Friday, November 16, 2012

Must customers always be right?

Have you heard of this saying before? I couldn’t come to term with this saying.

Why? Because in my perspectives, customers are also humans, the seller is also human. Human are not perfect. Human cannot be RIGHT all the time.

I found out:


The trading policy that states a company's keenness to be seen to put the customer first.

The Origin

Several retail concern used this as a slogan from the early 20th century onward. In the USA it is particularly associated with Marshall Field's department store, Chicago (established in the late 19th century). The store is an icon of the city, although it is set to lose its name in 2006 when, following a takeover, it becomes renamed as Macy's. In the UK, Harry Gordon Selfridge (1857-1947) the founder of London's Selfridges store (opened in 1909), is credited with championing its use. The Wisconsin born Selfridge worked for Field from 1879 to 1901. Both men were dynamic and creative businessmen and it's highly likely that one of them coined the phrase, although we don't know which.
Of course, these entrepreneurs didn't intend to be taken literally. What they were attempting to do was to make the customer feel special by inculcating into their staff the disposition to behave as if the customer was right, even when they weren't.

Working in my parents’ shop gave me first hand experiences. Of course, not all customers act this way. However, few customers do or think so. They are the ones who get on my nerve. They need not say ‘customer is always right’ policy but rather the way they talk or treat another. Sometimes they are rude and selfish. They used the power of money to belittle another. The vibe of arrogance and cockiness comes from their actions of treating another.  

I think these people had not truly grasped the meaning of the phrase and they had misused the phrase. This is how I look at the phrase 'Customers are always right' – we put customers first. We are service provider who goes out to look at the interest of the customer. We serve the customer at our best, but that doesn’t mean we give you the leeway to treat badly or belittle us. Through observation, I sometimes wondered what complexity this person has to be acting as such? A person who can’t accept to be wrong at times? I don’t know the person as a whole. But, I could sense the insecurity of the person even in a short encounter. 

Especially in the age of IT now, many thinks that the information found in IT is DEFINITELY RIGHT. Some of them come to the shop as a Mr/Ms Know-It-All. What is more valuable? Life experience of another person or the information you get from the internet? Which is tested? My family learned to let the person learnt from his/her mistakes. There’s no point to argue it out because the person is not even willing to listen and learn. We said what we need to say, then we leave it for the person to decide which information he/she deems right. 

Well, it’s not easy to work in the line where we provide service to people, because we meet all SORTS of people from different generations. Many may had lost the understanding what it really means by the phrase. They had taken to the extreme that they are RIGHT all the time and not willing to learn anymore.

When a person reaches that stage, the person is STUCK! Ears, heart and mind are totally closed to incoming information. A stuck person will not grow and learn. 

I am also not saying that we as the seller are ALWAYS RIGHT. We are all humans. We do make rights and wrongs. If we all decide to give each other the space to be right or wrong, then that already make a different. 

This applies to life as well. You and I can’t be RIGHT all the time! We are beings who learn throughout life. Mistakes. Wrong choices. When we made mistakes, we learned from it. We also need to have a listening heart and ears and minds that is open for criticism. The people who are around us see things at a different perspectives that we maybe can’t see. So, why not listen from their perspectives, understand it and learn from it? It’s perfectly fine if you still want to maintain your way. But, at least you made a different. You listen.

If one is right all the time, then there leaves no room for growth.

My National Anthem


I remembered when I was younger I will always wake up early on MERDEKA day and wait for our beloved National Anthem. But, as the year go by, this also seems to fade away slowly. I no longer wake up early to do this. Even singing Negaraku had been a distant thing. I don't sing Negaraku on Monday morning during assembly time. No more singing Negaraku during convocation for seniors in university. My last sung Negaraku with a proud congregation was during a talk about election in the month of March/April. I know singing our National Anthem don't show our patriotism for this country. 

The meaning of Negaraku brings up so many underlying meanings. 

(Versi BM)
Tanah tumpahnya darahku
Rakyat hidup bersatu dan maju
Rahmat Bahagia Tuhan kurniakan
Raja kita selamat bertakhta
Rahmat Bahagia Tuhan kurniakan
Raja kita selamat bertakhta

(Literal English translation)
My country
The land where my blood has spilt
The people living united and progressive
May God bestow blessing and happiness
May our King have a successful reign
May God bestow blessing and happiness
May our King have a successful reign

I never understood why we need to sing this song every assembly time in school. I never grasps the meaning of the song. But, now being a lady I began to understand the meaning behind the song. It speaks of what we called this country as Malaysia. Blood, sweat and tears shed in this land to fight for the rights. THE PEOPLE living UNITED and progressively. Are we united? Not YET. The day will come when we will not JUDGE each other by our skin colours, but take the extra efforts to know the person as individual! We asked for God's blessings on this country, but to what extend do we mean it? To what extend do we believe God will bless this land? Our King have a successful reign? I do pray that our King will have that once more. A King who stands for his people's rights and show that he is present. I am amazed when I read what Sultan Kedah had did during his reign. It amazed me that we had a King who cared for this country. Now, Sultan Kedah is taking the throne the second time. I do pray He will have a successful reign.

I definitely didn't mean so when I was younger. Have our teachers failed to teach us the meaning of the song itself? I definitely did not learned this from my teachers during my schooling years. Maybe I was too notorious when I was younger - living the way I see fit. But, as I enter university, I began to see the importance of words and understanding the meaning behind it. My perspectives towards my National Anthem changed to a positive one. 

Now, I stand and sing proudly for this is my country. This is what I stand and believe in. 

Brownish black and wet

I started off my month of Nov doing the lowliest social work of all – cleaning place full of shit. No one would think in their right mind that this is their dream job. I remembered this show on National Geographic that talks about the dirtiest jobs. It showed jobs from cleaning sewage to cleaning the rubbish and etc. I remembered few responses I heard about the show: what if my kids grow up and want to do something like that? What if? It seems like the most horrible job that your child might be doing in the future in the eyes of a parent. I had the opportunity first hand doing the WORST job as the world views it.

No one wants to be NEAR shit!

No one wants to TOUCH shit!

No one wants a job that TOUCH shit!

No one wants to be DIRTY!

When my hands and feet dipped in shit, I remembered telling myself that I need to just CLEAN this. Don’t think about where it came from. Don’t think of what it really comprises of. I just need to DO this and CLEAN this. So, I did. I actually could stand the smell of it. One reason is not fresh! The other is I was exposed to shit before this! – bat poop, cat poop, dog poop, fish poop, baby poop. Now, adding to the list is human ranges from child to adult’s poop. Even when I told my parents about my experience, I remembered their first response was like ‘What? Again?’ They agreed it’s a disgusting job but someone needs to DO it.

Because of this, we found out Indah Water had not been servicing the area for quite some time because they said it’s not their responsibility to clean the sewage system this area. MPK also had their hands off this case. Nobody wants to be involved. They are pushing the responsibility away from themselves. Imagine how many years of poop not being flushed out. Because of  this, one of the resident brought it up to Putrajaya and fought for this. The result, finally Indah Water came and pump the years of poop out!

All this poop experiences also got me thinking of how it relate to our society today. There’s so many unsatisfying issues happening in our country till the extent sometimes I feel helpless. The system is corrupted. There’s injustice in our country. When I look at the political state, it’s just heartbreaking. Nobody wants to be involved. Nobody wants to get their hands dirty. Nobody wants to stand for what is right. So, like the poop experiences. If all of us are just going to take the backseats and not advocate or be a voice, we are all like the poop that’s underground that no one will hear or care about. Underground unforeseen materials cannot be contain for a long time. One day, everything will blow out! Then, people will start pushing their responsibility away. Some people would be the ones that have to clean it up.

If we all recognizes our rights as a Malaysian citizen and make this country our own, then we will be willingly put our hands in shit, dirt, undesirable situation to stand for the people of this nation!