If you have a bad shopping experience, how many people do you tell?

According to a new survey from the Verde Group and the Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative at the Wharton School, you’re likely to tell plenty of folks how badly you were treated and how unhappy you are.

As Business Week reports, the survey of 1,200 shoppers says customers of big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target tell an average of 6 people about a negative experience, or twice as many as they tell if they have a negative shopping experience at a different type of retailer. Angry customers tell friends about their experiences five times more often than the store manager.

I don’t know what’s news about this survey except that it reconfirms what we’ve all known for a long time — if you like something you’ll tell 3 people. If you hate something, you’ll tell the world.

If you have a bad meal at a restaurant, you’ll spread that around like lightning. When some friends and I went out for a meal at a new restaurant near where we live, the kitchen was running 2 hours behind. We didn’t sit down until after 10:00pm for our 8:00pm reservation.

You can bet I told about 10 people — I really hate to eat late — and so did everyone else in our party. That’s 80 bad impressions of a small restaurant in a small suburb outside of Chicago.

What do you do when you get bad service? Who do you tell? We’re going to talk about this on the Ilyce Glink show this Sunday morning at 11:00am EST on Newstalk 750 WSB (www.wsbradio.com).

I hope you’ll join us.

Published: Apr 21, 2006