the coffee isn’t hit enough, but now I always ask for extra hot and have no problems. We have lovely coffee lounges here in Maryborough and very happy with them all. Food and service.

    2 REPLY
  7. If you complain and then refuse to accept the apology ( in this case new coffee) then shame on you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *