Caught on tape: customers who left their brains at home

By | January 21st, 2011

I spend a fair amount of time criticizing companies for their anti-consumer behavior. And they usually deserve it.

But let’s face it: sometimes customers have it coming.

Not every person who darkens the door of a business is playing with a full deck, as they say.

Let’s go straight to the tape.

1. The most embarrassing phone call from a customer, ever

Next time you’re tempted to make a call to customer service because of what you feel is a defective product, open the entire box and examine everything (see video, above). This guy didn’t (warning: heavy accent). He complains. And complains. And complains. And then he realizes … well, watch it for yourself. Moral of the story: Be sure the product is defective before you pick up the phone to gripe about it.

2. Your money’s no good here

Next time you go out for dinner, make sure you have enough money to pay for it. The customer in this training video doesn’t, which makes the video necessary. It shouldn’t be. (In fairness, sometimes the restaurant’s payment systems are at fault, and if that’s the case, there really isn’t much you can do about it).

3. The food here is terrible

Here’s the thing: If the food is awful at a restaurant, then 1) don’t eat it, and 2) make sure the TV cameras are turned off. This customer did neither and instead of getting a free meal, which appeared to be her motivation, she got stared down by the chef, who called her “an old bag.” All in all, a less-than-ideal dining experience, wouldn’t you say?

Related story:   New on the wiki: hotel industry contacts

4. Another dumb customer

Some customers are just unreasonable, and when they make demands, an employee has no choice but to call security. This staged video shows an absurd example – someone who is trying to return Legos. Used Legos. Is that an exaggeration? Maybe a little. But if you’ve ever worked on the other side of the counter, you know that it’s not much of one. Customers often don’t think before they make a request, or demand.

5. No, we don’t reserve movies

This 1991 classic, revived here for your viewing pleasure, makes a good point about company policy, and about persistent customers. If someone takes the time to explain company policy, chances are they’re not going to change it for you because you asked about it repeatedly, ad nauseum. Can you blame the employee for losing it at the end? I can’t.

Parting shot: Think before you complain about a product. The product may be fine.

The problem might be you.

We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.