Why Do We Continue to Pay For Terrible Customer Service?

Last week Michelle made a comment on Twitter about all the problems she’s been encountering with trying to plan her upcoming nuptials. I totally sympathized with her having gone through the same experiences myself a few years ago. The wedding industry is in a league of its own in terms of shitty customer service. I have never in my life dealt with so many rude, incompetent and outright belligerent people. Don’t get me wrong, I also had a few amazing vendors who I still hold in high regards, but there didn’t seem to be a middle ground with this specific industry. It seemed people either loved their job, and their customers or really hated it and loathed every day they woke up and went to work. I don’t get it!

Why do we tolerate it? Why as customers do we continue to hand over our hard-earned money to morons who treat us like crap, ignore us, are rude…I just don’t get it. There were a few vendors at our wedding who were beyond rude. Sure they did the job but they were not at all pleasant to deal with. In some cases I probably could have found another vendor, in other cases probably would have been difficult. I had the option in some cases, yet I allowed my money to continue to fund the crappy service.

My husband will occasionally get a coffee on the way to work, there are probably 10 options between our house and his work yet when he stops he always goes to the same location with the same  rude bitch who serves him in the drivethru. At first he thought maybe he’d caught her on a bad day so brushed it off but time and time again, despite his efforts (tipping, being overly nice, paying for other people’s coffee in line) he can’t seem to break her attitude yet even just this week he went to the same location dealing with her nasty attitude in the morning.

I have to wonder if we have a desire to punish ourselves.

Sure a bitchy coffee server isn’t a bug deal but I think we can all agree that if we can get the exact same product minus the attitude (and maybe the addition of a smile) would be nice at 8am.

I’m normally the kind of person who outright does not deal with shitty customer service. I’ve worked with the public for 15 years in many different regards (fast food, cashier, healthcare) and have pretty high expectations. I can tell the difference between having a bad day and just sucking at your job. Yet, sometimes I find myself in these crappy customer service situations and sometimes, not often though, I just let it be. Allowing the next person to be victimized.

If we collectively agreed to just stop the bad customer service (don’t pay for bad service, put in complaints with management, no tipping for bad service) the world, and I, would be much happier.

Bonus: Funny bad customer service story: My husband and some family members were eating lunch at a restaurant when we were on vacation this summer (in Boston). Apparently the service and food was appalling, they were all sort of blown away at how bad it was. When their bills came, my husband’s cousin signed for his credit card and under the ”tip” section of the receipt he put ( -$1 ) and confirmed on his credit card they subtracted the dollar. 

Enjoy Plunged in Debt?


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  1. I went to Home Depot to get paint the other day and the guy who worked behind the paint counter literally sighed outloud and rolled his eyes when I told him how much paint and what colors I needed.

  2. LOL, funny about your hubby’s cousin. 🙂 I’m like you in that way, Catherine. We don’t tolerate lousy service. If we encounter crummy service, we choose to go somewhere else in the future. Sometimes it’s a bit of an inconvenience, but I just can’t give our hard-earned dough to people who don’t appreciate it.

  3. I don’t have the patience for poor service, either. It’s not that I have a high level of expectation (I don’t think), but I *do* try to be polite and friendly and since I was raised in the American South, saying “yes ma’am,” “no sir,” “please” and “thank you” are just knee-jerk reactions from me. So it really rubs me the wrong way when I act like a decent person and still deal with super rude people or get snapped at by someone in a customer service position. For some reason, it always seems to happen to us with restaurant hostesses (not servers!) more than any other person.. I have no idea why it’s always that particular position!

  4. I just don’t deal with bad customer service. If I get it once, then I won’t be back. I talk and walk with my money. If you suck or are an ass, then you won’t see me coming back. That is the only way we can really make a change.

  5. In today’s economy you’d think that trades people would jump at the opportunity to have a service call, a construction project etc. I can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve called a place to offer work and they never bother to call back, or they won’t tell you when they are coming etc. If I were in business, I’d always answer my phone or at least call back the same day I received a request for service. They must not need jobs that badly.

  6. I think the negative tip was taking it a bit too far. But that’s just me. I wonder if it got the point across (probably not) or just made the person even more grouchy for later customer. But I digress.

    • I hate bad service too!

      This story sounds eerily familiar…..was this cousin my hubby? That day he and another cousin went for lunch and because they “knew” the larger table cousins that had been served ahead of them , they lumped them in wth them and charged them a group gratuity of 18%! They weren’t even sitting at the same table ! Service was horrendous so he subtracted a dollar from the automatic gratuity they had added to the bill 🙂 If it were me, I would have demanded a new bill without the gratuity at all!

      Recently there was a news story here in Calgary suggesting gratuity should be 20% because wages are higher here…huh? What does good service have to do with the labour market and the socio economic status of patrons? Raise minimum wage perhaps, but I don’t want to be forced to tip 20% when service is poor!

  7. I’ve been having much better luck with customer service lately. It seems like everyone that I’m contacting to now is super nice. Thank god because I was about to go nuts.

  8. I do NOT tolerate bad customer service. I’m lucky in that I usually receive great service. But, when I receive bad service I speak to the manager and let them know. I work way too hard for my money to be treated like crap when I go out for a treat. Now that I’m hunkering down and paying off debt I don’t do things as often so I really am excited when I go out. If I’m treated badly that would really be upsetting. Again, I usually get treated really well. So, I don’t worry about this.

  9. I refuse to be treated like crap in general. I always try to be nice to the people I may encounter, and when people can’t act decently I take my money elsewhere. I definitely wouldn’t be going back to that coffee place if I were your husband, but I also like to avoid unconformable situations like that. I work with the public and get yelled at, but I try not to let that jade me. People still deserve politeness.

  10. One of the worst customer service experience I had was with Social Security Office. When I called, they picked up and sighed. No greeting, no nothing. And she wouldn’t help me and basically sounded irritated the whole time. When I asked for her manager, she hung up on me. Of course, calling back the number didn’t work since I was put on hold and she never told me her name from the beginning when I repeatedly asked. I was so pissed!!! Her salary literally comes from tax money.

  11. YOur husband should really look up the website of the store and contact management. they need to know about crummy service. or he could leave a comment on yelp. i always write good reviews when i get good service and i always let people know when it’s just THAT bad

  12. Every time I go to the local Walmart, I walk away stressed and usually upset from terrible service. I resolved not to go back for 2014. We don’t have any other stores of this nature aside from the grocery without driving for an hour. I signed up for Amazon Prime and so far have kept my word. The UPS driver is very nice and it’s so much more pleasant than dealing with Walmart.


  1. […] All of my complaining even led to Catherine publishing an article on her website about her similar views of the wedding industry and why people pay for bad […]

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