Why do you view it that way?<quoted text>
I agree exactly-- you expressed it more eloquently than I, but I too found the shop owner arrogant and possessing of a missive ego.
In his massive pride, he could not let a minor insult go unanswered.
Rather like the bible's god, come to think of it...
... no **wonder** he got the lesson wrong!
I see it as not punishing the snooty customer, but as giving him a chance to re-evaluate his initial behavior. Remember, the guest was the smug one and was being sneaky and under-handed about it. The shop owner merely gave the snooter an opportunity to realize it for himself.
When I reiterated that the out-of-towner had been smug and condescending you replied "So?" as if the out-of-towner had every right to treat the store owner this way without any penalty or sense of accountability. Your reply seems, on the surface, to endorse the actions of the snooty customer as somehow socially acceptable. Am I interpreting that correctly?
I'm curious as to how that view is any less arrogant than that of the store owner. The store owner could have kicked the snooty customer out. And then what would the customer learn? Would he learn humility or would he learn that he just isn't welcome in that store any longer? My thoughts upon first hearing that were that the store owner was still willing to allow the customer to come back, but instead of pointing out the customer's behavior, let him do a little work that shows him he's not as smart as he thought he was. There is no better teacher than self induced humiliation. The snooty man was not obligated to follow the owner's instructions.
The best lessons are the ones that cause us discomfort and embarrassment, because they cause us (if we're honestly observant) to realize that we're no better than the next guy, and they hold us accountable. If we're so smug and snooty that we don't recognize it for ourselves, what's the better choice? Are we to be banished by the owner with no hope of redemption; or do we learn a lasting lesson from a journey in which we come to realize it by experience and humility?
In the end, the store owner did our a snooty customer a favor, not a disservice. The disservice would have been to kick the customer out with no redemption, or to let him continue with his condescending behavior which would only encourage him to continue such behavior in the future.
What would you have done?