The customer is always right

I'M SURE we all agree with Colin Drury (Jan 5) about pushy shop assistants, but it isn't always their fault. It is usually the one in charge of staff training who is to blame.

In the 70s, I worked in a shoe shop that had been run very successfully for about 70 years. Then, a new area manager came on the scene with big ideas of how we should approach customers. Our manageress told him it wouldn't work in a town where we knew 90 per cent of our regulars by their Christian name. When the shop bell rang I went to serve, knowing he was listening and I was being tested.

Our customer was someone I had known all my life and had lived in our street for many years. When I approached her with "Good morning madam, can I help you?" she stared at me and in her blunt Yorkshire manner said "Don't put on yer airs and graces wi' me, not when we were in the same class together."

Result: one indignant customer, one red faced area manager and three delighted shop assistants who never stopped laughing all day.

Happy days.

G Crossland, Victoria Road, S36

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