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January 24, 2015

“The customer is always right” … or maybe not.


THE FAMED BUSINESS MOTTO:

“The customer is always right.”  
     
Harry Gordon Selfridge (1857-1947)
       US-born British businessman and founder of the Selfridges store chain 
       This famous business motto
is traditionally attributed to Selfridge and was popularized by him. However, as noted by the great Phrase Finder site and other sources, Selfridge may have shoplifted the saying from American department store magnate Marshall Field, who Selfridge worked for as a young man.


PETER’S RULE:

“Peter’s Salesmanship Rule: The customer is always ripe.”
       Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990)

       Canadian educator and author best known as the creator of
“The Peter Principle” 
       His wry version of the famed business motto, in his book
Peter's Almanac (1982)


DOGBERT’S RULES:

“There are two essential rules of management.
  One: the customer is always right.
  Two: they must be punished for their arrogance.”

       Dogbert 
       A variation once posited by the hilariously evil canine cartoon character in Scott Adams’
Dilbert comic strips.


LE VERSION FRANCAISE:

“France...a country where shop-owners seem to be guided by the credo that the customer is always, incontrovertibly wrong.” 
       Ruadhán Mac Cormaic
       Irish journalist
      
In his column in The Irish Times, March 1, 2010


THE SALES CLERKS' COUNTERQUOTE:

"Whoever said 'the customer is always right' clearly never worked with the public a day in their life."
       A "Rottenecard" that most current and former employees of any type of retail outlet can relate to.

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