The term “ the customer is always right” is a slogan that has rung loud and clear with the self-rightous customers since the invention of the shopfront. Much of the time – the customer is right – poor service or low product quality has caused them to make complaint and to demand a refund or replacement.

Yet, now is much different to ten or fifteen years. Now the consumer is more empowered than they have been for 50 years via the omnipresence of digital media platforms. Every Tom, Dick & Harriet has been given a pedestal to share their two cents. And they deserve it, for too long following the modernisation of markets have the cries of consumers been drowned out by tidal waves of adverts and misinformed product launches. We are now in an age of mass broadcast where every single one of us has the potential to be publically voiced whether it is on a blog or a business’s Facebook page – our opinions can count for more than a couple of bucks.

Whilst I ravel-ravel amongst the masses to many a consumer injustice, (Cadbury’s 30g bar decrease, Samsung’s listening) an unbalance of power is beginning to erupt. The corruption pertains in particular to the overzealous, overtimed individual that uses this swing to satisfy his or her own undeserving vendetta.

There are some battles so small that I cannot understand any reason other than an inherent need to perpetually complain (arising from any number of existential issues of mediocrity) that would propel such actualisations of argument as onion being partially rotten on the inside (such things are extremely difficult for any business to determine, regardless of their scaling).

It is most disappointing to see an unwarranted attack on a small business, especially when the point of conflict is a by-product of the incompetence of the consumer. The onion, for example, is far easier to identify when it is in your hand – if you buy it that is your failure to recognise a singular below par specimen, not the grocer who ordered in over 1000 of the otherwise perfectly good vegetable.

Beyond tangible products, service is another area that often sees businesses copping flack on a social media or review platform. Manners are definitely at the forefront of this war and that is simply a two way street. Be nice to the person selling you something, because they are probably trying to be nice to you. Mutual interests in being polite, alongside compassion on even the tightest of margins are always earned and repaid.

Alas, perhaps working within a digital management capacity I am more reactive to e-complaints or maybe what I am saying has some warrant. What do you think? Are customers desperately trying to capture some gratification when they slander a restaurant for not answering their phone? Or should be they be more responsive in today’s 24 hour cycles?

Is it rude to be rude back? Or is that a matter of self-respect?