Travel, drink beer and get rid of the Walmart greeters.

Travel, drink beer and get rid of the Walmart greeters.


But if you want to work in tourism then you need to be able to solve all sorts of problems. Preferably at all hours of the day. The world of tourism needs problem solvers. Not Walmart Greeters.

“the customer is always right” is a sentence that is often used in the hospitality industry. And while I can see why it was invented, I must say that I do not fully agree with it. And companies should be careful not to use it as some sort of general guideline when employing people.

This vietnamese guy did a great job.

This Vietnamese guy did a great job.

We do not need Walmart Greeters in tourism.

We need people like Christos in tourism and not a bunch of Walmart Greeters.

We need people like Christos Soldatos in tourism. Not a bunch of Walmart Greeters.


My main issue with “the customer is always right” is that you often end up with people who can only smile and say: “Howdy doodly, how are you doing today Sir” with a big smile. When working in the tourism industry you are actually faced with real problems. Such as people losing their stuff. Having strokes. Airlines going on strike and so on. In this case you need someone who can solve problems. You should still be as friendly as you possibly can. But you should first of all solve the problems.


An example of a company that did everything wrong to me:

I once had a case when flying Los Angeles-New York-Frankfurt with Continental Airlines. They messed up my tickets and it took me hours to solve a fairly simple problem with a cancelled flight. And when I finally got it partly solved, some Continental clown messed up my ticket some more. I went to around 15 different desks before I found someone who was able to rebook me on a new flight after my New York-Frankfurt leg had been cancelled. At all the other desks I was met by smiling and friendly people who all asked me how I was doing today. But as soon as I presented them with my fairly simple problem, they all looked uncomfortable and did all they could to shift me to another desk. Cause they had no bloody idea how to handle the problem. If you ask me then Continental should simply fire half their Walmart Greeters. And then train the other half to do some real work and they would get happier customers.


And some clients simply speculate in complaints.

I'm ready to crawl in to holes in order to make my tourists happy.

I’m ready to crawl in to holes in order to make my tourists happy.

You have a certain number of people who will ALWAYS file some sort of complain in the hope that they can get a reduction in the price. Or some refund. They can be hard to spot when you are new in tourism. But once you have some experience, then you can spot them right away. And it’s important to cut them off right away.

This is not just because they are annoying. But also because they ruin the experience for all the other tourists in the vicinity. All their constant moaning tends to occupy the tour leaders, hotel receptionists and airline employees.

Often to a point where they have little or no time to serve those who behave well. So shutting these people off in a nice calm way is very important.

This takes some experience and an ability to behave like an authority. So try to not let newly arrived employees deal too much with those holiday spoilers. But these people should not be treated as if they are always right. They should be listened to and dealt with in a way that is so professional that they can see there is no reason to keep moaning cause it won’t pay off. And Walmart greeters can’t do that job.

Happy tourists in the Mekong Delta.

Happy tourists in the Mekong Delta.

People’s holiday should be the highlight of the year. And in order to make sure it becomes the highlight of the year, we need people who can solve any problems they might have. Ss quickly as possible. But in order to do that we need to be professional problem solvers and not Walmart Greeters.

Claus Andersen

Globetrotter, travel blogger and professional tour leader.


Cheers to the world and to hell with the Walmart greeters.


  1. Gareth Williams

    Spot on as always!

  2. Love this post. Cracks me up to read that Continental should fire 1/2 their Walmart greeters….LOL! So true.

  3. There are so many people in the world who take the “customer is always right” mantra far left. Customer satisfaction is important for repeat business, but there won’t be any business if customers abuse services.

    You have quite a job being a tour leader. There are lots of people depending on you to make their vacations great.

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