The customer is right only when losing that customer is not worth telling them they are wrong. A customer's worth includes not only their personal purchasing power, but those they may tell their experiences to, and those who are watching the scene. Because a bad experience has 12 times the chance of being told than a good experience, giving in to irrational demands is sometimes the reasonable choice. Some businesses also follow a general monetary guideline, such that if the request is below a certain value, it will be granted.

Now for some practical examples taken from Real LifeTM! What do you do? What do you do?

Scenario 1:
A customer attempts to return a rotten head of cabbage to a supermarket chainstore. The item was purchased a week before, and there is no receipt. Item costs what a head of cabbage usually goes for.

Scenario 2:
A customer attempts to return a truly defective set of audio speakers to a retail store. The item was purchased the same day, there is a receipt. The problem is, the speakers came from a clearance table which warned customers products were possibly defective returns and was unreturnable. However, the original manufacturer's warranty is valid from the date of purchase. Speakers are valued at just under $20.

Scenario 3:
A customer attempts to return a rotten head of cabbage to a corner grocery. The item was purchased the same day, and there is a receipt.


1 - Sure, the item doesn't cost that much to replace, but the customer is so clearly wrong. A supermarket cannot sustain itself if every product that went bad was returned. If the store gave in now, it would have to give in every time. The customer was told never to come again. Stupidity is infectious.

2 - Selling defective products is bad press. The item can be resold. The situation was defused as quickly as possible and the customer got their money back.

3 - Trick question! This corner grocery cuts some corners and doesn't get rid of old, unsold perishable items. It even re-dates milk cartons. When you know you're cheating your customers, you always give in.