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Civility

Lately I've been reading too many stories of raging customers asking questions like "do you know who I am?!" ...all these poor people out there with amnesia... No wonder there are so many grumpy, cynical and demoralized service workers about.

But it can't be all entitled knuckledraggers out there, even in a city like Toronto with the ubiquitous Mayor MacCheese and the entire Ford family.

Please share your stories of great customer service and human exchange. It can't all be crazy angry selfish oafishness out there!

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  1. Unfortunately, I can't recount any specific stories. It's rare that I experience less than acceptable service. Nor have I ever witnessed a customer tirade such as you suggest you've regularly read about. Maybe where I am we just have fewer arsewipes than where you are. Or, at least, less vocal arsewipes.

    I suspect that, like most employers everywhere in any industry, they are more grumpy, cynical and demoralised because of actions and attitudes from their employer than from customers. Solution is for employers to respect and support their employees. Simple, good management.

    1. along with "do you know who I am"...

      Many years ago I was supposed to be on a flight that was cancelled due to bad weather at our destination.

      This was in the days before cellphones and instant rebooking...so the only way to get a hotel voucher and a new booking was to stand in line.

      The desk attendants were already at the end of their shift, but pressed into overtime to handle the mess...and they were taking no end of grief from the passengers (as though they could control the weather...)

      A corporate blowhard shoved his way to the front of the line and cut into the line. The clerk asked him nicely to take his place at the end of the line (several times), but he was having none of it.

      He finally slapped his palm down onto the counter and bellowed "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?"

      Wonderful soul that she was, picked up the intercom and made the announcement that would the persons traveling with the upset gentleman at the counter please come to his assistance, as he apparently has no idea who he is.

      Dead silence, then applause as he turned crimson, gulping like a goldfish, and stormed to the end of the line.

      8 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        I've heard that,or similar, stories before but always as a "friend of a friend" urban myth. Good to hear it from someone who actually witnessed it.

        1. re: sunshine842

          The story is supposed to end with the corporate blowhard yelling at the gate agent, "Well f%&# you !!!"
          And her response? "Even for that, sir, you'll have to wait in line."

            1. re: sunshine842

              He is referring to the very famous urban legend airline passenger story that is the same as yours, it's the next to the last story on the page:
              http://www.snopes.com/travel/airline/...

              The story usually ends with the "you'll have to wait in line for that too"....

              1. re: sedimental

                Yeah, I've heard & read that one a few too many times.

                1. re: sedimental

                  Yes, they must teach that at Airport Gate Keeping 101.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    I'm quite aware of that.

                    I was pointing out that I indeed saw it in real life, but the real-life version didn't end with the final epithet.

                    I also mentioned that this happened before smartphones...it happened before widespread internet, too.

            2. had driven to central Ohio for a New Years Eve wedding and arrived as a blizzard began. I just followed the tail lights of the semi-truck in front of me and hoped I wouldn't become one of the dozens of cars stranded in snow banks. Fortunately my hotel was at the foot of the exit and I arrived safely.

              The next morning I opened the door to snow mid-thigh high. The parking lot had not been plowed. Even the interstate was silent. The hotel clerk was unconcerned, unhelpful and useless about the situation. I spotted a Denny's a block away - the only place which appeared open. I layered every stitch of clothing I had and started to trudge my way there.

              Minutes before I arrived the sign turned off and the restaurant went dark. I knocked on the locked door anyhow and a kindly waitress opened up. They had closed since the next shift could not safely arrive due to road closures.

              Once I explained my situation and said I was happy to buy any leftover breakfast meats, biscuits, pie, etc. and whatever coffee was still available she told me to have a seat.

              10 minutes later they sent me back with a thermos carafe (to be returned later) of fresh coffee, bags of biscuits, toast & muffins, 1/3rd of a chocolate pie, crackers and cheese, apples and bananas. They also gave me packets of half and half,sugar, mayo, mustard, butter and jam, a box of bacon, ham, and sausage and another box of just made scrambled eggs. Plenty of disposable cutlery too!

              They wouldn't take a cent.

              Their generosity really made my snowed in stay a much more pleasant experience. A cold scrambled egg and ham sandwich can be a pretty delicious thing!

              1 Reply
              1. re: meatn3

                A blonde got lost in her car in a terrible snow storm. She remembered what her dad had once told her, "If you ever get stuck in a snow storm, wait for a snow plow and follow it."

                Pretty soon a snow plow came by, and she started to follow it. She followed the plow for about forty-five minutes. Finally, the driver of the snowplow got out and asked her, "What are you doing?" She explained, "My Dad told me, 'if you ever get stuck in a snowstorm , follow a snow plow.'" The driver nodded and said: "Well, I'm done with the Wal-Mart parking lot. Want to follow me over to K-Mart?"

              2. It's because many more people complain then praise. Even on this site the posts that recount positive experiences with good food rarely get more than a handful of replies, if they even get that.

                However post about a negative experience and watch it go viral with dozens and dozens of replies. Most them will be trying to one-up the others with more stories of bad service.

                Post something negative about a board darling and the same will happen while positive ones usually get no more than few thumbs up, plus ones and thats it.

                Human nature is what it is.

                I for one have never personally experienced "Do you know who I am?". I have witnessed it on the news, usually from local celebs and their off spring, but thats it. All of my many dealing with celebs (I lived/worked in a popular celeb destination) have never been less than pleasant.

                Probably the most negative experience was when the has-been tv star wife of a then huge movie/tv star dragged the kids in at around 9:00pm screaming that he needed to go home NOW. He graciously paid the bill and left the four just opened $300+ bottles of wine for the staff, all while quietly apologizing for her outburst

                1. At Dan Tana's in West Hollywood, an actor walked in with his entourage and demanded a table. Told there would be a two hour wait, he thundered "Do you know who I am? I'm John Travolta!" 'Oh!' said the head waiter, suitably impressed, 'For you, Mr. Travolta, the wait will be *three* hours.'

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: mwhitmore

                    I have met him a number of times and chatted with him at length. This is completely out of character - he is very down to earth and treats service people very well.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        If Alec Baldwin is swapped in for Travolta, does that make it funnier? I am sure he has a sweet side too, though.

                        1. re: tcamp

                          I simply believe in speaking up if I feel inaccurate things are being said about a person. I know dozens of people who have interacted with this man over several decades and the one thing always commented on is how unbelievably nice he is. Never a hint of self entitlement.

                          1. re: meatn3

                            Hey, I didn't buy it about Travolta anyway :) Plus does anyone that famous actually say "do you know who I am????". It's Travolta. He knows we know! It would be a better story with a more arrogant, less well liked, less recognizable celebrity swapped in.

                            Basically, I vote for a complete revamp of this story ;)