What does Keep The Customer Satisfied mean?

Simon & Garfunkel: Keep The Customer Satisfied Meaning

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Album cover for Keep The Customer Satisfied album cover

Keep The Customer Satisfied Lyrics

Gee but it's great to be back home
Home is where I want to be.
I've been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn't disagree.
CHORUS
It's the same old story
Everyhwere I go,
I get slandered,
Libeled,
I hear...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Oct 26th 2011 !⃝

    It has to do with selling liquor (or any service or goods that are illegal). The references such as "shoe shine" and "two steps away from the county line" are from the prohibition era. They refer to making/selling moonshine (or more broadly doing anything illegal) close to a county line so that you could run across the county line to escape the sheriff/law enforcement. Back in those days the county lines were lines of jurisdiction for law enforcement. One step ahead of the shoe shine refers to just barely staying alive - just one step ahead of being killed/rubbed out by either other liquor runners (or mobsters) or even the sheriffs (who were often on the take). All the while the guy is just trying to keep his customers happy with what they want so he gets paid.

  2. anonymous
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    Jul 2nd !⃝

    I think it's about the struggle to keep going and maintaining your livelihood and success for everyone really. Simon resonates with the struggle of maintaining his own relevance and success within his own musical context. However, at the peak of the counter-culture, historic prohibition-era terminology could very easily be applied to the weed dealers of the time. Whether you're a music man or a pot provider, it's always critical to keep on keeping your customers satisfied to avoid ending up on the breadline, shining shoes for a living or something similarly undesirable. We all feel these pressures.

  3. anonymous
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    Nov 16th 2022 !⃝

    Not complicated - one step away from the shoeshine means he will have to revert to shining shoes to survive. two steps away from the county line because the sheriff is watching him and he needs to be near the next county where the sheriff has no jurisdiction. Could be a black dude in the south during jim crow or more likely a traveling salesman down on his luck.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 18th 2019 !⃝

    The lyrics one step ahead of the shoe shine refers to the police it is an old phrase that dates back to immigration of Irish Italians

  5. anonymous
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    Jul 18th 2019 !⃝

    One step ahead of the shoe shine is definitely a metaphor for the police because they always have a shine. Shoes that's it folks believe me that's it

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 7th 2018 !⃝

    Personally I don't see the song as being about drugs like many do. I see the customer as being us the listeners and that he's trying to keep the customer satisfied. He had big fame so everywhere he went he would get slandered and cursed which is why it says he hears words he never heaRd in the Bible. He's constantly on the road trying to keep the customer satisfied.

  7. anonymous
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    May 9th 2017 !⃝

    He's a moonshiner in the hills and backwoods of the Carolinas.

  8. anonymous
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    Oct 17th 2011 !⃝

    Um. Its about being a drug dealer.

  9. anonymous
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    Feb 15th 2009 !⃝

    I'm not sure the entire meaning of this song but I think that one step ahead shoe shine refers to the police and two steps away from the county line refers to constant travel Maybe it has to do with going to different towns trying to promote music, but everywhere he goes he gets slandered, like told its no good, and cursed apparently if he's hearing words he never heard in the bible. The customer I think refers to fans. At first I thought it was maybe about selling pot, and evading the law by getting out of town fast and keeping customers satisfied, after further evaluation I decided that must not be it ha ha :) Its just a great song and always puts me in such a good mood.


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