"Customer Disservice: Because we're not satisfied until you're not satisfied."
Particularly notorious in restaurants, but really can pop up in any kind of sales establishment. This is the customer who expects
that the customer is always right to the point that it reaches the extreme of "everyone on staff must be wrong."
There are at least four different types of Unsatisfiable Customer
. These are as follows:
- The picky type. In a restaurant, these customers will make excessively long or complicated orders, and they will send the food back repeatedly if it is not made to their overly-precise specifications.
- The bossy type. They may not make overly complicated orders, but if any tiny little thing is wrong (in their view), they will take it out on the poor employee who has the unenviable job of waiting on them.
- The picky and bossy type. Heaven help the person who has to deal with these customers. They will give the ridiculously complicated orders and then, once they find something "wrong" (as they inevitably will), will berate and abuse the hapless server trying to do the impossible.
- The fraudulent type. These are the people who order a meal, eat half of it, and then use some pretense to demand a second dish and/or a refund — and they will chew out the waitstaff if they don't get it.
Generally a Comedy Trope
. Note that, in order to qualify for this trope, the complaints must be completely specious in the eyes of the audience.
Truth in Television
, and there are entire sites
devoted to examples of these unpleasant persons.
Not to be confused with the Fire-Breathing Diner
, who may have every reason to complain (after he gets a drink of water). The Unsatisfiable Customer
is usually not Nice to the Waiter
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- A classic cartoon posted in countless places of business depicts an employee at the Complaints Desk confronting a sour-faced older female customer:
"All right, Ma'am, suppose I refund your money, send you another one without charge, close the store, and have the manager shot — would that be satisfactory?"
- The cast of Retail deals with these on a regular basis.
- Ultimate Spider Woman: Mary Jane Watson didn't start out in the best of moods, given that she was called into work on her day off. And then there was the fact that she was stressing about everything from her grades to her money problems to her career to her mother's therapy. And then there was the fact that she ended up being late for work, getting yelled at by her boss in the process, because she had to stop a bank robbery as Spider-Woman. And then there was the fact that two of the other waitresses had to go home sick, forcing Mary Jane to cover for them, to the point where she didn't get a break all night. When one particularly obnoxious customer kept demanding for one particular brand of coffee even after Mary Jane repeatedly tried to tell her they were all out, it's not hard to see why she finally exploded and yelled at the customer. Unfortunately, her boss didn't see it that way, and took the $200 gift certificate he gave the customer out of Mary Jane's salary.
Films — Live-Action
- In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Brad works at two fast food restaurants. At the first one, he is fired after being forced into an argument by an overly demanding customer.
- In the movie Waiting, the staff does some nasty things to the food of a woman who endlessly complains about small flaws. Never piss off the people that handle your food.
- Sally is like this in When Harry Met Sally.
- The remake of Fun With Dick And Jane has Jane (who, in this incarnation, works in a travel agency) repeatedly dealing with customers like this, one before she quits her job on the phone on a plane literally shrieking about how he has a kosher meal in front of him, even telling the flight attendant talking to him on the other end to grow up in response to her telling him to grow up.
- At the beginning of Victor/Victoria, Victoria attempts the fraudulent variation while dining with Carroll, slipping a cockroach into her salad. The restaurant owner tells her that two other customers have attempted the same ruse and it's not going to work, but then the cockroach climbs up the leg of another diner, and during the resulting melee they're able to escape.
- Super Troopers has Rod Farva as this at a burger joint, although it's a pretty mild example. However, then he starts ordering things that aren't on the menu, such as "liter of cola". The guy at the counter has no idea what a liter is, and Farva just gets more and more wound up. He does calm down, eventually, and sits down to eat... Then the guy at the counter makes a mistake of putting a hole in his cup. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle. He did take the idea of having his burger spat into surprisingly well, though.
Dimpus Burger Guy: Beverage?
Farva: Gimme a litre o' cola.
Dimpus Burger Guy: What?
Farva: [Annoyed] A litre o' cola.
Dimpus Burger Guy: [into mic] Litrecola? Do we sell litrecola?
Ramathorn: Will you just order a large, Farva?
Farva: I don't want a large farva. I want a goddamn litre o' cola!
Dimpus Burger Guy: [to Farva] I don't know what that is!
Farva: [slowly starts shouting] Litre is French for... [grabs burger kid by shirt] give me my fuckin' cola before I break VOUS FUCKIN' LIP!
- Any time in an Emma Lathen novel when John Putnam Thatcher goes to a restaurant with recurring minor character Tom Robichaux, you'll see this. Robichaux, a gourmet, is always criticizing the food.
- The Screwtape Letters has Wormwood's target's mother as a type one. She's a specific sort of glutton - she insists on very small portions and has a fit if she thinks there's too much on the plate. Screwtape notes that her son hates her for this, even though he never says anything.
- "Ace" Quiggle in Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit – Will Travel repeatedly harasses the main character, who works as a soda jerk at a pharmacy. Though in this case, he's obviously doing it to be a jerk, and the pharmacy owner specifically tells the protagonist that he can kick customers like that out if he wants to.
- In The Witches, one client is apparently this, complaining that her steak is too dry. So the waiter takes back to the kitchen has the entire staff spit in it, and returns it. Later he reports that she likes it just fine now.
- Sesame Street has a recurring series of Muppet sketches featuring Grover as a waiter in a restaurant, attempting to serve a fussy customer (portrayed by the ubiquitous "Fat Blue" Muppet, and unofficially known as Mr. Johnson, or Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele). The early skits played the trope straight, but as time went on the conflict began to center more around Grover's confusion or incompetence as opposed to the customer's unreasonableness.
- A popular fan theory is that Grover's doing it on purpose in these later skits with Obfuscating Stupidity to get back at Mr. Johnson for treating Grover so badly in the first place. One skit depicting Grover working at a fried chicken restaurant has a sign on the wall depicting him as Employee Of The Month, despite his needing Mr. Johnson to explain the difference between "empty" and "full" buckets of chicken.
- The Mass Effect series has the memetic "Refund Guy" who wouldn't be as much of a hassle if he actually kept his receipts. In Mass Effect 3, you can either help him or tell him to give up. You then find out that he was trying to get a refund on a toaster oven that cost 15 credits.
- In his defense? He claims there was no receipt in the first place.
- Something Positive: While working at a Burger Fool, Mike comes across one of these, who is moronic and racist to boot. So he sticks his dick in the guy's soda.
- The Simpsons: Homer gets on a bag boy's nerves before a Halfway Plot Switch sends the family on an African Safari.
Homer: Wait — I changed my mind. Stack it in the order I'll eat it driving home.
Bag Boy 1: Sir, please! I already bagged it by color, and in order of each item's discovery by man.
Homer: Customer's always right; that's what everybody likes about us. Now, mush!
Homer: (poking Bag Boy 1 with a french loaf) Hurry up! I can't stand here jabbing you all day.
Bag Boy 1: That's it. On behalf of Sack Stuffers Local 199, I'm calling a strike!
- In the more "picky," rather than "bossy" vein, a few SpongeBob SquarePants episodes have plots centered around this. Notably with Bubblebass and Bubble Buddy.
- Bubblebass is so bad, he actually wound up sending SpongeBob into a Heroic BSOD. Bubblebass is more Type Four since he in fact hidden the pickles under his tongue the whole time (along with someone's car keys), either to gain a refund (and thus a free Krabby Patty) or just to Mind Screw SpongeBob For the Lulz.
- The guy from "Pizza Delivery" comes to mind. Whether he is Type Three or Four is never delved upon (he asks for a pizza delivery from a restaurant that doesn't deliver OR make pizzas and then berates SpongeBob to point of tears for forgetting a soda he didn't even order), though is likely meant to be an extreme parody of all the above. Fortunately, Squidward convinced the customer to take the pizza "on the house".
- Family Guy: Peter tried to teach Chris how to be a Type Four by planting a dead guy in the soup bowl. Unfortunately, Chris' prop hadn't actually died yet...
- In the episode "Suited for Success" in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Rarity's attempts to design new dresses for her friends turns them all into Unsatisfiable Customers with vague, tacky, or impractical suggestions which nearly drive her to distraction. After seeing the reception their own designs get, they gratefully accept her original offerings, while for her part Rarity learns that she can't please everypony.
- The Powerpuff Girls: In Not So Awesome Blossom, our carrot-topped little champion feels that she can't do anything right, runs away from home and eventually gets a job at a place called Hot Dog On A Skewer. The customers obviously see Blossom as inept in that job as she, being the only employee seen, cannot do three things at once (the capper having her throw a mustard bottle to the ground in disgust and having it squirt in her face).
- Invader Zim: YOU HAVE YOUR SLAW, SIR!
- While not technically a customer, in one episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Muriel gets changed into a toddler after being sucked up by a tornado. At one point she declares she's hungry, and Courage goes about making her some cheese and macaroni, with her constantly stating more/less cheese/macaroni. Finally, she cries out "Perfect!" and then throws it in Courage's face, stating she hates cheese and macaroni. The things he does for love.