Is Business to Blame for Social Negative Reinforcement?

English: Don Mueang Airport domestic terminal,...

English: Don Mueang Airport domestic terminal, near Bangkok, Thailand – Thai Airways customer service counters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A dear friend of mine I met through SecondLife and I were sharing a conversation yesterday about our experiences in Retail. Especially those terribly “negative” experiences we have had in the retail environment. For those unfamiliar with the Retail market, it can be pretty cut-throat, unforgiving, unfair and sometimes – very unrewarding (especially sometimes with how the CUSTOMERS treat you). Course, it depends on the type of Retailer you are.

I tend to find Small Retail Businesses (Mom and Pop Stores) are better, friendlier, care about their employees (more often than not), appreciate them, believe in what they are selling and more. Course this isn’t true for EVERYONE I’m sure, but that’s been my experience.

However, during the conversation it sparked the idea for a possible Psychological aspect of Retail that goes unconsidered. Big Retailers often do specific things with their inventory (ex: Move sh*t around on you) that may annoy or irritate you, but the ploy that they are aiming for is to get you to spend more time than you’d like and tempt you to buy more than what you actually NEED. Some of you are probably going, “Well Duh!“, humor me – for those who don’t know. Thank you.

As I was saying, now while they have Psychological ploys like this to boost sales, my question is – are they thinking about some of the “Negative Reinforcement” they are helping to promote when it comes to society/their customer base?

What is this Negative Reinforcement I feel Major Retailers are promoting? Drum roll please…*imaginary drum-roll*…The Customer is ALWAYS right! Aye; you read that right. Fact of the matter is, the Customer is NOT always right. In fact, sometimes the customer is unruly, obnoxious, RUDE and can be trying to make the employees have a BAD day because they are having one and they don’t want to be alone in their “Black Hole” of a mood. They want to drag down as many people as they can with them.

There are a number of ways the Customer can be VERY wrong in their actions of how they treat the employees based upon this rule:

  • Returning something they should have DEFINITELY seen the POSTED return policy for or asked an Employee about what the Return Policy was on a specific item (mattress pads, sheets, air mattresses, tents, etc) BUT – they STILL try to return it anyway, often throwing a tantrum, making a scene until they get what they WANT – namely their money back.
  • Getting a discount on an item that obviously the employee or even the Manager says they can’t GIVE them a discount on.
  • Expired coupons (Yep; I’ve seen some of THESE Tantrums at times).
  • The obvious Tantrum over, “But THIS store has it priced at THIS, but I have no proof to prove that it’s at that price I’m telling you, but you should still give me that price because I SAY SO!“. I’m sure some people have heard this one.

Okay, we have four really great examples. If you can think of more to add to this list, feel free to add your input in the comments section! While there is MORE than just this issue alone when it comes to Retail, we are going to strictly focus on this one today. I also have a VERY good story to tell regarding that first example. If you want the story, ask me in the comments.

When I was working in Major Retailer, more often than not, despite the corporate policies clearly in place above or within the Customer Service Desk area, Employees or Management should be able to tell you – they would CAVE to the customers throwing these sorts of Tantrums. Now, sometimes I understand why people get upset over some things, but in most cases that I’ve seen – they aren’t the correct circumstances in which the Customer Service should “Give-in“.

Instead, most Customer Service “Gives-in” or CAVES at the first sign of a potential “Customer Tantrum“. I know there will be parents reading this and most of you probably know, it’s NOT a good idea to “Cave-in” to your child’s demands. That’s unfortunately what these adults are acting like and by Customer Service and Corporate giving IN to these sorts of “demands” they are promoting a very NEGATIVE Psychological mind-set. Which people will keep EXPLOITING until they put a STOP to it!

Essentially, they are telling Customer’s it’s “Okay” to act like a petulant child to get THEIR way or what THEY want. If they don’t listen to them at the store, they threaten to tell ALL their friends and people who will hear them about your stores, “Oh so horrible,” Customer Service experience at that specific store. They may even threaten to go all the way to Corporate. Some Corporations even FINE or Punish their Stores for the number of customer complaints they get over the store. If anything, I think that means an investigation should be done FIRST before the store is punished as a whole.

Believe me, I have had some bad Customer Service Experiences before, but that was because the Employee was rude – not the other way around. 😛

If Corporations had ENOUGH sense they’d send people to visit those stores who get Customer complaints and observe for a specified time period in areas where it counts, like the Customer Service Desk (A Day in the Life at the Customer Service Desk) space or even wandering the floor to see whether Customer’s are being helped at all in a timely fashion. Taking into account whether or not the store is dreadfully understaffed or not. These are the kinds of things that would help IMPROVE Customer satisfaction and efficiency.

You LOSE a lot more money, in my book, by caving in and giving Customer’s their money back when they know the rules but pretend to play DUMB or pull the “Tantrum” Card. If this kind of Customer behavior isn’t stopped soon, it will continue to help perpetuate this false ideology of “Entitlement” among other negative Psychological notions.

I do feel VERY strongly that Businesses and Corporations should stand pretty firm, without fear, behind their policies. They are there for a reason. Most of all, your employees don’t deserve the threats or disrespect they often get from Customers who use, abuse and exploit this obvious “chink” in the armor of their store’s policies that they should be able to stand firmly behind, again, without FEAR.

So PLEASE stop caving! For the sake of your employees and other customers, throw those unruly, rude people out! They don’t deserve their money back if they aren’t going to be civil and try to ACT like an adult about the situation. What are you paying security for? Aside from protecting the merchandise?! What about the Peace? Come on! Get yourselves some Bouncers or something! Grow a back-bone and show these people there are consequences to their actions!

And that is my musing for the day folks! I hope it was interesting for you as it was rather interesting for me. Thank you for reading!

~Merry part & Merry meet again, blessings – Namaste~

P.S. The Donation Pool for now has been put on hold until I can get a chance to call the IRS to confirm some information for me and until I’m done worrying about getting ready for FanExpo as it is this month. Thank you for your patience. I’m very sorry also for the lack of postings! 😦

~Love and light~ ❤



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