I recently saw a late night re-run of a terrific action/crime film starring Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall. This 1993 film, Falling Down, centers on Douglas’s character, William Foster, who is a recently divorced and unemployed former defense engineer.
The film follows him as he goes on a violent rampage across the city of L.A. trying to get home in time for his daughter’s birthday party. Along the way, a series of encounters, both trivial and provocative, cause him to react with violence and make sardonic observations on life, poverty, the economy and commercialism.
One particular scene takes place as the main character finds himself in a fast food restaurant after several extremely stressful events on an unusually hot summer day.
What happens next is classic, and I’m certain viewers will immediately identify with his frustration with the total lack of customer service he receives from the staff and the manager of Whammy Burger. We’ve all been there, we’ve all felt the same, but fortunately we avoided responding the way Foster did.
This short clip will have you sitting on the edge of your seat while realizing this scene could occur most anywhere at any time in today’s chaotic environment. I’ve shared this clip with many seminar audiences while defining the term “Vigilante Consumer.” I can’t think of a better way of explaining this term and demonstrating the possible consequences, although extreme in this case, of poor service.
The title of the film, referring to Foster’s mental collapse, is taken from the title of the nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down, which appears several times during the film.
Watch this clip and see if you don’t relate to his frustration at not being able to order breakfast two minutes after they switched to the lunch menu. You’ll also laughingly identify with his comparison of the skimpy unattractive Whammy burger in his hand to the thick, juicy, scrumptious photo on the menu board.
If customer service is critical to your success, you might consider sharing this clip with your staff followed by a discussion of how Foster might react after a visit to your establishment.