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never coming back is maybe the best way to protest at bad service

DO you complain? I mean, are you somebody who makes your displeasure known when goods and services aren't up to scratch? Or do you silently mumble but do nothing about it? Is it better not to make a fuss when things don't go accordingly?

As a rule Irish people don't complain much. Sure, we're happy enough with whatever, aren't we? Maybe this isn't true for all but having worked in many customer service roles over the years, I reckon the Irish aren't the biggest complainers. Nor are British people really. Americans, say, and French people seem to be far more vocal when it comes to professing disapproval.

But should we actually complain more? Okay, we all hate a Moaning Minnie and there is nothing more cringeworthy than dining out with a mate who keeps sending back their meal. But should we expect better treatment when handing over our hard-earned cash?

I was recently in a shop where two women were having an animated discussion about the previous weekend. The conversation never even paused as I approached the till and I was served without so much as a nod, never mind a smile and a thanks.

I know we're all supposed to be very friendly and all here, but this isn't the first time this has happened. I hate feeling like I'm inconveniencing people when handing over money. Do these sales assistants not realise that customers can go into any shop at all and would very much like to be acknowledged, especially having stood patiently in a boring queue in order to purchase their goods? And why do cashiers always shout "next" when you are standing right in front of them? It's annoying.

I enjoyed my previous life as a sales person. It was most rewarding. I was also a sales trainer. I would tell my trainees 1) Look the customer in the eye and smile, 2) Place the change into the customer's hand and not on the counter. If I were back there I would probably add 3.) Don't shout "next" when the person is right opposite you.


If I am treated poorly in shops, I won't work myself into a rage. A couple of times in my life I have asked to see a manager but usually I will do what most people do – leave and never return.

I still find it astonishing that people find it acceptable to talk to another member of staff while ignoring a paying customer. Okay, I don't particularly enjoy the overly cheery "hey, have a nice day" that is commonplace in US stores, but how about a happy medium?

Nobody should treat a customer with contempt. If you do, don't expect to stay in business. I remember many years ago going into a newsagents to buy magazines. At the time I spent a weekly fortune on magazines. But as I was so young, the owner probably thought I couldn't afford to buy them. She turned on a vacuum cleaner and started hoovering around my feet while aggressively asking me if I was 'alright'. I was just fine thanks. I went to a second newsagents to buy the same magazines. Two months later a 'for sale' sign appeared in front of the first newsagents. If anyone was surprised, it certainly wasn't me.