More respect needed for people in service industry

As a Bruneian, I’m proud that we’re known for our hospitality and politeness. However, there have been instances where the behaviours displayed by certain locals make me wonder if the reputation holds true.

It is more commonly seen in their interactions with customer-facing employees, such as bank tellers, cashiers and waiting staff. Sure, there’s the saying that customers are always right. But to bully people who are merely trying to do their jobs is beyond comprehension.

Take for example a recent event I witnessed at a financial institution. An employee informed a customer that his application was still pending. Instead of accepting the answer and thanking the employee, he went on a rage and threatened to report the employee to her superior.

It was completely unnecessary as the employee was merely doing her job: serving as the middleperson between the customer and the officer responsible for the application.

Another instance was at a café. Perhaps there was some confusion in the customer’s order.

But after a long while of waiting for his drink, he lost his patience and took it out on the first waitress he could find. The poor girl had no choice but to take it, since it was her job to be polite with customers at all times.

I find it deeply unfair that people in customer service jobs have to bear the brunt of individuals who feel entitled enough to demand that their instant gratification be met. Sure, it could be argued that these customer-facing employees knew what they signed up for. But they are humans, just like us. Just because someone is a waitress or a cashier shouldn’t mean that they are beneath those from the white collar world.

As a population, we need to show more respect towards others. There’s no reason to push a person around simply because he or she is deemed a member of a lower socio-economic bracket. A little common courtesy would be nice next time your bank card isn’t issued as soon as you expect, or if your lunch order is misplaced at an eatery.

Justice Warrior