We’re not sure we’d go so far as to say the customer is always right. After all, customers are people. And people (like us) have a way of being … well … unreasonable at times. It’s part of our nature as human beings. It’s in our wiring.
On the other hand, the market is always right. The reason is pretty simple: In the market, people decide the amount of money they’re willing to exchange for the goods and services they want. If they really want them, no price is too high. If they really don’t want them, no price is low enough. Unlike the periodic unreasonableness of human beings, the market retains a dispassionate equilibrium. That’s why sellers of any product or service have to keep cool heads when they get complaints from more than the occasionally unreasonable customer.
Here’s an example from our collective experience: Back in the day (think Dark Ages) when suits and ties were the uniform of the day for working members of the male persuasion, we were regular customers of a local dry-cleaning establishment. One day, we walked into said establishment with an armload of shirts in need of laundering and flopped them down on the counter.
“Good morning,” we chirped naively. “We’d like to have these shirts laundered and put on hangers. No starch, please.”
The woman behind the counter looked at the pile of shirts, then looked at us. The glare in her eyes turned our knees to jelly and demagnetized the strip on our credit card. “Do you have any idea how hard I’m going to have to work?” she asked menacingly.
“So sorry,” we said. “Are you asking us to take our business elsewhere?”
Think about it: If you’re a seller of anything, your customer has two roles — buyer and messenger. As a seller, you’d be foolish to shoot the messenger. As someone who, presumably, wanted to stay in business, you’d be professionally suicidal.
We’re not suggesting you surrender to the Verbal Abuse Patrol. But in a market that has no human emotion, keeping a cool head can help you keep a full wallet.