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I Am A Customer And I Am Always Right, Sometimes!

I am a customer. That means I have a special right bestowed on me by God, the government, the Consumer Council and the army to demand certain indulgences from service providers.

Somewhere in some far away land possibly inhabited exclusively by customers they coined the phrase ‘The Customer Is Always Right’. This gives our type a certain measure of arrogance. We even have the temerity to claim knowledge of very complex things. You could be in a rocket shop to buy a rocket and you’d want to claim knowledge of what is on show even though the creations on show would have been a creation of very eminent scientists at NASA. Your science journey could have come to a screeching halt at Integrated Science at Form 3 but you’d still want to claim to be right merely because you are a customer.

There is a school of thought that this particular phrase was coined by a woman. Let me posit a disclaimer here, I do not subscribe to this. These disclaimers are very important because before you know it, a whole gender war could erupt courtesy of a very irresponsible columnist. Gender wars are a big deal in modern times. There are all sorts of NGOs which are specifically set up to deal with subjugating other genders like Women Against Rape, Women Against Irresponsible Columnists and Women Against Gender-Insensitive Columns. Before you know it you could be facing litigation which your Legal Aid subscription cannot cover. So the wise thing to do is to give such issues a wide berth and let your legal aid cover deal with your usual issues of delinquent rent payments, unpaid school fees and small stock theft. These three are like national pastimes and if you have not been brought to court for one of them there’s probably a warrant of arrest for you for not honouring court appearances.

One of the most difficult jobs must be dealing with customer queries, expectations and issues. A few days ago a customer was berating one of the local banks for not having shades around where people queue to access the ATM. Ok

because we are in the midst of a heat wave that is now also wreaking havoc on those COVID-19 thermometer readings at the shop entrances this makes perfect sense. That is until you realise that yet another bright customer will one day ask that there should be chairs for people to sit on as they queue. Then an even brighter customer will suggest that customers should be served bottled water as they spend more than half an hour queuing.

Now banks didn’t get where they are because they are run by dimwits. Why do you think we keep complaining about bank charges and yet we keep going back? In a somewhat sneaky demonstration of no good deed goes unpunished the banks will skillfully pass the cost of these developments to the customer.

Surprisingly at the epicentre of business (well, the unofficial one) somewhere in Block 3 industrial the ‘customer is always right’ mantra won’t always fly. Some of them treat you like you are a serious breach of store procedure.

Those who have had issues with products and services at these Oriental outlets know to hold their peace. Locals harbour a secret fear of Chinese mainly because they believe everyone from China has been through a martial arts school. They are quick to rubbish your query and as soon as you bring the police into the equation their English vocabulary tank empties faster than our fuel stations did a few months ago in fuel shortage season. They would act like they have taken out a restraining order against grammar, syntax, and semantics.

The police have wised up to these tricks, though, and know to push back in the lost vocabulary by flipping out the handcuffs. It, somehow always works. Credit must go to the Police College. Who would have thought that brandishing handcuffs can result in improved vocabulary? Most of us should claim back our school fees!

(For comments, feedback and insults email

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