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Like a lot of disgruntled retail and customer service rep type people, I used to have a really big problem with the phrase "the customer is always right". I made my peace with it, though, once I realized that a "customer" is, by definition, someone from whom you are making money. If you're not making a profit off of them - taking into account the time and effort it takes to interact with them - then they're effectively not a customer, and are therefore not always right. Conversely, if you're going to insist that someone isn't right... well, you can do that, but only if, in doing so, you're giving up on having that person as a customer, now and in perpetuity.

In any event, "the customer is always right" is the sort of phrase (like "we appreciate your loyalty" or "it's been a pleasure interacting with you") that really means more coming from the rep than from the customer. It's kinda like "I love you". Saying "I love you" is a meaningful declaration of affection, saying "you love me" is... less so.

"It's the principle" also bugs the hell out of me. Equal treatment for people of different faiths, ethnicities and sexualities... that's a principle. Paying off your debts in full and on time... that's a principle. Always telling the truth... that's a principle. Going after a discount you saw in an advertisement that you've been informed you aren't actually entitled to but you've got it in your head that you want it... mmmmmnot so much.

I'd be more likely to buy the "principle" schtick if I got an equal number of calls from people who were concerned that their bills were too low. After all, if mistakes are being made, you'd expect a roughly equal number of them in either direction, and therefore these principled types would be calling with equal frequency for bills too high or too low. This, I assure you, is not the case.

(Thursday morning, INT: Overdrive Computers)

TP: I'm going to leave the worst possible reviews of this place online.
LH: You can do that, yes.
TP: I'm going to go to the Better Business Bureau.
LH: I've heard they're good people.
TP: And I'm going to call that TV show, Consumer Watchdog.
LH: Go for it.
TP: I can sue you. In court.
LH: Yes you could. You could also punch me in the face and set the store on fire. And given the fact that you are capable of doing all of these things regardless of whether I give you a twenty dollar discount on a router or not, I really don't feel the need to respond to them.
TP: It's not the money. It's the principle.
LH: Which principle would that be? You saw something written down and now you think you're entitled to it from anyone?
TP: I AM entitled to-
LH: Because let me tell you what my principle is. My principle is that I have to treat everyone the same way.
LH: So if I price match for you, I have to price match for everyone, which places my bottom line at the mercy of any other store with access to a colour printer, and I'm not prepared to do that.
TP: You ever hear of a little thing called "the customer is always right"?
LH: Sure. You're not right, ergo, you must not be a customer. Seems to be panning out so far.