Woman Berating Staff For Free Food Sparks Debate Over 'Customer is Right'

A video showing a woman berating a Subway employee over a chocolate chip cookie has gone viral on social media.

The video was posted to TikTok by Andrew Broussard (@mrandrewb1998), one of the Subway customers present during the tense exchange. It has garnered over 500,000 views and sparked a heated debate amongst commenters about whether or not the customer was right to yell at the worker. You can view the video here.

The argument all started after the woman tried to redeem a couple of coupons. In the video, she tells the worker she has a coupon for a "free cookie with any purchase," and demands a chocolate chip cookie, but the employee refuses to give it to her.

"It says one coupon per customer, right?" the employee asked the woman, insinuating she was trying to coupon stack. "We can't give it to you with this purchase—"

Upset restaurant customer
A video showing a woman berating a Subway customer over a chocolate chip cookie has gone viral on social media. JackF/istock

"But it's on the coupon!" the woman shouted, cutting the worker off.

The worker tries to explain why he cannot give the woman her free cookie, but he's cut off again, this time by a different customer offering to buy the woman's cookie. Unfortunately, this only enflames the situation.

Instead of thanking the second customer, the woman asks the worker: "Did you want me to buy [the cookie]? It doesn't make sense...what the hell's wrong with you?"

Frustrated, the woman then tries to walk out of the store with her sandwich, which she hasn't paid for. When the worker tells her not to leave, the woman walks back to the register and tells the employee to "let the cookie go."

"Just charge me...I've got a coupon for this," she said.

Hostile Customers

The woman in Broussard's video isn't the first customer to yell at a food service employee within the past year. A Starbucks customer was filmed throwing a "tantrum" in March. That same month, a drive-thru customer was filmed calling a Jack in the Box employee a "f**king p**sy." And last October, a restaurant manager said a customer threw a highchair at her after screaming at her and other members of her staff.

Sadly, it seems this type of customer behavior is common. A survey conducted by Snagajob-Black Box in October found that 62 percent of restaurant employees have experienced "emotional abuse and disrespect from customers," said Nation's Restaurant News. Further, a separate poll found that as of May of 2021, 39 percent of food service employees reported "quitting over concerns about hostility or harassment from customers," the Harvard Gazette said.

Some believe this increased hostility stems from the "the customer is always right" mentality.

"The idea that the 'customer is always right,' which dates back more than 100 years, has given rise to entitled consumers and more aggression toward retail workers," Insider previously reported.

Viewers React

Despite all that fast food workers have endured since the start of the pandemic, many of those commenting on Broussard's used the "the customer is always right" argument to admonish the Subway employee.

"BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE! Just give her the cookie," DanGarcia361 said.

"The customer's always right just honor the coupon,' Bharat Ajay Tillak argued.

"I'm sorry but I use to work at Subway. He shouldn't have argued with her. NEVER ARGUE WITH THE CUSTOMER!!! He should have just [given] it to her," kimberlydanielle28 wrote.

Kingcobra84 commented: "It's called customer is right."

Pattychicago64 added: "Just give her the freaking cookie."

Others, however, said the employee was right not to cave to the woman's "bad behavior."

"To everyone saying give her the cookie: no, rewarding bad behavior will only cause this to keep happening," Morgan said.

"Everybody talking about 'give her the cookie,' how about no! You ain't getting no cookie. I'll argue with customers until the sun comes up," Nunya commented.

Megs said: "Good for you Subway worker! Damn peeps trying to get what they don't deserve!! Love it!! Read the fine print chica!!"

Newsweek has reached out to Andrew Broussard for comment.