(The Customer is) Not Always Right

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

But they still think they have the right to whine.

What Is A Not Always Right Customer?
A Not Always Right customer is one that is 1. Trying to get something for nothing; 2. Abusing the employee for one reason or another (trying to get their own way, or for the fun of it); 3. Doesn’t realize they’re wrong.

(The Customer is) Not Always Right is a Web site dedicated to stories of the stupid, ignorant, egotistical, funny and just plain mad customers whom retail staff across the world (well, mostly in the Anglo-sphere—since it's an English-only site) encounter. It can be a good example of Tropes that appear in Real Life. That being said, it is best to take most of it with a grain of salt.

In 2011, the webmasters also launched two sister sites: Not Always Romantic and Not Always Related. In 2012, they added Not Always Working to the collective. Later they folded back as sections on NAR.

Tropes used in (The Customer is) Not Always Right include:

Not Always Right

And could you box up an order of mac’n’cheese please? Oh, and some really good smelling stuff? I figure they’ll have the munchies and I want to torture them.

"Karma’s a b**ch, ain’t it?"

Stephen: Suggested new category: NAWATLTPIC
Stephen: Aka Not Always Interesting

Customer: What manner o' thing is your peanut butter cookie?
Shop Clerk: 'Tis a cookie, sir, with peanut butter in it.

Not Always Romantic

Not Always Related

Not Always Learning

Not Always Hopeless

Note: this is now under the "Inspirational" tag

  • Ambiguous Syntax: "Consent Is So Important": Two parents told a little girl she had to ask permission from a dog owner to pet his husky. Only they said she had to ask for permission. She asked solemnly the dog, "Can I pet you?" The parents groaned and explained it better, while said owner had to lean against a lamp post due to laughing so hard.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: "Whistle While You Work It Out" had a customer service rep attempt to work with a customer's five-year-old grandson, who was more tech savvy than he was, to help his grandfather set up online mortgage bill pay. Though said child could not read, he could spell, and he was able to follow instructions literally to the letter.
  • Heroic Bystander: Quite a few stories have this.
    • The Patient Isn’t The Only One With Patience. When a hospital patient asked for help, because her sister was leaving a verbal suicide note on the phone, the nursing team mobilized to notify 911 and gave advice to help stall and get relevant information until emergency services arrived in the other city where her sister lived. They got her help in time.
    • You'd Be Demented Not to Help: A cashier became concerned when an old lady said she was running away from home, from her "mother". She took action, using her workbreak to give the woman a bottle of water, and coaxed her daughter's phone number out of her. After a few phone calls she made sure the woman, suffering a bout of dementia, arrived safely to her assisted living facility in a cab.
    • In one, a creepy guy was stalking the OP while she was waiting for her train. She asked if she could sit with another guy her age, and they could pretend to be friends. He played along until the creepy guy went away and her train arrived.
  • Interrupted Suicide: At least one story has a guy that convinced another person to not jump off a bridge, and another who stayed with a depressed person while on door-to-door rounds.
  • Karmic Jackpot: A photographer stayed after hours to do a photoshoot of a terminally ill girl, even though her mother didn't have an appointment, because his waiting list was so long he was worried she wouldn't live long enough. He refused payment, because it was the right thing to do. She and her mother came back months later, revealing she had recovered, and the mother tried paying him again. Again, he refused, and she insisted on taking him out to dinner to thank him. They got married, and the photo of his stepdaughter on a unicorn is still in their living room, though now she groans at it with embarrassment every time he good-naturedly points it out to her friends.
  • Sincerity Mode: In "A Heady Proposition", a customer is panicking over the fact that his photo for a dating site was improperly cropped. Since the customer had his digital camera, the clerk told him to stand near a backdrop and took a photo of him. The customer's mood changed and offered to make him best man at his wedding. The clerk said that wasn't necessary, a card would do. Nine months later, the customer's wife came and dropped off a wedding card to the clerk as thanks.
  • Supreme Chef:
    • At a pizza place, a mother whose daughter was in the hospital said that her kid wanted rainbow pizza as a birthday meal. She said she understood if they couldn't do it, but the chefs became excited at the challenge. The end result -- with peppers, purple cauliflower, and so forth-- apparently came out so well that they added it to the menu.
    • Grandma's Cake Cures All has the OP adding their grandmother's apple cake to a bakery menu. One customer buys it and says happily that it tastes exactly like the cake that his grandmother used to make; she passed away a few years ago, but eating the cake brought back happy memories of her. He became a regular, buying a piece every week after the OP received permission to pass on the recipe to him]].

Not Always Working

  • Cruel to Be Kind: In "Scared Straight", the OP does this after a neighbor's son, whom he recommends for a position, gets him pulled into a discipline meeting. Management mistook him for being the son's father, and said he was untrainable. OP corrected them and recommended they fire the neighbor's son because he got him this job as a favor and in response the kid had been bratty. Management agreed to give him a second chance. The son shaped up, became nicer and a hard worker, and started saving for his own car.
  • Scare'Em Straight: The title "Scared Straight" has this where the OP delivered this to his neighbor's son. He recommended the son for the job position, so he would have motivation to earn more in life. Said son would show up late to work, complain regularly, and not do his job. To add insult to injury, OP was driving him to and from work as a favor. When management pulled them in for a meeting after three months, the OP clarified that the employee was not his son and they recommended that the managers fire him. Management was so shocked they agreed to give the son a second chance. The son was so shocked he'd have to pay consequences that he agreed to shape up, and honored that promise.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: "Someone's in Very Hot Water" A manager on a power trip made a teenage employee attendant work outside moving carts during a heatwave. While the employee was following these orders, they were written up for taking a break after two hours of moving carts. A gentleman noticed two hours later, ordered them to go back inside with water, and became livid when finding out the manager fired them. Turns out he was the regional director, and happened to catch the manager in the act of yelling at the teenage employee for coming back and trying to not die of heatstroke. “YOU GOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO TELL ME, [MANAGER]?!” he bellowed at her, before screaming at her further, and ordering the teen to take a break now for thirty minutes and work in the frozen food section for the rest of their shift. The manager was suspended and later fired post-suspension since it was revealed she was working teen employees beyond Florida's mandatory limits.

Not Always Legal

  • They Just Don't Get It: In "Sometimes You Just Have To Bear With Them", the OP dialed 911 for Animal Control after a bear broke into her basement, because per the state regulations you can only get Animal Control from emergency services. The operator kept asking questions about the "intruder" and asking for a description of a human, as OP tried to emphasize that it was a bear. When the police came, the operator hadn't conveyed that it was an Animal Control problem; OP showed them and one freaked out saying, "Oh, you meant a bear bear?" OP responded with frustration, "What kind of bear did you think I meant? A big, hairy, gay guy?!"
  1. Though this one may just have meant she was not trying either way. And take "still having her period" as evidence she wasn't pregnant at the time
  2. While some US states do allow alcohol purchases at age 18, and others have in the past, Nevada--where this incident takes place--is not and has never been one of them.