Post # 1
I am on fire…two threads in one evening!
So, in the news in the UK this week has been a story about two men who were given a free lunch after a sales assistant refused to serve them based on one man’s political beliefs/activism.
In short, there is a protest group called the English Defence League. Their aim, according to their website, is to peacefully protest against Islamic extremism. Their protests often involve street marches through predominantly Islamic areas, and many members are often arrested for violence and criminal damage.
Anyway. The founder of the EDL and a friend went to Selfridges (quite nice, upmarket department store). A Muslim member of staff recognised the founder, refused to serve his companion and threw a few choice words into the mix. The staff member was temporarily suspended, and the two men were given a steak lunch as an apology for the staff member’s refusal to serve them.
I’ve read some commentary which says, customer service is customer service, regardless of the views of the person you’re serving and staff have no right to be rude and swear at customers. Others have said the staff member was right to stand up to them and Selfridges was wrong to foot the bill for an £80 lunch.
So, keeping everything nice and friendly…what do you think? Should the staff member have been suspended? Does the fact that they got a free lunch out of it change anything?
ETA: The employee was in the menswear section when he refused to serve them, I believe. The men were given lunch at the restaurant afterwards as an apology.
Post # 3
I’d have spat on their steak back in the kitchen!
(I shall return with a more balanced reply after dinner!)
Post # 4
The staff member has the right to do whatever he wants, but he also needs to accept the consequences. Given how he is merely an employee, his personal beliefs should theoretically be put aside once he punches in the clock.
So yeah, he was wrong in refusing the men service because it’s not his job to patrol the patrons. That’s just my opinion 🙂
Post # 5
@MrsSancerre: Yep, he was rightfully suspended. He was at work, representing a company. This man had no right to suggest the beliefs of the company he works for. Work is work. If he wants to have choice words with someone it better be off company time, off company property and out of company branded clothing. End of story.
Post # 6
I think the staff member had a right to refuse to serve them personally, but not to refuse them service at the restaurant. He should have gone to a manager with his concerns and had them assign a different employee to the table.
Post # 7
Had he just refused to serve them and asked for another server to be assigned that table, fine. It was the few choice words that he said to them that makes me ok with him being suspended.
Post # 8
@MrsSancerre: I’m of the opinion that Customer Service is Customer Service. Selfridges, in my opinion, was correct. The employee should not have spoken to them that way – I haven’t read anything about this situation other that what the OP said.
There are many people with whom I have a different opinion politically or otherwise, that doesn’t mean that I have the right to refuse them service in my job or speak poorly to them, and likewise I expected to be treated with respect. It’s really not any different that refusing to serve someone based on their race.
Post # 9
Working in customer service sometimes you have to play nice with assholes. You slap on a fake smile, power through it, and then vent with your coworkers or friends later. I can’t tell you the sort of stuff I’ve had to listen to.
If the employee really felt uncomfortable he should have asked another associate to do that order, or have gotten the manager. Had this guy made comments directly at the employee, such as a racist remark, swearing, etc, then I could understand his reaction.
Post # 10
Unless the two man were throwing insults at the employee directly while at the restuarant he is at work at if he felt uncomfortable serving these people should have politely excused himself and asked someone else to take care of it instead of refusing service all together.
Post # 11
@Eckle: Sorry, I may not have made it clear! The employee refused to serve them in the department store (menswear I think). They complained, and as a result of the complaint were treated to lunch at the restaurant, by way of apology.
@Glasgowbound: I agree. I may have got another colleague to deal with them if I wasn’t comfortable, but I certainly wouldn’t have resorted to swearing at them.
Post # 12
@Eckle: Totally agree with this.
Post # 13
@MrsSancerre: Ahh, we he still should have gotten another employee to serve them. Swear at your customers is always a bad idea.
Post # 14
why on eath would these two approach a muslim staff member for help? Seems like maybe they wanted to stir trouble.
Unfortunately, in the service industry you’re supposed to serve everyone. It sucks sometimes.
Post # 15
Honestly, he gets paid to help people in the department store, he doesn’t get to choose who he helps and who he refuses service to (no matter how stong his beliefs differ or how much of an asshole the other person might be). If he didn’t feel he could do this, he should have simply responded to their question with “I’m sorry, I’m not sure, let me find someone who can help you better” and found someone else or a manager who could step in.
Post # 16
I would have tried to find someone else to take care of them… Or rubbed my junk on the clothes before letting them try it on.
But I wouldn’t have sworn at them. That just reinforces their horrible, racist beliefs!