Tilly (geeksicle) wrote in bad_service,

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Is it bad service not to intervene when a paying customer is being bothered by another customer on the premises of your business?

I'm wondering about it because of something that happened to me a little while back and comments I've had on the story since. The guy's behaviour isn't the bad service as he's not an employee, but I'm describing it under the cut in case anyone is interested in context.

I'd placed my order at a local takeout place at about 10 pm and was waiting at a table and reading when another customer came in and made his order. He stared at me for a while and then came to sit at the table I was at. He introduced himself, and I said hello but didn't give me name, and went back to reading my book. He responded by leaning forward so that he rested on his arms, which he crossed over my book. This snapped the spine with an audible crack, which pissed me off. I get grumpy about people not respecting my property or my space, and he'd damaged my book and got so close I could feel his breath on my face in one movement. I asked him to move, and he laughed at me, and started questioning me about my name, where I lived, etc. Annoyed and slightly creeped out, I stood up to move.

Now, the table I'd been sitting at was in a corner with one side touching one wall, and I was in the seat closest to the corner. The way this guy had placed his chair blocked my way out, so I needed him to move unless I was ging to climb over him. Naturally, I asked him to move. He laughed again, and started saying things like "baby, don't be like that, I'm not creepy" (I beg to fucking differ) very loudly and refused to move. I asked him again, and by this point I had the attention of the two other people in the store and the two staff members who were on the counter. They stood there and watched as I got upset because, by this stage, I was very embarrassed and starting to get a little scared. After I asked this guy to move twice more, to no response but laughter and pet names, one of the other customers (who was, fortunately for me, a very tall Samoan guy) came up and told him to "get the fuck out of (my) way". Creepo gave in, and then my rescuer told me that if I didn't want to come back in when my food was ready he'd bring it out to me, which I really appreciated.

basically, I feel that if one customer in a place of business is behaving in a way that is clearly making another customer uncomfortable (and I'm talking doing something directly to that person, not homophobes getting offended because two guys are holding hands while they wait for their order) then the staff at said business should step in and ask the customer doing the bothering to stop it or leave.

What are thoughts on this? Is it bad service to let a customer be harrassed by another customer, or do you treat all customers as equal and refuse to take sides if one is bothering another? Is it even legal to ask a customer to leave if they're upsetting other customers but not physically harming or threatening them?
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