Why two local businesses have lost me as a customer

In a small community that is highly reliant on the locals for most the year, you would think customers would be more appreciated. Where I live is a seasonal area. People flock here from May to October and make our small community a booming night club/summer destination. So much so the locals will drive an extra 20 minutes to avoid town during these times. Weekends and holidays are the busiest times we try to avoid the crowds. But for the rest of the year, the businesses rely solely on locals. I have always been a supporter of local small business. But lately I have not been impressed. 

For the winter months many local businesses do not take the chance. They close up and only re-open when the weather is nice and the business is guaranteed. So the ones who remain open are usually full of locals. They do quite well. Being a small community means the people you support are your children’s friends parents, friends, neighbours and in turn they support you. You see them at the bank, in line at the grocery store and even at birthday parties. Supporting local benefits all. 

But two local restaurants have lost my business, forever. 


Situation 1

A local family owned restaurant that has a specialty menu, amazing history and great food. Their prices are a bit high but the quality is great, staff friendly (usually) and they are consistent. A great restaurant to take visiting family and friends. Plus they have amazing specials. Yummy home cooked meals and specialty items are on the menu. 

The last time I went I was alone. I stopped in at lunch for a quick bite. There were two parties ahead of me in line waiting to be seated. The greeter was very friendly, the server, not so much. She kept sighing loudly every time a new person stepped in. It made us all feel like she did not want another person t walk through the door. Once seated the greeter/hostess brought me a menu and took my drink order. Then the server came over. She was flustered and rushed. She did not mention the specials and she was quick to cut me off. During my meal I had to ask her repeatedly for refills, condiments and my bill. She apologized and said she was very busy and the only one serving tables. I said I understood, no problem but I bet other restaurants wished they were that busy. I then smiled at her to reassure her it was okay. I guess my smile was open invitation for her to vent.

She proceeded to complain about the crowds, the customers personalities, her boss not adding on more staff and even in detail complained about another patron. Way too much information for her to be telling me, a customer. Her actions up to that point would have made me not want to come back. But her inappropriate complaints really turned me away. I can not see myself returning there because of her. 

Situation 2

This one is a bit different. A franchise restaurant, fast food if you like. Locally owned but nationally recognized restaurant. 

Lately, like for the last year they have been cutting corners. Food is out quick and often messed up. Staff has always been friendly and price is right. Because it is a franchise, you know what to expect. A few mess ups have made me stop going for weeks at a time. But the last visit has turned me away for good. I drove through the drive-thu as I was in a hurry. I had to avoid 3 huge pot holes. Pot holes the size of the front of my mid size car. When I reached the window to pay I mentioned the pot holes. The lady who gave me my food and took the money was very understanding. The manager who was standing beside her, and overheard the conversation got defensive. I only mentioned as I was unsure if they knew how bad it was. She gave me an excuse about why they could not fill the holes. The asphalt company is not open she said. I said I know the roads have been filled and there are many local companies doing it. She rolled her eyes at me and her tone was rude and defensive. I have no idea why she would react this way. I said to her that I was worried about my car going through there and others must be too. I was being friendly and just informing her. But her reaction made me not want to go back. The lady who was serving me mouthed “sorry” and was obviously uncomfortable. Who knows, maybe it is the managers family who fills the holes? Either way, I am done with that location. Again, I will drive to the next town if I need to. 

Both situations I think these people need to realize that 1. They are lucky to have year round employment. Many here do not. 2. They are the front people of their work place and their actions reflect their restaurant and their employer. 3. We are a community! If you are rude to a customer chances are this is not the last time you will see them. 

I am not one to just go away. I will be emailing both restaurants letting them know why they will no longer have my business. I think it is needed for their employers to know what is happening in their business. I know I am just one person. But if I experienced this I bet others in the area have as well.

Have you had a bad experience when you tried to support a small or local business? 


  1. lyndac1968 says

    it's sad when one person ruins it for everyone else, I've had the same experience at some places also and will no longer return, one place my mother and I would go once a week just to get out and chat and we placed our orders, the waitress brought my mothers and there I sat waiting, she didn't return till my mother was almost done her lunch and I asked what happened to my order, well apparently she forgot about it and thought it was pretty funny and started laughing, she asked if I still wanted it, well my answer of course was NO why would I order now after my mom was done her meal and I didn't like the fact that she thought it was pretty funny and I never went back there again

  2. Cheryl Grandy says

    I sometimes wonder if owners are aware of how much their employees influence whether or not customers come back. One poor employee can lose a lot of business for them.

  3. I tip 20%, I have had very poor service and in general refer it to a manager if the service is poor enough that if not addressed I will not return. In general you get a second chance but maybe not a third. I have also had situations where you bring something to the managers attention and the reaction and outcome is equally as unsatisfactory. If that is the owner, (or owners family) I quit while I am ahead and do not return, if there is a store manager or owner depending on the circumstance I go to them.
    What is I always do is share both good and bad experiences with my friends, family, and others if appropriate. I also listen to my friends and families experiences, and if they have bad experiences I avoid those business. I wrote a post called I told two friends, and they told two friends and so on … I think you get my point LOL
    Sorry to hear that Kim it is always disappointing but as I say to businesses in situations like these please just put a sign in your window saying you don't want my business/money and save us all some time LOL
    My recent post #EndtheSilence twitter chat on #mentalhealth & #mentalillness twice a month.

  4. I went to a furniture store to purchase a whole house of furniture. We had recently moved across the country and did not move a lot of our old furnishings. I must admit, that I was not dressed up as I had just come from work and wanted to get there fast as they were having a big sale. The salesperson “suggested” that I may want to go to one of the discount furniture stores up the hill. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I said in a very loud voice, so that her boss could hear me. ” I just won $25000 and thought I would spend it in your store, but I will certainly go up the hill. ” The manager chased me to the door, but I was already done. I went back a few weeks later…..different salesperson, but still terrible service.

  5. With 20 years in customer service, I have seen it all. Quite frequently staff face a lack of support and unreal demands from above. We are frequently sandwiched in the middle between management that won't enable the staff to do better or discipline staff that try.. (its making them look bad or fear a conflict, ego-tripping) and customers that feel "entitled" (sometimes with arrogance and ignorance) to the ultimate in customer experience despite company policies, legalities, technological issues. Rudeness is a sign that someone needs a break from the situation, and although it doesn't apply here, some customers need to realize basic service is what they can expect- adding demands onto staff not enabled or permitted to fulfill those requests is a losing and frustrating situation for everyone 🙂 Thanks for listening..

  6. I've experienced similar situations and it's sad customers have to deal with disgruntled employees like this. Obviously they don't see the damage they create, and yes, I have let the owners know. In some cases I have returned and some not. I have encountered owners that don't care, or are protecting a family member. Sad!

  7. Elizabeth Matthiesen says

    I wish this sort of thing didn't happen, there's really no need for it especially in such a small community where practically everyone knows everyone else. Sure people are often over-worked and underpaid in these jobs but at least they do have a job! I remember once on a ferry in Europe that several of my children were sick (very rough seas), one of the staff came to clean up and I apologised and said I'd do it. He was very polite and refused saying that it was his job and he was glad he had it – that impressed me immensely and I have never forgotten it and that was about 20 yrs ago.

  8. I live in a tourist town that has slow seasons too but all our businesses have such trouble finding good staff and we have gotten used to terrible customer service from pretty well every business. There are a few that are really great and we tend to visit them a lot more the the others!

  9. ValleyFamilyFun says

    I think when things like this happen, especially, when we are in a small town, the onus is also on us to write a letter, phone, or tell the management about their experience. How else will they know about the bad employee or bad service experience? They need to know so they can make changes. I say. complain, and then do something about it. Then, if nothing is done, then boycott, I think.

  10. Stephanie LaPlante says

    Rude people really ruin good things. I don't blame you for not wanting to go back at all.

  11. Obviously those businesses are hiring the wrong people. If I were the manager, I would really want to know. I can see how you wouldn't want to go back. I hope when you email them, those businesses take the opportunity to make it right for you and earn your business back.
    My recent post Surround Yourself With Good Stuff from Indigo

  12. directorjewels says

    I just had to find a new hair salon after the girl I've gone to for years quit responding to my messages. It takes me 2-3 times contacting her to get a response, and I just don't have time for that. I'm frustrated because I loved her, but I'm taking my business somewhere I can feel appreciated as a customer. Totally get this post!

  13. Letting the owners and/or franchisor is a good way to let businesses know the specific issues they need to address. Hopefully they'll be able to win you back as a customer.

    (you also have a couple of typos: "He actions up to that point would have made me not want to come back. But he inappropriate complaints..")

  14. nenasinclair says

    Being treated badly like that, I wouldn't go back either. Did you bring to the attention of anyone higher up? I would, they should know what's going on in their respective businesses. I was treated badly, too, by an employee at a local fast food place and didn't go back for 5 years, until they had new staff and new management. I brought it to the attention of their head office, too.

  15. wow – can't believe someone would point out typos!! LMAO

  16. Teresa Claire says

    Good for you! I refuse to pay for services where I don't feel appreciated. There are many shops and restaurants that I don't go to any longer because of poor service.

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