Is the American consumer spoiled? Demanding? Greedy? Have we become a bunch of entitled brats? Or worse yet—a nation of … consumer victims?!
Let’s call our topic Consumer Entitlement and explore it through three stories. Then we’ll pose five questions to spur conversation.
We’d love to have you comment! ??
Have Consumers Become Entitled?
A Miller daughter is a supervisor at AMC Theaters. One evening, 20 minutes into a movie, the machine projecting a film died. The show could not be continued.
Our daughter and her colleagues started giving out passes for future movies. In fact, they gave each person two—for any movie the customer might want to see. On top of that, they offered each person the opportunity to go down the hall and walk into a movie of their choice right then, if there was space. A patron then said, “This is a real bummer! You’ll refund our money for tonight’s showing, too, right?”
So AMC did that, as well.
Are We Spoiling Customers?
Lisa, who works for a city in Virginia and has been through our “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” training, sent us a story.
At first glance, it’s an example of outstanding customer service. However, is it also a sign of what the American consumer expects today?
We were at Longhorn Steakhouse in Roanoke celebrating my husband’s and daughter’s birthdays, which are one day apart. My daughter enjoys her steak cooked medium rare and my husband likes it medium. Both steaks, though, came well-done. We are not complainers, so we began eating. However, when the server stopped by to see how we were doing, we mentioned it, even though there was nothing that could be done. Undercooked steaks can go back on the grill, but when they’re overcooked you can’t uncook them! But then, the server returned with two new complete meals—steak, potatoes, and salad! If that wasn’t enough, she took ALL of our meals off our ticket! She went on to tell us that she just wanted us to be happy.
Great service, right? That’s how most people will perceive it. But is it going too far? I decided to share this story with my wife, Karen. Her response:
“At most, I might’ve thought the restaurant would provide a free dessert.”
Are Customers Greedy?
One of our daughters worked at a King Soopers (Kroger) grocery store. They have “curbside pick-up” for online orders. Very handy! She told us when mistakes were made, some customers asked if their entire order could be “comped.” Most of you know that means … NO CHARGE.
So, an entire grocery-store cart of free food because a store employee mistakenly grabbed white potatoes instead of red.
Your view on this Consumer Entitlement topic?
5 questions to spur discussion:
- When mistakes are made, have consumers become unforgiving?
- Are organizations “bending over backward” too far?
- What is driving this entitled consumer mentality?
- Are corporations actually focusing too much on the customer?
- Is this an extension of the victim mentality in our world today?
Now, if you believe this is all healthy and good, that’s cool, too. Share your thoughts! If you have examples like ours, share one!