Woman talking(l+r), Circle K(c)

Mats Wiklund/Shutterstock @573selena.diary/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Circle K is the Waffle House of gas stations’: Worker says ‘the customer is never right’ at Circle K

'As an ex Circle K employee, this is absolutely correct.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Nov 28, 2023   Updated on Nov 28, 2023, 12:09 pm CST

In a candid and viral TikTok video, Circle K employee Selena (@573selena.diary) has sparked an interesting debate about customer service norms with her bold claim: “Circle K is the Waffle House of gas stations.” Garnering over 392,000 views, Selena’s video portrays a no-nonsense approach to customer interactions at Circle K, a multinational chain known for its gas and convenience store offerings.

Selena, speaking directly to the camera, doesn’t mince words: “If you wanna cuss a customer out, swing on them and keep your job. Come to Circle K.”

She asserts that at Circle K, unlike many other customer-focused businesses, the customer is not always right. This unconventional stance is further illustrated when she recounts an interaction with a customer who threatened to call her manager. Her manager’s response? “Selena, don’t call me with this bullsh*t.”

Surprisingly, many TikTok users have expressed support for this unorthodox approach. “This is why I always will be a Circle K patron. Forever and ever amen,” one user wrote. Another said, “As an ex Circle K employee, this is absolutely correct.”

These commenters suggest a certain level of fatigue with the traditional ‘customer is always right’ mantra. One user even says they witnessed a cashier at Circle K launching a Redbull at a customer’s head, to which they simply minded their own business, in silent support.

Many videos customer-worker interactions that demonstrate this traditional relationship have spread online. In one recorded interaction, a Delta employee was believed to have been unjustly vilified during their dealings with a rude customer. Folks have pointed to this as a shining example of an “extra” consumer who expects an inordinate amount of devotion from customer service workers.

On the flip side, however, there are also documented instances where customers feel as if they’re being treated poorly by customer service workers for no other reason other than the fact that they’re asking a question. One TikTok user detailed an incident with a grocery store worker who yelled at her for no seemingly no reason.

@573selena.diary Replying to @Oxy/Amaya ♬ original sound – 573selena

In a corporate landscape where pleasing the customer is often seen as paramount, Circle K’s approach stands out. While some might question the professionalism of such an attitude, it’s undeniable that it has struck a chord with a certain segment of the public. This raises the question: Is there a growing demand for a more balanced approach to customer service, where the rights and dignity of employees are given as much weight as those of the customers?

Selena’s video and the ensuing comments suggest that the traditional customer service model might not be universally appreciated. In some cases, a less appeasing approach might actually attract more customers, especially those who value authenticity and employee empowerment.

While the methods of Circle K, as described by Selena, might raise eyebrows, they also open up a conversation about the ever-evolving dynamics of customer service. It’s a reminder that in the real world, sometimes the customer is right, and sometimes, perhaps, the business is. As the landscape of customer “appreciation” continues to evolve, other companies might take note of this shift in consumer sentiment. Could this be the beginning of a new trend in customer service? Only time will tell. If this comes to fruition and you’re acting like a jacka*s, duck, a Red Bull might be flying at you. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to Circle K via email and Selena via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Nov 28, 2023, 3:00 pm CST