Gary Vaynerchuk starts his book The Thank You Economy in a way that illustrates this truth perfectly:
I’ve been living the Thank You Economy since a day sometime around 1995, when a customer came into my dad’s liquor store and said, “I just bought a bottle of Lindemans Chardonnay for $5.99, but I got your $4.99 coupon in the mail. Can you honor it? I’ve got the receipt.”
The store manager working the floor at the time replied, “No.”
I looked up from where I was on my knees dusting the shelves and saw the guy’s eyes widen as he said, “Are you serious?”
The manager said, “No, no. You have to buy more to get it at $4.99.”
As the man left, I went over to the manager and said, “That guy will need come back.”
I was wrong about that; he did come back. He came back a couple of months later — to tell us he would never shop with us again.
Now, I wasn’t any nicer than this manager, nor have I ever been a softie when it comes to business. However, though I was young and still had a lot to learn, I knew deep in my gut that he had made the wrong call.
The manager believed he was protecting the store from a customer trying to take advantage of it; all I could see was that we had missed an opportunity to make a customer happy.