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.
Who ever said bad customer service isn’t funny?
Case in point: The following collection of videos, which are a must-see for anyone who works in a customer-service job or who has ever had a service problem with a company.
In other words, just about everyone.
The videos are more than humorous, though. They’re also instructive, offering broader lessons about becoming a better customer and avoiding truly awful (though sometimes laugh-out-loud funny) service.
An airline pilot who posted a series of videos online that exposed shortcomings in airport security has been punished by the Transportation Security Administration, which included a visit to his home by federal agents and sheriff’s deputies.
Sound familiar? It does to me.
The videos, which have since been deleted, show that thousands of airport employees are allowed to skip security every day at San Francisco International Airport. Here’s the full report from the San Francisco ABC affiliate and the station that broke the story, News 10 in Sacramento.
The pilot, whose name was not given, had his gun confiscated and a deputy sheriff asked him to surrender his state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon. The pilot’s status as a Federal Flight Deck Officer, a volunteer position, is being reviewed, he was told.
In one video, a little boy dances during a parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. In another, a young girl dressed as a princess embraces her father. And in a third, two women explore Cinderella Castle.
All are part of Disney’s new campaign called Let the Memories Begin — a promotion that relies on what the company refers to as “guest-generated” content.
“Let the Memories Begin is about real guests making real memories in our parks,” said Leslie Ferraro, executive vice president of global marketing for Disney Destinations.
“Disney guests have always loved sharing their vacation memories with us and each other. New technologies like YouTube and Facebook have made it easier and faster for our guests to share their memories, for Disney Parks to spotlight those memories on a larger scale, and for us to reinforce to our guests how important we think their memories are.”
Disney isn’t alone.
The travel industry — which for years considered videos as byproducts of a happy vacation, if not liabilities that occasionally found their way on to the Internet — has also had a change of heart.
Bad customer service cuts both ways.
Companies can provoke their customers to do extraordinary things, from angrily confronting their employees to burning down a car dealership.
But sometimes, it doesn’t take much to set a consumer off.
Sometimes, they’re just having a bad day, and when they’re asked to wait or given a routine “no,” they snap.
Anyone who doubts there are bad customers should look no further than the data compiled by the National Retail Security Survey. American retail business, it found, lost $33.5 billion to what’s euphemistically called “shrinkage” last year – losses from shoplifting, internal theft and other types of criminal activity. But the news isn’t all bad: The number is down from $36.5 billion in 2008.
Which is why you need to watch these videos. They’re great examples of how not to behave when you’re a customer.
This was supposed to be a post about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World, which we attended on Friday evening. It was great fun, like last year, except that we stayed for the parade.
The kids loved it. We’re grateful to Disney for inviting us.
So why are you watching a 30-second clip of our trip to Canaveral National Seashore yesterday? Well, let me explain.
Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen. That “viral” video with flight attendants dancing to Lady Gaga? It’s a fake.
The dance moves are real, and the plane is real, but anyone who thinks this was a bona fide in-flight safety announcement — sorry to burst your bubble.