A Colorado Small Business Owner’s Viral TikTok: A Referendum on Customer Service

On March 26th, a baker and TikToker going by the name of Thug Mom (@thugmomog) posted a video of an entitled customer rudely asking for a cake for 120 people by 9 am the next morning.

Due to the big and last-minute ask, the owner said she could not accommodate the request. The customer was not happy and started hurling profanities at the owner who then also retaliated with her own vulgarisms.

While we realize that the owner perceived the customer in the wrong and we understand where her actions are coming from, we worry that the popularization of these customer-vendor incidents will create a rigid dichotomy between customer-vendor relationships.

We worry that people will see business with either the mindset of “the customer is always right” or “the vendor is always right” which might create a rift between professionalism, respect, and the well-being of both parties.

How a business properly and professionally handles a customer is a part of their branding. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss what is important to consider when dealing with hostile customers, what the owner did right, and what she could have potentially done differently.

Leveraging Technology for Brand Safety

In today’s digital age, technology plays an increasingly central role in customer service interactions, and the owner did use it to her benefit.

Especially in behind-the-curtain moments like these, without the existence of phones and recording devices, the owner’s bakery could have been negatively impacted by a negative review.

In that regard, the owner did well in recording this conversation which helped safeguard her physical and online brand identity where a lot of things can be misinterpreted.

However, technology can be a double-edged sword. Because it has the potential to reach such a wide audience, it’s that much more important to mind what you say and post.

Technology is only as effective as the humans behind it, and it can be a great tool for boosting customer service for both the customer and vendor.

Therefore, it’s important to leverage technology to facilitate positive and meaningful interactions that can cause businesses to strengthen their customer relationships and brand loyalty.

Set Professional Boundaries

While it’s essential to accommodate reasonable customer requests, it’s equally vital to assert boundaries when faced with disrespect or unreasonable demands.

The owner did this well as she maintained professionalism when faced with an unreasonable task and clearly stated that she wasn’t going to be able to fulfill it. She had a totally reasonable response that maintained clarity and professionalism, which is really good.

However, things start spiraling downward when the customer continues to respond negatively and when the owner also loses her temper.

According to online surveys done by PissedConsumer, about 91.1 percent of customers who check reviews base their money spending decisions based on what other customers have shared online.

Therefore, while we know that some customers can push business owners to their limits, we urge vendors to set boundaries before heated situations so that they can’t be negatively impacted in anyway.

From our viewpoint, we think that a better path that the owner could have taken was to just end the call with the customer as she had the right to do so, in the face of all the rudeness, she was enduring beforehand.

In the business world–and in the real world–hostile situations can pop up out of nowhere and removing yourself from them as soon as possible will maintain your professional identity and your peace of mind.

Empowering Internal Customers


As a business, setting boundaries is a good way to establish a vendor-customer relationship based on communication. At its base, it’s a relationship where a customer expresses a want and then a vendor expresses how they can fairly fulfill that desire.

And this type of communication system isn’t only a benefit for the customer, but it’s also a benefit for your internal customers. It’s equally crucial to establish your business’s principles and boundaries to nurture your internal customer or, otherwise known as, your employees.

This is because every decision you make as a vendor affects those who keep the business floating, and the owner’s incident highlighted the importance of supporting and empowering frontline staff by correctly handling some customers.

Her situation highlighted that, even in hostile situations, it’s important to treat customers with respect even though they don’t give the same. This is because the way a customer is treated also reflects the way an employee is treated.

When a customer is treated with disrespect, justified or not, there are grounds to believe that the vendor’s employees can be susceptible to that same disrespect.

Moreover, in handling a rude customer in a hostile way, if your actions negatively affect your branding, then it also negatively affects your customers.

Therefore, whenever you are dealing with customers that are aggressive or belligerent, always consider how your actions might affect those around you. Ultimately, a good rule of thumb when it comes to being a considerate vendor is to treat everyone with respect.

Conclusion: Embracing Respectful Interactions

In the aftermath of the viral video, it’s evident that the key to successful customer service lies in fostering respectful interactions.

Rather than viewing interactions as battles to be won, approach them as opportunities to connect and collaborate.

By setting professional boundaries, safeguarding your brand image, and prioritizing the well-being of both external and internal customers, you can navigate the complex landscape of customer service with grace.

As we reflect on this incident, let’s remember that customer service is not just about transactions—it’s about building relationships based on mutual respect and understanding and if that is not possible walking away. In doing so, we can create a more harmonious and fulfilling experience for all involved.

In the end, the video showed that it’s important to be firm with your integrity but be abundant with your respect towards others.

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