The Customer Is NOT Always Right!

Posted on June 24, 2009 by LCT Magazine

TAKE ‘EM TO A PAY PHONE: I was recently reading about a collection of pet peeves of chauffeurs and operators alike. Some pet peeves include clients putting feet on bar tops, lighting up although they have been told not to, and acting like they own the vehicle instead of chartering it for a few hours.
As a McDonald’s employee at a young, impressionable age, I was always told the customer is always right. Well, maybe at McDonald’s, but not in my business. You see, my customers are frequently drunk. My customers frequently confuse the fact that because they have money that basic rules don’t apply to them. My customers sometimes puke in my vehicles and become abusive, obnoxious drunks that need to be told to go pack sand.
Even in this horrible economy, I am still unwilling to serve those who do not appreciate our service and care for our vehicles. Those people that want to smoke because they have been drinking and think hanging a cigarette out the window is not smoking in the vehicle are the kind of people I don’t need. One single person lighting up in the car can cause a carpet shampoo to be required, or worse yet, an upholstery or carpet repair because of a careless ash. All of these things can take a vehicle out of service for a few days, and I assure you the money spent to repair the damage will exceed the value of the charter even if you charge for damages. A vehicle out of service for a couple days means a loss of revenue on that vehicle for a few days, and that is financially painful.
Swearing at one of my employees is the fastest way to get kicked out of a car and put on our “blacklist.” I figure I don’t pay our chauffeurs enough money to be sworn at. So, I tell them they don’t have to take that from anyone. People who get drunk either get nasty and angry or fun loving and free-spirited. Either way, it can get ugly. The chauffeur is the captain of the ship. So, if a person is doing something that is unsafe for themselves, the chauffeur, the vehicle, or others, and the chauffeur confronts them about it, they sometimes get angry and talk about how much money they paid to charter the limousine. In their intoxicated state, they actually believe that this gives them the right to stand up in the moon-roof going down the freeway. They believe it gives them the right to flip off other motorists while passing them. They believe they can shake a beer can up or a bottle of champagne and let it spew all over the car. We show them to the nearest well-lit location with a payphone and leave them with a quarter if needed. 
Then there are those customers that are ultra rich and have expectations that exceed what we are capable of doing, despite being loaded with money. For instance, it is not possible to travel 90 miles in a single hour doing the speed limit, but yet there are those clients who cut their travel time too close and then demand we speed because “they are paying for it.” Well, unless they are going to pay for the insurance increase to both the chauffeur and the company for a speeding ticket, I don’t care how much money they have. Clients that repeat such nonsense are shown to the door.
Remember, your business is your business and the decision of whom you serve is left up to you. We really do reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and exercise it when needed. How about you? Have you ever given up on a client or told them to find someone else to call?
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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