So while I was a student I worked in the kitchen of a pizza chain in city X. The owner, Y, was as loved as he was feared, a UN-veteran in his fifties. He was a heavy smoker, and was diagnosed with lung cancer. Neither traditional treatment, or experimental treatment abroad, could save him, and sadly he passed away around two years after being diagnosed. Two or three years later, I had moved to city Z to finish my studies and was working at the national call center for the same pizza chain. Enter dissatisfied customer, whose pizza delivery in city X was late due to challenging winter weather. I apologized for the delay, and explained that according to company policy he would have to pay in full for his delivery, but he would receive a voucher for a 50% discount on his next purchase (stupid policy, but I had to enforce it). He was not happy, and demanded a discount on his current purchase, stating that he would probably not use our services again so a discount for a future purchase would be worthless to him. I apologized again, and repeated company policy. That’s when he said it: “You know, I’m a pretty good friend of Y, the owner here in city X. I think I’ll pay him a visit tomorrow and tell him what a shit job you’re doing at the call center down in Z.” I was contemplating for half a second wether I should let it go, but I thought it was such an asshole move that I just replied: “As a former employee of Y, I’m sorry to have to inform you that he passed away several years ago. If you were such a good friend, maybe you would have known.” The customer really didn’t have anything more to say, and the call ended rather abruptly.
I’m still debating wether my reply was ethical or professional, but it sure as hell was satisfying! RIP Y!