Quote: The customer is not an interruption of our work - he is the purpose of it (May 1941, Kenneth B. Elliott)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 3 00:25:03 UTC 2012

On Aug 2, 2012, at 3:53 PM, Garson O'Toole wrote:

> A popular collection of guidelines for customer relations is often
> attributed to Mohandas Gandhi.

Mahatma, the celebrated retailer?  Please tell us more!


> Here is one version:
> [Begin excerpt]
> A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not
> dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in
> our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our
> business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving
> him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
> [End excerpt]
> List member Mark Mandel asked about tracing this quotation in a
> comment at the Freakonomics website in June 2011. He noted the
> connection to New England retailer L.L. Bean. The Quote Investigator
> website now has a post about this quote here:
> http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/08/02/gandhi-customer/
> Special thanks to Stephen Goranson who helped check a hard-to-access
> reference using the magnificent Duke library system.
> Additional information and citations are welcome.
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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