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 brothers.
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 money
“Sir, what is it that seems to be the problem,” said
“I purchased this here and it does not fit,” replied the
customer. “The clerk is refusing to refund my money despite
your policy guaranteeing my satisfaction.”
“The gentleman does not have his receipt,” injected the
customer service clerk.
“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
“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 happily.
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 automobile tires.”
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 during coaching sessions,
presentations, and meetings. Click here to
©2007 Max Impact, Rochester Hills, Michigan,USA