I have worked in service industry's for most of my adult life. Not only do I accept the rule that the customer is always right but for the most part...I agree with it. If a client is willing to pay for a service/product, they should by all means get what they are paying for. But, just for the record...that doesn't mean they're right.
Sorry, I'll get on with the point of this. I am a chef. Tonight, I let everyone in the kitchen go early (to their delight) and said I would finish up. Five minutes before the kitchen closed I got an order for 2 dozen steamed oysters. I prepared them perfectly (not a great feat--haha) and sent them out. The server brought them back and said that the customer said they were cold. I explained that a steamed oyster doesn't hold heat very long, but yes, I would prepare 2 fresh dozen. I did so. They sent them back, again, saying, 'They just weren't right'. At this point, I bounced off the wall and the server asked me to please not kill the messenger. I laughed, calmed down and prepared them...again. I asked her to stay in the kitchen so that the oysters could be taken to the customer as soon as they were ready. She did. Again, they were perfect. Again, they sent them back. I'd had enough. I went out and spoke with the customer who was always right. I introduced myself and asked what had been wrong with the oysters. The woman seemed apologetic and said that they were slimy. I replied that they were oysters and by definition...slimy. She said that when they'd had them other places they were tiny, shriveled up and dry and that was how they liked them. I answered, 'If you had asked me to overcook them, I would have. But you didn't. I won't ask you to pay for all six dozen...only the last two.'
I walked calmly away and explained everything to acting management, who agreed with what I had said to the customer. But then the customer...did I mention they'd had a bit to drink...complained and all six dozen oysters were comped (absorbed as cost, not charged for).
It's not my restaurant, so it's not my money. But, it's my rep and those oysters were perfect...and the customer was not right. They were drunk and had very bad taste in seafood. End of my rant. Thanks for letting me share.
I'm already laughing at my obsessiveness as I post this. BTW---the people who ate those six dozen free oysters enjoyed them thoroughly!
[This message has been edited by JLR (edited 07-09-2001).]