Drawn and Quarterly, 2017
The Customer is Always Wrong is the saga of a young naive artist named Madge working in a restaurant of charming drunks, junkies, thieves, and creeps. Oakland in the late seventies is a cheap and quirky haven for eccentrics, and Mimi Pond folds the tales of the fascinating sleazeball characters that surround young Madge into her workaday waitressing life. Outrageous and loving tributes and takedowns of her co-workers and satellites of the Imperial Cafe create a snapshot of a time in Madge's life where she encounters who she is, and who she is not.
Employing the same brash yet earnest style as her previous memoir Over Easy, Pond's storytelling gifts have never been stronger than in this epic, comedic, standalone graphic novel. Madge is right back at the Imperial with its great coffee and depraved cast, where things only get worse for her adopted greasy-spoon family while her career as a cartoonist starts to take off.
So this wasn’t my favorite graphic novel. As I was reading it, I thought it was just ok. I was curious to see how it ended, but I wasn’t super interested in the story in general. I got busy and decided that I wanted to read other books WAY more than I wanted to finish The Customer is Always Wrong. So I gave up on it and moved on to other things. I’m sure that restaurant workers will identify with it, and other people will enjoy it. It’s written well and the art is good. It just wasn’t for me.