Consumerism or Stoicism?

Recently I came across a rather disturbing incident that happened to one of our senior tutors. She explained how she lost her online job due to the arrogance and apathy of an indifferent customer who supposedly thought she owns people. These could be a variety of people- customer service, managers, senior members of a business she is buying services from or anyone else as long as she is “paying the money to buy”.  Here is what happened:

Deena Sangha

One of our recent experiences was with a woman who approached our tutor for a Punjabi lesson (for your information- she charges $15 per lesson. I just had to talk about the service here. I just can’t miss out on such a brilliant marketing opportunity for her). The customer needed our tutor to teach her along with her 2 kids all at the same time. She basically wanted to take 3 classes for the price of 1. I don’t really blame her. Its the mentality with which you are brought up shapes you. Moreover, some people are so overwhelmed with consumerism especially in North America that they don’t understand where to draw a line and who they are sponging off of. For them, its “Black Friday” year round, everywhere. After all a cent saved is a cent earned or was it “a dollar saved is a dollar earned”?

Despite our tutor’s not so pleasant past experiences with group classes, she agreed for it (as she did not want to disappoint her). She has had a record of NEVER missing a class and always being on time in the last 7 years of association with us.

However, on this special occasion she had to step out and could not make it back home by the time her lesson became due. She did, very promptly send her an email though. The email was delivered about 10 minutes before the class, which is obviously not right as the customer should have been informed at least an hour in advance, but it was somehow meant to happen just like it did.

The interesting thing is the customer’s reaction to that. She was fuming with anger calling our most professional tutor “unprofessional”. She had duly apologized twice in the email and had told her that she would be happy to reschedule the class for a later point in time whenever convenient to her. However, the customer needed a refund, which was issued the very same day. Some would think the episode was over, but not quite; as she had kind words to say about the tutor.

She gave her the poorest rating completely misusing her right to rate on the website our tutor is associated with and where she had taken several lessons and built a reputation over the last 5 years as the rating is applicable for completed lessons. She alleged that the tutor did not show up for the class despite the fact that she was duly informed and requested of the class being rescheduled. She must have been really disappointed as she said her friends made fun of her Punjabi and I think she had also mentioned in her emails she intended to learn the whole Punjabi language that day. It must have been a heart break.

Obviously, the tutor was extremely upset on getting the rating as it hurts her overall rating due to a single negative feedback, but still she wrote her an email humbly asking her to correct her feedback (as there had not been a class) and also what happened to her due to rescheduling of the class had not caused her any “personal harm”, but a rating downgrade would cause our tutor a grave personal harm since it had taken her years to build her reputation. We expected a little empathy from her, but this was the day of never ending surprises.

She wrote back in an extremely rude manner saying we had no right to email her and it just showed how unprofessional our tutor was. She contacted the company and now the tutor has lost her teaching account with the company as they have permanently closed down her account on her request.

What we learn from this experience is that it won’t hurt to be a little more empathetic as nobody likes pain in the ass (pardon my french) customers whether you are a beginner or a big billion dollar corporation. Customers are entitled to their respect, but so are the companies/freelancers. Its a business relationship after all. Its a transaction wherein, we as businesses deliver services in exchange for a fee. However, a business relationship becomes complicated when a customer starts taking out their frustration of life on their business associates and starts behaving completely unreasonably, overstepping the line.

A woman for example who is being ignored by her husband or someone who is constantly being rebuked by her teenage kids may start demanding unreasonably unattainable things from her business associates, colleagues or friends . Most times we don’t point it out and try to cooperate as much as we can, because its not exactly polite to tell anyone “sorry madam, we can not longer work with you because your attitude sucks”.

I do not blame you Deena Sangha who is sitting several miles away from here in Calgary, Alberta. I completely understand you are disturbed with your life and we still have our best wishes for you.

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