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Rude customers can be money in the bank for servers, Calgary study suggests

Rude customers can be money in the bank for servers, Calgary study suggests
From CBC - August 10, 2017

For University of Calgary associate professor Sandy Hershcovis, real events inspiredherstudy into the impact of watching other customers act rudely.

"It actually comes somewhat from my own experiences, back in the day 25 years ago, I worked in retail myself and I had to deal with a few choice customers," Hershcovis told CBC Calgary News at 6 on Thursday.

"One of the things that helped was fellow customers came up to me afterwards and sort of empathized, and said 'Oh my god, I ca not believe that happened.' I sort of wondered, how do customers react when they witness fellow customers mistreat servers?"

So she set out to find the answers.

Hershcovis is the lead researcher of When Fellow Customers Behave Badly: Witness Reactions to Employee Mistreatment by Customers, just published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

They hired an actor to play the rude customer and Hershcovis' grad student played the server. Another researcher observed how other customers reacted.

"It was incivility, so people on their cell phone while talking to servers, people using sarcastic tones and those sorts of things, so it was not really terrible stuff," she said.

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