One of my biggest turn-offs is seeing a company airing their 'family dirty laundry' in front of the customer. By this I mean, for example:

  1. Seeing a supervisor reprimand an employee in front of customers or co-workers.
  2. Employees arguing or displaying 'attitude' in front of customers.
  3. Bad-mouthing the company, another location, etc.
I've witnessed all 3 in the last week at different establishments. I'm not sure if it's lack of training, common sense, maturity, or some combination of all three, but it isn't good for business in my view.

Scenario 1: Bad-mouthing the company.

I stopped in a bagel shop that is a national franchise. While waiting on my order, I mentioned to the manager I was happy they'd opened a store in another part of town near where I work. What response do I get back? A terse, "They're not part of us. And I heard they're using frozen dough over there,etc,etc...." Now, in my mind this is slam ignorant on her part. What impression did she leave with me after that missive? I do not know or care who owns what store/ownership group. To me it is a brand and I like their product. Riffs like that need to be taken up with the franchisor or ownership group, but should be transparent to me as a regular customer. Now I have a negative flag raised in my mind about this store.

Scenario 2: Reprimanding an employee in front of customers.
I don't work in retail. I salute anyone who does. I did it for a summer between my sophmore and junior year in college. I couldn't do it again. Went to get a latte at Starbuck's the other day. And this kid who's all of maybe 25 is the manager. The barista was training a new barista, and the manager starts asking her about helping another guy sweep. I mean the manager is berating her with a counter full of customers, saying her (not real) name Susan!, Susan! in an antagonizing way. My sense is it's this kid's first taste of authority,and he's far too immature to handle it. "Look at me I'm in charge!" And if I were the owner, I'd fire him the first chance I've got for treating employees like that. My concern is, what impression does this leave in the customer's mind? How motivated is the barista now to serve customers in a positive way?

Personally my thought is, I have enough drama in my own life, no need to pay $4 for a latte to see it play out at the espresso machine. Also, nothing dire short of a robbery or violence happens in a retail business that can't be handled during a break one-on-one. Companies need to realize that while the customer comes first and is always right, their employees represent the company to those customers, so they need to be treated with respect. Or customers like me will take their business elsewhere.