So I was working at a popular video game store a couple years back when Fifa 10 was just being released. It was a high volume store, so we got plenty of copies. This also meant we had a huge amount of preorders.
People would often preorder the game specifically to get the included collector's items, and we had one customer (we'll call him Fred) that called up the day before and preordered the collector's edition for his son's 10th birthday. It was one of the last ones we had in stock, so he was lucky to snag it in time.
Fast forward to release day, and it was crazy busy. For the first time since I'd worked there, we actually sold every one of our preorders on release day, as well as all of our regular stock.
Except for one - Fred's copy.
So the day chugged along busily and as it drew to a close, we only had one copy left, which was reserved for Fred. I was constantly turning people down for sales of the game, or signing them up for a copy when a new shipment arrived.
I then left the register to do some inventory for 10 minutes before returning. In just 10 minutes, my genius colleague managed to sell Fred's copy of Fifa 10.
I didn't know this had happened, so about 20 minutes after I'd returned to the register, Fred and his wife walks in and asks to pick up his son's copy of the game. I do a search for the game, and our stock says a big fat ZERO. This includes reserved stock.
Me: "I'm sorry sir, we just sold the last copy. There must have been a mixup and your reserved copy was sold to another customer."
Fred: "What? But I reserved it! It's for my son's 18th birthday tonight!"
It's at this point I notice Fred's wife is crying. I notice that Fred is visibly trying to control his anger, but his face is going red and I can see that the situation is not getting any better.
Fred: "My son's birthday is tonight and I promised him we'd play the new Fifa tonight! What am I going to do? THIS IS UNFAIR!"
I feel very sorry for these people, and I realize that this is a very unfair situation for them, so I improvise.
Me: "I'm really sorry sir. Let me do a quick search for other stores in the area that have stock, and here's a $25 off voucher for the game. I hope that makes up for our mistake."
As I was talking, I found a store about 10 minutes away that had stock of the game. As I handed the voucher to Fred, his entire composure changed completely. He was dumbfounded, and a massive smiled exploded onto his face.
Fred: "Oh... wow, thank you so much! I'll go there right now and pick the game up. Thank you! I'll definitely come back to this store from now on!" And his wife thanked me profusely as well. I felt great. I'd made a family's day, kept a customer happy and probably saved the store a lot of bad word-of-mouth. Those are the moments that make retail worthwhile.
As I was closing up that night, the store manager came up and started talking to me.
Store manager: "fat_head, I saw what you did with those customers today. You do realise that's a serious breach of store policy? That's $25 off the other store's margin. Those vouchers are supposed to be for the <other game> promotion only. I'm going to speak to the Area Manager about this, and I never want to see you do that again without my permission."
I was speechless. I could not believe a manager could be so money-hungry that he'd prefer to absolutely piss a customer off because of my colleague's mistake, over giving them a voucher and making them happy as anything. I was furious that night, because even though it was (apparently) against store policy, I didn't deserve to be told off.
Area Manager: "fat_head, Store Manager has filled me in on what you did yesterday with the $25 coupon. Unfortunately that is a serious breach of store policy, and we're going to have to terminate your employment. Please give me your store key and leave immediately."
I was actually not really that surprised. I was only a casual and so they could fire me on a whim, and the area manager was equally as penny-pinching as the store manager.
Me: "You know what, don't bother firing me, I don't want to work here if you're going to treat me like this. I tried my best to keep the customer happy, but hey, don't let me stop you from pissing off the people who pay your wage! Did Store Manager tell you it was <employee>'s fault their RESERVED game was sold to someone else? I guess that's perfect grounds for firing the employee that fixed the situation! Now there's some good management!"
Then I dropped my store key on the ground and walked out without another word. Maybe that was a bit too rude, but I just couldn't believe that they'd value $25 over customer service. Just another example of managers power tripping and penny-pinching without caring for the people they are there to service. Oh well, I'm glad they fired me. It was a terrible place to work.