MUCH has been said about lousy customer service but shoppers, too, can be a nasty bunch.
When I trade gossip with my pals in the retail industry, one topic that always gets the conversation going are stories about customers from hell.
Most stories revolve around penny-pinching customers who will go to great lengths for a freebie.
Beauty brands, with their generous displays of testers at their counters, seem to be particularly susceptible to miserly customers who give new meaning to the phrase "stretching your dollar".
I've heard countless laments about customers who show up with near-empty bottles asking for refunds, claiming that the product gave them allergies.
Could it be that they develop allergies whenever it is time to stock up on supplies?
Then there are those who take empty containers to the counters and proceed to empty the contents of the tester bottles into their own tubs.
Now, if anybody reading this thinks this is a brilliant idea, I strongly recommend that you take a moment to think about the number of people before you who have dipped their fingers into those lotions and potions.
Some blatantly flaunt their freeloading ways.
There is one woman who is known to visit the various counters of a certain luxury beauty brand for her regular beauty ritual.
She zooms in on its most expensive cream, scoops out as much of it as she can from the tester jar and proceeds to slather it all over her face and body, oblivious to the looks of disgust around her.
The beauty assistants have since wised up. Now, when they see her striding purposefully towards them, someone will discreetly hide the top-dollar sample and politely tell her that they have run out of it.
Fashion retailers get their fair share of nasty customers too, especially those who resort to emotional blackmail to get their way.
You know, those who start raising their voices to cause a scene in the middle of a store, as a spoilt brat is wont to do.
Store managers fear such customers because they disrupt business and may affect other shoppers, but accept this as part and parcel of their job.
However, there is one shopper who has made a name for herself as the customer from hell.
Having studied law in school, she is known to use her legal expertise to terrorise hapless service staff.
She has been known to send letters to the management demanding an explanation — or compensation — should she think that service standards are lacking.
These days, sales staff everywhere have learnt to be on their toes when they see her.
Good for her but I do feel sorry for her. Why?
Sure, she may get polite and efficient service but with everyone quaking in her shadow, she will never experience truly good service that comes from the heart.