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Hey, Big Shot Business Owner, I have a few things to say to you.

I hate it when you don’t show up on time. I hate it when you’re slow returning my phone calls. I hate it when you point fingers at someone else every time there’s a screw-up. I hate it when I have to pay you more than I expected. I don’t care how valuable your goods and services may be, or what you did for me last year. Business is business. As long as I’m paying for your services, I’m the boss and you are my servant. I hate it when you act like you are the one doing me a favor instead of the other way around.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am YOUR CUSTOMER!

Each transaction makes me king of my tiny domain of commerce. I expect — no, make that DEMAND — to be treated not only with respect but with indulgence.

You see, I don’t have to do business with you. I have my choice of dozens, even hundreds of companies that can do the same thing you do. I love playing them off one another.

Some of you business people spend a fortune on consultants to tell you how to run your business. Did you ever think of asking me, YOUR CUSTOMER, what I think about the way you go about things?

Of course not. You’re all too busy whining about my incessant demands to ask how I look at things. But I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to offer you a peek at how I see things. I should charge a big fee for this consulting service, except most of you are too smug to realize its value.

First of all, for the most part, I don’t give a hoot who I buy from. I don’t care how big you are, how many locations you have or what your stock trades for on Wall Street. I don’t care how long you’ve been in business and I don’t care if you suckered my granddaddy and daddy to buy your stuff for years. All I care about is Numero Uno — how I get treated, the quality of the goods and services I buy, how well you cater to my comfort and convenience. And, of course, how much I have to pay, although that’s not as important as most of you think it is. I hate paying too much for anything. But even more, I hate paying even a penny only to be treated like some insect crawling around your money-making enterprise.

My budget is as stretched as anyone else’s — and I’m not talking only about money. I’m also referring to my time budget and my hassles budget. I want to do business with people who make it easy for me to do business with them.

Let me tell you something about myself. I love being THE CUSTOMER. (I know I identified myself as YOUR CUSTOMER, but the truth is you’ll have to work hard to earn my loyalty.)

Being THE CUSTOMER makes up for a lot of things that go wrong in life. My wife may nag me, the kids may not listen to me, the boss may be on my back, but as long as I control some almighty bucks, I am a person with authority. Money is power. It enables me to distribute or withhold my favors as I see fit. It entitles me to give guff rather than take it.

I love watching businesses stumble all over themselves trying to please me. I love rewarding the ones that jump though my hoops and, let’s be clear about this, I take a bit of sadistic joy in dismissing those who don’t.

Yessirree, I love being THE CUSTOMER.

It’s time you learned to love me, too.

Yours truly,

CC

P.S. Oh, I want to thank the folks at Plumbinginfo.com for giving me this forum to sound off. They run a nice business and haven’t done anything to annoy me. So far.

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