One of the long-standing theories of retailing is that the customer is
always right. Managers and clerks will opine for hours trying to
convince others to their side of this argument. The facts are clear and
there is a definitive and absolute answer to this age-old query.
To determine if the customer is always right or if the customer is not
always right we should first look at a retail legend – the Nordstrom
As the legend goes it was many decades ago when a customer was
passionately attempting to get a refund in a Nordstrom Department
Store. One of the Nordstrom brothers is said to have walked by the
customer service desk to hear the customer passionately request his
“Sir, what is it that seems to be the problem,” said Nordstrom.
“I purchased this here and it does not fit,” replied the customer. “The
clerk is refusing to refund my money despite your policy guaranteeing
“The gentleman does not have his receipt,” injected the customer service
“That is true,” explained the customer, “but I know I bought it here and
I demand my money back.”
“You are certain you bought it here?” asked Nordstrom.
“Yes I did,” asserted the customer, “and I want my money back now!”
“Very well,” responded Nordstrom, “but the clerk know how much you
paid and we will gladly give you your refund.”
Nordstrom then made small talk with the gentleman while the clerk
counted out his reimbursement.
Once the transaction was complete the customer was once again
smiling, shook both their hands, complemented the store and walked out
As soon as a customer was out of hearing range the clerk asked a
question to Mr. Nordstrom, “Sir, you do know we do not sell
This gave Mr. Nordstrom the opportunity to prove to the clerk, and
everyone else, that the customer was always right.
What did he say?
After considering the possibilities, click here for the answer.
As Aesop established hundreds of years ago with his timeless fables we
remember words best when we become engaged in a story. Max has
compiled an anecdotal story collection designed to generate “ah-ha”
moments. Click here to see more.
©2007, 2017 Max Impact, Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA