As mystery shoppers, we know that employees are expected to say certain things and ask certain questions when they interact with customers. For example, they may ask questions to lead to suggestive selling, such as, “Would you like to make that a combo?” or questions about preferences, such as the kind of bread you want in your sandwich.
One New York professor decided that a Starbucks employee asking if she wanted butter or cream cheese on her bagel was an outrage. According to a report in the New York Post, Lynne Rosenthal ordered a toasted multigrain bagel — and became enraged when the barista followed up by asking, “Do you want butter or cheese?”
“I just wanted a multigrain bagel,” Rosenthal told The Post. “I refused to say ‘without butter or cheese.’ When you go to Burger King, you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want.” She also has a long-standing tradition of refusing to use Starbucks terminology such as Grande or Venti when ordering. She’s quite the rebel, this one.
As well as refusing to answer a simple question about her preference, Rosenthal screamed at the barista and escalated the situation until the manager called the police. Police told her to leave or be arrested, according to Rosenthal.
My first thought on reading this was that she is an arrogant bi—, but never mind my first thought. My second thought was that she is just flat wrong.
First of all, most people do not want their bagel served dry. They want butter, cream cheese, jelly or something on it. Asking means the barista can give the customer exactly what they want.
Secondly, getting angry, screaming and calling an employee an a–h— (as she is reported to have done) for trying to serve you is simply obnoxious. Even if this were an upsell (“Do you want the combo?”) a simple, “No, thank you,” handles the situation, and does not result in the police being called to toss you from the premises.
Third, you do have to tell Burger King what you don’t want on your burger. If you order a burger, you do not get a plain patty. You get a patty on a sesame seed bun, topped with mustard, ketchup and pickles. Heck, they might even ask if you want cheese on it, or if you want fries. The nerve!
People complain about the quality of service in many businesses these days, and it is true that there are employees who do not give a whit about being helpful to customers. However, there are also customers who are rude, arrogant and just plain nasty to service employees.
“Linguistically, it’s stupid, and I’m a stickler for correct English,” said Rosenthal. But apparently she is not a stickler for accuracy, common courtesy or simple human decency.
Is the customer always right? Absolutely not. And certainly not if the customer is Lynne Rosenthal. She says she will never set foot in a Starbucks again. Good news for Starbucks, not so good news for Dunkin’ Donuts.