Shops in Koreatown Los Angeles are increasingly getting pestered by customers who abuse their rights, as retailers are lodging a series of complaints about those who visit their shops to take advantage at the expense of protecting local businesses.
As the end of the year nears, shoppers at Koreatown markets are packing their carts with boxes of South Korean delicacies, including homegrown apples and pears.
The fruit boxes are prewrapped, which does not allow customers to pick what they want in a box. However, it is becoming prevalent to see customers opening up boxes of fruits in the aisles of the markets to make their own boxes, which is obviously not allowed.
One employee at a Korean market in L.A. said: “I’ve worked in the taste testing section for over 10 years now. Most customers are well-behaved, but some are extremely rude when they communicate, and they’ve even asked me to throw away trash for them. I try to smile as much as I can, but it’s true that some of their behaviors are hurtful. It also makes me nervous when dealing with customers, because I don’t know what to expect.”
To make matters even worse, one restaurant even met a “thief,” who dined in and left without paying his bill while the customers were flocking in, after ordering pricey items on the menu, such as alcoholic beverages and chef’s special dishes.
“Customers like that show up every now and then when I’m about to forget about such a behavior,” said one restaurant owner who has been in the industry for more than 30 years. “We always try to pay attention to everyone, but they disappear suddenly when the restaurant gets really busy. These cases are especially rampant at the end of every year.”
A customer at another restaurant even stole the business’s property in its public restroom.
“There are customers who steal items that we display in the restroom as decorations,” said the business owner. “Some customers also destroy our bathroom supplies.”
The worst customers for many businesses, though, are the ones who are simply rude.
“There are at least three to four customers who suddenly speaking rudely to me,” said one employee who works at a cosmetics shop in Koreatown. “I’ve gotten used to dealing with customers like that, but some of them start getting angry because I won’t exempt sales tax. They then start yelling and screaming to speak to the owner or the manager.”
Another employee said: “Some customers buy items that come with free gifts, and later come back to return the products without returning the gifts they received. Dealing with complaints is a part of working in customer service, but it’s difficult to endure mockery.”
By Sung Yeon Lee