What an interesting thread.
Glad to know that some people, such as yourself POM, know how to handle a customer. I find this sadly lacking in my area.
It's something I noticed because I was trained in CS by a person who took it as coming from The Customer to god to us. Yes, he held the customer in that high of a regard. He was also the manager of one of the top five money-making bowling centers in the early 90s. So I tend to think he was doing something right.
I've seen him refer customers to our competition when we had waiting lines too long. I've seen him go out of his way for customers to help them out. Employees, too. His was the first exposure to internal/external customers that I saw. We, his employees, were his internal customers. Sure, he was our boss, and we all knew that, but he knew how to take care of us, too. Well, usually.
I have to say that Aldistar's story doesn't surprise me. I see this more and more. You think people would learn. I remember being left in the car - at my request - when my mom went shopping. I also remember being 12 or so, and could get out of the car and lock it up and find my mom when I got tired of the car. I can't imagine leaving my kids in the car (or another store) while going to the mall. Okay, I do it when I'm paying for gas, but now that i have my debit card I never go in the store anymore. . . .
Times have changed. My parents used to insist my brothers and I come with them when they ran errands but allowed us to wait in the car. Whether we went into the store or waited in the car, it was pretty boring.