how to be a sensitive customer

Customers are always right.

Hearing those words as a defense for treating other people badly makes me want to punch the person on the face. Yes, you have the right to complain. You have the right to be angry (especially if you paid a hefty sum). You even have the right to sue in some cases. But you DO NOT have the right to be rude. Actually, we NEVER have the right to be rude. And if you’re a normal human like me you know that’s a really hard thing to do. I myself am guilty of being bitchy towards certain people especially if I’m running low on patience and blood sugar but that doesn’t mean I’m okay with it. I instantly feel guilty afterwards even if I think the person deserved it and so much more (who are we to judge who deserves what anyway). My point is, we should stop being so self-absorbed thinking everyone else is created for our convenience and start being nicer and more sensitive to others.

I think it was last summer when my parents went to Manila for a check-up. Since I had nothing better to do, I was tasked to oversee our humble canteen. During those few days( four to be exact), I realized many things (how hard it is to earn money, how thankful I should be for my parents, how a pain running a business can be, no matter how small etc but those are for another post). What I’ll write about now are tips on how to be sensitive customers since all of us are one but not all of us have experienced being on the other end of the spectrum (i.e. the waiter, the nurse, the sales clerk). I’m not sure if these are applicable to all service industries but the things I’ll enumerate are based on my experience in running a carinderia . Make necessary adjustments depending on the situation.

Oh and I’ll write it in my native language because (1) I still need to study, my brain doesn’t want to do the translating at this time and (2) I have encountered some Filipinos with an irritating sense of entitlement jist because they think they speak English really well.

1. Huwag magbayad ng 50 peso bill kung 2 piso lang ang binili. Tindahan po kami hindi money changer. In the same way, huwag magbayad ng 1000 kung 25 pesos lang ang binili. Seryoso, napakahirap ng barya. Kung sa akin mo gagawin ito, paghihintayin kita ng matagal habang iniikot ko ang buong palengke at nagpapabarya. Talamak ito tuwing pasko kung kailan uso ang Christmas bonus at eleksyon kung kailan uso ang bilihan ng boto.

2. Magyabang ng nasa lugar. Huwag ipagsigawan ang kwentuhan tungkol sa planong lumipad ng Singapore o kung sang lupalop man ng mundo kung magrereklamo sa 125 pesos na babayaran lalong lalo na kung apat na kayong kumain with drinks. Seryoso, mukha kayong trying hard.

3. Ang isang lamesa ay para sa apat na katao. Ang iba ay mas mahaba at hanggang anim ang kasya. Parang awa niyo na, wag pagdikitin ang dalawang malaking lamesa kung lima lang naman kayong kakain lalo na kung lunch hour at dalawa lang sa inyo ang oorder. Sayang pa po ang kita namin sa mga customer na umalis dahil inangkin niyo ang lamesa.

4. Huwag pabago bago ng order. Alamin kung ano ang gusto. Kung sa kakainin pa lang ay di na makapagdesisyon, paano pa ang mga mas importanteng bagay sa buhay?

5. Huwag umorder ng paisa isa at magreklamo kapag hindi sabay sabay na duamting ang mga ito.

6. Extra ice, extra milk, extra plate, extra lahat. Bakit hindi na lang ho kayo mag extra order?

6. Don’t make me wait on you especially if I’m not getting a tip. This is a carinderia, not a restaurant.

7. Paki intindi po ang mga katagang “self-service”.

6. Pakiusap, huwag po sobrang dugyot dungis kumain na parang dinaanan ng tornado ang lamesa. Kaya po naimbento ang plato, kutsara at tinidor. Tayo po ay nasa ika-dalawanpu’t isang siglo na.

8. Sana po ay maging magalang kayo dahil kapwa po tayo tao. Maaari niyo po kaming tawaging “ate”, “kuya”, “nene”, “auntie” (kahit masakit sa loob ko dahil bata pa ako) at kung ano pa. WAG NA WAG po “PSST” o kaya ay “HOY”. Higit sa mababang tingin niyo sa amin, mas naipakikita po nito kung anong uri ng tao kayo. Nakapipintig ng tenga.

9. At higit sa lahat, manage your expectations po. Huwag ikumpara ang carinderia kung saan ang student meal na ulam + rice ay 25 pesos sa fine dining. Kahit sa Jollibee, huwag. Kung magrereklamo ka sa aming service water na hindi purified, bumili ng bottled water dahil nakakahiya naman sa sikmura mong walang bacteria. Kung ayaw mo ng langaw, bumili ng one way ticket papuntang Switzerland. Kung gusto ng exceptional service at taga subo, mag hire ng butler. Ayos lang ho magdemand ng sobra kung sobra rin ang binayad mo. Alam niyo po ba yung kasabihang “you get what you pay for?”. Ingles po yun.

Buuuuuuuuut it’s not all bad. There are actually a lot of nice customers.

(This is my favorite specie, the one I try to emulate) Sila yung oorder ng madami, magthe-thank you kapag dinala mo ang order nila, hindi magbabayad ng 1000 kahit 500+ ang bill at yung iba, inililigpit pa ang mga pinagkainan. In short, they won’t bother you. Now, to these customers, I give a little extra milk or toppings wholeheartedly.

The next time you see yourself in a situation where you think it’s justifiable to scold people for bad service, just remember that some of them are dead tired, having been up since 4 AM washing, cooking, serving jerks and earning less than 400 pesos a day.

I salute all people* in service industries!

*though I admit some are worse jerks than the customers. In that case, kill them with kindness.

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