June 6th, 2001


What is a Customer?

Today, I received the following memo from the CEO of my company:


What is a Customer?

A customer is more than someone who pays money in exchange for our goods and services. Honest. Please throw away your dictionary.

A customer is the central part of our business. Far more important than we are. We're bastards for even thinking of taking their money. We should give it back.

When a customer asks us to do something for them, they are actually doing us a favor. This is because we're actually the customers, and they are us. Please exchange driver's licenses accordingly.

If a customer wears a bright blue tie, we should wear a bright blue tie. If a customer wears a bright green tie, we should wear a green tie as well, but somewhat muted.

All bison are to be considered customers and treated accordingly.

A customer can go to our competitors, but we cannot go to other customers. We signed a really dumb contract, you see.

Our primary duty is not to our shareholders, nor to our employees, but to our customers. Shareholders and employees, fuck off. We hate you. Customers are much cooler. And check out the cool tie on that customer!

If a customer had only one eye, they would see the world more clearly. If a customer had three eyes, they would sue us. They would sue the crap out of us. Keep that in mind every time you talk with a customer.

When talking with a customer, remember to say thank you. Constantly. For things that don't really require thanks. Get their home number and call them at three in the morning just to say thanks. In a really, really sweet voice.

And remember, you are not the customer: the customer is you.


My reply was quick and simple. Unfortunately, CEO suits are made of asbestos, I discovered, so I'm back to work again in the morning.