Before breakfast this morning I went to our local grocery store for a bottle of milk. It's literally a bottle of milk, not one of those waxed cartons. And I had an empty to return for deposit refund. On my way in, the first store clerk I saw told me that it was too early for me to get a deposit refund. "I'm not authorized to do it," she said.
I explained that I was going to buy another bottle of milk, so maybe she could just not charge me a deposit on the new one? No, she said, she didn't think she could.
I said okay and just set the bottle down on the customer service counter and went back to the dairy department. I had a strange sense that the clerk was going to figure something out and there'd be no problem after all. My sense of this was so strong I felt positively peaceful and confident about it.
Sure enough, when I came back she said that she could split the credit card purchase up (I use my frequent flyer credit card for virtually every purchase I make, anywhere) and indicate that I'd paid cash for the deposit. That is, she'd take the empty bottle for cash.
I perceived this as a fine example, first, of the fact that the managers and clerks of this grocery store are sincerely in the business of serving their customers. This has been illustrated time and again, and I always enjoy just being in the store. It's a friendly, upright place. But, second, it was also an example of a conscientious new employee's wanting to "do the right thing," not only by the customer, but by her boss. In fact, as I was leaving, a manager showed up and the employee showed her my receipt and explained how she'd handled the transaction.
I hope that the clerk gained confidence from the experience and that her manager appreciates the thoughtful, considerate way she handled things.