How to Lose Customers and Alienate People
As posted to the Retail Robin network:
Hello, fellow Robins! I know a lot of you are across various ponds, but I’m sharing this Stateside tale from last night hoping it does somebody some good. Although I do work retail, this unfortunate incident was from my perspective as a customer at another establishment. (Sorry to be so long.)
This happened to a group of friends and I last night at Executive Strike & Spare (bowling alley) in Louisville, KY, USA. We had a get-together of mostly people from my fiance’s workplace, a total of fourteen of us, average age about 21. Eleven of us bowled a couple games, some ate and got drinks, all spent collectively roughly $125+ and had a great time. Until the owner/manager decided he had a problem with us.
We went out to the parking lot after our games (11-something at night; they were then closed), chatted and goofed around (we didn’t touch anyone’s property, let alone damage anything) for a bit, then sat down and tried to decide what to do next. While we were coming to our decision, literally just sitting in the lot, out comes aforementioned manager/owner. He may have had a few drinks, I don’t know, he never got close enough to smell alcohol nor slurred his words (as pointless as his ranting was), but either way that’s not an excuse for the way he treated us.
Without provocation, he promptly begins insulting our group. Mostly, he called us good-for-nothing kids with no jobs. No matter how many times we repeated that, yes, we all did in fact have jobs (of the nine of us still there, seven were even co-workers), he kept saying that. Finally, he demanded, “from left to right, tell me what your jobs are”. I, sitting on one end of our group, answered first. He says, “I said from left to right.” Given we were facing each other, our lefts were different from his, so I asked, “Our left or yours?” He takes a long pause (presumably trying to figure out why our lefts weren’t the same) then says to me, “Well fuck you, professor.” Hardly insulting, thank-you-very-much.
I think he may have realized I was too smart for him at that point, so he goes back to insulting the group as a whole. Here are various arguments (aside from repeatedly telling us to get jobs, which we already had):
-He claims to own three businesses, and I wish I had thought at the time to ask what the others were, so I could boycott those, too.
-When we told him that many of us were also still in school and asked what his degree was in: “My dad died when I was 12.” I guess that automatically prevents you from becoming educated. Oh wait, one of our group just lost his father a month ago but he’s still going to college. We tell him that and he responds, “Well fuck you, too.” Not sure if that was supposed to cheer the poor kid up, or what.
-At different points he calls us “bleeding heart liberals” (irrelevant, but way to prove you can parrot political jargon) and complains about our “fucking kumbaya circle”. I would have brought this to his attention at the time, but I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t’ve understood the significance: “Sir, your sign over there says you hold the Big Lebowski Fest here…I’m pretty sure The Dude would be OK with a ‘kumbaya circle’.”
-Referring to us: “This is why we don’t allow skateboards on our property.” No one in our group had a skateboard.
Finally, after he’d wasted enough of our night and upset our group enough, we decide to move on to a Waffle House. As we’re getting up to go to our cars, the last patrons walk out (a black family with a couple small children; I’m glad they weren’t around for his rant, there’s no telling what kind of racist comments he may have had). One of our guys warns them, “Don’t talk to that guy, he’s a jerk.” To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t exchange words with them.
Then, as we’re getting in our cars, he starts following one of the girls to hers. I don’t care if you’re sober, forty years younger, and it’s broad daylight, THAT.IS.NOT.OK. Luckily, a couple of the other guys had already gotten in their car and pulled up between him and her (and next time I talk to them, I will be thanking them for their chivalry). Rolling down his window, one comments, “Look at the car I bought. With money. From my job.” Which prompts the owner/manager to start clapping for us (sarcastically; I doubt he believed we had jobs even at this point). He then chases every car out of the parking lot, clapping at them, INCLUDING THE BLACK FAMILY! I sincerely hope both that he left them alone aside from that and that they, too, never come back.
tl;dr - Executive Strike & Spare Louisville, KY, USA is a fun place, but their manager/owner is NOT deserving of your business.