Part of the reason that Nordstrom is legendary for its customer service stems back to the tire story. What is the tire story? Many years ago a customer rolled a pair of tires into a Nordstrom store and asked for his money back. Nordstrom has never sold tires and the guy did not produce any kind of a receipt but legend has it that the guy was given a refund.

Truth or urban legend?

Erik and Blake Nordstrom, co-presidents for the Nordstrom retail stores, both say it is a true story. In town for today's opening of the Nordstrom in Ridgedale, Blake Nordstrom said that the return occurred in the mid-1970s in one of the Fairbanks, Alaska stores.

What makes the story less far-fetched is that Nordstrom had purchased three stores in Alaska from Northern Commercial Company, which did sell tires. "We turned the auto store into a men's store, so when the customer rolled the tires into the store, he had a reason to believe that he had gotten the tires there," said Blake Nordstrom.

Nordstrom isn't sure how many tires were returned or the amount of the refund, but he commended the salesperson who accepted the tires and gave the customer a refund. "He used great judgment," Nordstrom said. "He treated the customer like he would like to be treated."

According to, some say that the founder John Nordstrom was there and saw the salesman give money back to the confused customer, but John Nordstrom died in 1963 and the incident supposedly happened in the mid-70s.

I've always wondered why someone hasn't attempted to duplicate the tire return in the 21st Century just to see how Nordstrom would play it out. Since the Nordstrom in Ridgedale took over part of the space formerly occupied by Dayton's/Marshall Field's/Macy's Men + Home store, maybe someone who purchased a bread machine or something at Dayton's men's + home store after 1995 (when Dayton's took over the Carson Pirie Scott location) should see if Nordstrom will take it back. Even better, if anyone still possesses an item with proof that it was purchased at Carson Pirie Scott in Ridgedale, you could be part of Nordstrom's next legend if you're willing and able to take it back.

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