Customers are kings, yes, but they can also be other things. To many businesses’ corporate marketing departments, customers may be royalty. But to ordinary staff, they are daily obstacles that need to be overcome.
Sometimes, restaurant diners make reasonable demands like extra ketchup for their fries. Others enter the restaurant five minutes before closing and request you to read the specials — in French.
These four incidents make a strong case for busting the myth of customers being king.
The man who wanted to have it* his way (*it being a lifetime supply of Whoppers)
What does it take to be promised a lifetime of free food? In many cases, it takes suffering and humiliation.
In the case of Oregon man Curtis Booner, it was getting himself trapped in a filthy restroom at a Burger King in Portland. According to his lawsuit against the Whopper maker, the restroom was so filthy that when he finally got out, he reeked of urine. The staff at Burger King didn’t try to disguise their delight from witnessing a man suffocating at their pee-stained restroom.
But Curtis failed to see the comedy. To appease his bruised ego, the store’s manager verbally promised Curtis free meals at their store for as long as he wants and ultimately turned it into a win-win situation: the staff had a good laugh at Restroom-gate and Curtis was guaranteed free meals at his favorite fast-food chain.
Oral agreements are generally difficult to prove in court. In this case, Curtis managed to prove that he received an oral contract about getting unlimited meals. And because stupid things sometimes happen to clever people, Curtis must have kept the receipts he’d received from the restaurant, indicating that he was getting free meals from them until the establishment decided it had enough and reneged on its promise.
If Curtis didn’t already win from getting free meals, the $9,000 settlement he received certainly sealed his winning streak.
The tale of the stale Cinnabon roll
Cinnabons are best served warm, moist, and fresh. When they’re not, they’re just weird-shaped bread.
Andrea McCullough did not care for the stale Cinnabon roll that she received at Burger King in South Carolina. When she ordered the cream cheese frosting-covered dough, she made her preference known to the entire restaurant that she wants them as they’re advertised: “baked fresh daily”. When the restaurant failed to deliver freshly baked goods, she delivered a profanity-laced complaint and a threat to shoot the place down.
While the restaurant bore some responsibility for the lack of fresh Cinnabons, bread-driven conflicts should never be resolved with threats to another person’s life. There is, after all, no such thing as “the bread of violence;” there is only “the bread of life.”
The drive-thru rage
If you’ve ever worked in the food service industry, you’ve most likely encountered customers who’ve gotten upset over the teensiest inconveniences. You’ve likely encountered people who threatened they would “call corporate” or give you a negative review. If those are the only types of problem customers you’ve had, consider yourself lucky.
The staff at Burger King in Bradenton, Florida received more than threats to “speak to the manager.” Unhappy about the staff’s slow service at the drive-thru, an unnamed duo exacted justice by going inside the restaurant, throwing things at the crew and around the restaurant, and punching one of the store’s crew members.
Slow service is every fast-food customer’s nightmare, but things are next-level when customers at the drive-thru ditch their car to air their grievance inside the restaurant. This was a clear case of misdemeanor battery, criminal mischief, a severe lack of emotional intelligence, and hunger.
Hold the extras, or else...
If five of seven ingredients in a dish can make you fall ill, it stands to reason that you would just avoid eating that dish, right? But the heart wants what it wants, and Darius Dugger from Virginia wants his Whopper despite being severely allergic to not one but three of its ingredients: tomatoes, onions, and pickles.
Granted, it’s not outrageous to order a burger and ask to hold the T. O. P. But, again, if you know that certain food items can put your life in danger, maybe err on the side of salad.
For being served a Whopper with the works, he sued the restaurant for $100,000 in damages plus fees and court costs.
Personal injury attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams are no burger experts. But we’re excellent at handling Washington personal injury lawsuits. And at our Renton, Seattle offices, our clients are always king.