Gandhi on customers: this dude was way ahead of his time

I came across this quote at the weekend:

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.

It’s widely attributed to Gandhi and whilst this utterance doesn’t rank amongst his greatest achievements it does show remarkable vision and foresight, given that he died in 1948.

In fact, most companies still haven’t woken up to this reality today, despite the fact we’ve been living with the cliche ‘the customer is always right’ for a couple of decades now.


  • Maury Shenk

    I rather doubt this is a Gandhi quote. Here is a detailed debunking — I suspect some other dude thought it was funny to attribute this to Gandhi, and that idea went viral (pre-Internet!).

  • Thanks Maury. The great men and women in history often seem to get credited with more than they should.