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The Customer is Always Right

Updated on March 26, 2009
photo with kind permission from Geox at
photo with kind permission from Geox at

Many years ago, probably mid to late 80s, I was working for an insurance company as a claims examiner.

One day, the office got a memo stating that as of Monday, the office would be going on computers, and the electric typewriters were now up for sale, at the cost of $15 a piece.

Well! I thought that was a great bargain, so, I decided to purchase 3 of them. Several other coworkers bought some as well. So, on Friday, I went in and paid the boss and took my typewriters home.

Sometime during the middle of the week, the boss sent out another memo, to state, I am sorry, but I am going to have to ask you all to return the typewriters, as I was mistaken in the price. If you still wish to keep them, you can either a) pay the price Home Office has quoted, or b) return them.

I was shocked! At the time, my hubby was taking a business law class at the college, so I went home and said hey hon,,,isn't it true, that if something is mis-marked, that the item HAS to be sold for the price indicated? He said yes, I believe so, but I will check with my teacher (who was a lawyer) when I go to class tonight.

He came home that evening, and I asked him what did his teacher say, and he said the teacher simply asked him how well does your wife like her job? LOL,,,soooooooo I stewed over what my decision was going to be, and on Friday, I decided, if the boss wants to handle this with memos, I will write him one. I did, and I forget all the details but basically told him I was keeping my purchases, at the QUOTED price of $15 a piece, and how his memo made me feel like I was some kind of thief in the night,, and placed it on his desk.

So, of course I fretted over it all weekend, thinking, oh no, I could lose my job over this. Well, Monday arrived, and I get to work, and sure enough, he called me into his office. I explained to him why I was keeping the typewriters and not spending another cent on them. He asked did he really make me feel like a thief and I said yes you did.

He said to me, go back to work. I was left wondering what was going through his mind, and I didn't have to wait long to finally learn the decision. I came in to work several days later to find that he had been 'transferred'. It seems he jumped the gun when offering the typewriters for sale, without clearing it with Home Office. They never did ask for mine back, and I found out the other coworkers had either returned theirs or paid the higher prices.

I went home so excited and told my hubby what happened, and he relayed this story to his teacher that night. The teacher said to him, he better start calling me 'spunky'. Later that summer my hubby bought a boat, and named it 'spunky II'.

I guess the point of this whole story, is about a saying I keep at my job, which states, 'stand up for your principles, even if you have to stand alone'.


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    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 7 years ago

      Hi Petra,

      Yes, as far as I know, whatever an item is marked as is the price you're supposed to get it for. In the supermarket, I've seen items that were on sale, but the sale ended, however one of the items still had the sale price on it. It had to be honored.

      A customer shouldn't have to pay the price for a store's mistake. It should be part of their overhead.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts :)

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      I totally agree; the advertised price is the one that standes and most stores even have a sign to that effect - some stores offer to give you the item for free if the marked price does not come up at the register (Target and K-Mart for sure, but maybe even others).

      Often people make decision based on price so they should not be mislead.

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 9 years ago

      Thank you Sally and easegiri for your comments.


    • easegiri profile image

      easegiri 9 years ago from Bangalore

      I feel firstly the boss wanted to clear off all the junk in the office and so he auctioned all the Junk's. Later he would have not got the approval for his act from his higher authorities and so he has asked back all of it.

      It's all office matters and law cannot enter inside. The higher authorities or your boss cannot demand it back. In your situation you have been truthful and stood to your rights. The happy that you got when you got the typewriter you did not want to loose it. But there are other cunning people who would have simply created a story telling that the typewriter is with his friend and as soon as he returns back he will return it. And that return never comes because the friend did not return and he has gone out of station. When he is returning is not known. After some time the boss will stop asking.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Just because someone in a position of authority says so, doesn't mean it's right. Good for both of you!

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 9 years ago

      Thank you very much MrMarmalade,,,it sure made me feel good when I did it.


    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

      You were brave initially and it worked out for you. Congratulations for sticking up for your principles

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 9 years ago

      Hi Donna,

      Isn't it a great feeling? I feel this is how we build character, by doing what is ethically and morally right. Bravo to you!

      Thanks for commenting!


    • donnaleemason profile image

      donnaleemason 9 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      I did that one time when I was working at a hospital in Miami. It was a Friday evening and I got a call from admin telling me that I was going to have to move a head injured patient out of their room and put them somewhere else as we had a VIP coming in. I refused. The patient had been in the room for a week and everyone knows that you don't move a head injury as they need consistency and he was already used to his room.

      She pushed and I categorically refused and we ended up putting the VIP in another room.

      On the Monday I was called into the Manager's office and asked to explain myself. I told her my story and said that I still believe that I was in the right and that I was sticking up for the patient and that I believed that that was my job.

      So they let me go back to work and no more was said about it.

      Yes, you do sometimes have to stick to your ethical beliefs. Good price on the typewriters Trisha.