Sunday, October 21, 2007

"The Customer is (not) Always Right" In Mexico

My son just showed me a another Blog I really like. At least I really like the two posts I just read. It's called "Violent Acres". Erik thinks the weird title might be a play on the old TV show "Greenacres". Which neither of us ever saw, but have a mental image of.

Part of a post, from this blog, from last October is offered here for your perusal.

"The phrase ‘The Customer is Always Right’ is the single worst philosophy that has ever been adopted by American culture. It gave an entire generation of people the green light to be as impolite, unreasonable, and demanding as their little hearts desired because they
were always going to be considered right. It destroyed the entire concept of courtesy and rendered manners obsolete. People began to treat their peers in the service industry like incompetent morons, lacking in feelings or human dignity, who deserved to be browbeaten and abused for no other reason than they had the audacity to run out of a particular brand of coffee. Furthermore, instead of suffering negative repercussions for their appallingly disrespectful behavior, they are awarded with free coupons and plenty of ass kissing. In reality, they should be shunned and humiliated for behaving like such self absorbed little children. "

I especially liked this post because I think it partially explains why many gringos have trouble in stores and restaurants in Mexico. And with service workers and skilled craftsman. They somehow think because they are paying (?) they can be as demanding and rude as they please. And the worker or whoever has to please them, to do whatever it is they want them to do.

My experience is that, thank god, Mexicans don't play by that rule. It's not part of their culture, thank God. They won't be directly rude to you, or say "sorry, no" when you are demanding whatever it is. But if they don't can't to don't want to provide whatever it is you want (next day delivery, a certain color, a meal as they are closing, or whatever), generally you are not going to get it. They will tell you that you will, wanting to be polite and respectful (whether you deserve it or not). But you won't get it whatever it was you were insisting you had to have. Unless they feel like it.

They may have other priorities. Like family, health, an enjoyable lifestyle. And probably other values I am not capable of recognizing because I am a gringa. Not much is important enough to throw a big fit over. There's always tomorrow. Tomorrow is often soon enough.

I suspect the behavior that results from the "customer is always right" attitude is similar to the "Listen to me, I come from a superior culture" attitude that many gringos visiting or staying in Mexico exude. From their pores.

Right. Like people from the U.S., Canada, and Britain has something to be proud of. Like colonial and imperialistic attitudes toward anyone who doesn't look just like you and your mommy and daddy. Polluting the world, with bombs for dessert.

Anyway, I love finding writers who agree with me/or make me think. It's been a good day.


James said...

ha ha. An excellent post. I am always excited to hear the high quality of voices of gringos who call Mexico home. It never ceases to impress me.

Michael Warshauer said...

If someone agrees with you, Andee, does that make you think? Or is it when someone disagrees, that we begin to think?

Yes; the "Customer is always right" concept stems from putting monetary gain ahead of personal values.

I'm rediscovering your blogs and look forward to enjoyable reading.