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A common mantra that comes up in the service industry is "the customer is always right".
However, many who work in the service line can testify that this is not always true and that sometimes you need to take a stand against self-entitled customers for the sake of your principles.
Baker and Facebook user Wong Jie Hui published a long post on her page about an ugly encounter she had with a customer.
She started off her post clarifying that she is aware of her role as a service provider in making sure her customers' satisfaction and experience is of the "utmost importance".
She also acknowledged her own shortcomings but said she has been doing her best for every cake she has baked for the last five years.
"I've realised that I cannot please everyone. That's a fact of life (and in this business) that I've come to accept," she wrote.
She had taken an order for a $185 unicorn cake from a woman to be collected on Sep 18.
A man came to collect the cake at 11.26am while she was still adding finishing touches to the cake.
Jie Hui's mother asked the man if he needed any candles, which were provided for free together with a plastic knife to cut the cake.
He said yes and asked if they had a 'Happy Birthday' topper as well.
Her mother said they did but that it was a sale item and that he would have to buy it.
Jie Hui wrote in her post that he reached out for one of the plastic toppers and exclaimed, "Then this one leh? Also have to pay ah!"
He started raising his voice and sounded rude, so she decided to speak to him personally.
She told him that the topper costs an additional 50 cents if he would like to have it.
To which he shouted, "AIYA, CANNOT GIVE IT TO ME MEH.. WE already buy your expensive [cake], this one fifty cents only, CANNOT GIVE IT TO ME MEH, JUST GIVE IT TO ME LA."
Jie Hui informed him again that she could not just give it to him and that he would have to pay fifty cents if he wanted it.
He continued to shout and tell her to "JUST GIVE IT TO ME" before taking the topper and putting it in his pocket.
She was rendered speechless and in shock and the man's sheer gall.
She acknowledged that some of her friends and followers might blast her for making a big deal over a 50-cent topper, but she wrote, "I make the decision because this is my shop, my business."
"As a customer, you have all the right to decide if it is worth your money, or not. You shall decide if you want to buy it or not. Simple as that.
"BUT YOU DAMN WELL DO NOT TAKE IT FROM ME.
"He took it and put it in his pocket.
"HE DECIDED that, he SHOULD be given a free topper, so he TOOK it, despite us telling him that it was a sale item.
"Firstly how rude is that?
"Secondly, that's stealing.
"Thirdly, even if it's just fifty cents, I CAN DAMN WELL CALL MATA (the police)."
At first, she considered letting the matter go, but she braced herself and walked back out to confront the man.
She asked him again, "So would you like to have the topper? It will be fifty cents."
The man responded while twirling the topper with his fingers, " I paid for the [cake] already leh, still need to pay for this meh!! Can't you just give it to me!!"
She replied: "I'm sorry but I can't. There are things we provide for free, but this is an item on sale, so you have to buy it."
He continued to argue back and even compared her to other shops that gave it for free to which she responded, "We are not other shops".
Seeing how she was not going to back down, the man finally said: "AIYAH THEN FORGET IT LA I DON'T NEED IT."
She thanked him, and he left in a huff, but she was surprised when he walked back in and asked again if she really could not just give it to him.
Jie Hui stood her ground and finally, the guy gave in and said "AIYAH OK LA OK LA, I BUY LOR I BUY LOR" before paying for the topper.
In her post, Jie Hui reiterated that the issue was not about the price but the customer's self-entitlement and lack of respect.
She also believes the 'rule' that the 'customer is always right' is crippling to service providers:
"I think because of this 'customer is always right' thing, service providers are too scared to speak up even when they are mistreated or not receiving the respect they should get."
She also encouraged both customers and service providers to always stand up for what is right.
She added that the man had thrown the money at her but it did not affect her.
"Money thrown at me is still money, and I do not disrespect it. And what I got back from him, is not only that fifty cents. But my principles."
Read Jie Hui's full post here.