From Greenhouse Gal:
So, tonight, a customer comes in, walks up to me with some expensive socks, and tells me he bought the wrong size and would like to exchange them. I tell him no problem, we can totally do that...then look at the socks, and realize that while we carry this brand, we don't carry this specific style. I look at the socks closer, and the following exchange ensues:
Me: Sir, I'm really sorry, but I can't exchange these for you...I don't think you purchased these here.
Customer [in a very pretentious tone, which leads me to mentally duck and cover]: Why, I most certainly DID get them here! Why, I'm CERTAIN I did!
Me: Sir, again, I'm really sorry, but if you look, you'll see (competitor's) price tag on these socks...[I brace for a shit-storm...]
Customer: Oh! Geez, not only did I get the wrong size, I got them at the wrong place!
Me: ...since these are unworn I'd be willing to do the exchange as a courtesy, but since this is a style we don't even carry here, there's not much I can do. I'm really sorry [still bracing for a shit-storm].
Customer: Oops. Well, I still need to get some shoelaces...[holds up empty package], do you have these in stock?
Me: Certainly, if you just head to [footwear department], I can see [coworker] there, they can help you out.
Ten minutes later...
Customer: [with shoelaces, and replacement socks] Thanks for your help...[coworker] in footwear helped me find what I needed.
I ring him up, we chat a bit, and at the end of transaction:
Customer [sets down socks he came in with]: I don't really feel like dealing with these. Will someone here just take them?
Me: ...um, are you sure? Even if you don't want to go there tonight, I'm sure [competitor] would be willing to refund you, since they're clearly from there.
Customer: Eh, I'm fine with it. Free socks! Someone here will use them, right?
Me: Um...if you're really sure? Thanks, and have a good night!
Customer: Hey, you too...and thanks again for all your help. (Walks out without the wrong-sized socks.)
A bit later, I explained the whole transaction to management...who was about to tell me I should have just exchanged them, regardless of [competitor's] price-tag, until I explained that I was going to offer that, but we didn't carry that style. Management confirmed, then said, "hey, you just got free socks! Why don't you just take those home?"
So, in about 15 minutes, I went from dreading what I thought was going to be a nasty crusty encounter, to having a very nice conversation with a customer, to what I thought was going to be an issue with management, to scoring over $30 in free high-end wool socks (which I am going to share with a co-worker).
Mostly retail sucks, but sometimes there are those good moments that keep us going.