Yeah, personally, if I were the manager, I'd call security and have you barred from ever eating at my McDonalds again. Not because you were wrong, but because, as a manager, no-one treats my employees like that. There are far more respectable ways to handle it and, frankly, screaming obscenities at an employee makes you look like a nutjob, wrong or right.
I'm not a manager, by the way, but have worked in retail before and have seen things like this. I always admired managers who'd stick up for their employees against customers who were screaming at them, justified or not.
Much has been written about "the customer's always right" being one of the worst business maxims ever invented. Bad customers aren't worth keeping and good employees are hard to come by. If you're in a business where customers are expensive to create, then there are ways to handle the situation to keep the good ones, lose the bad ones, and still stick up for your employee, who nine times out of ten did nothing wrong.
I work for a company who will always side with the customer, and it's annoying as fuck. I understand why they do it, and in our case, customers actually are pretty expensive to obtain, so I don't let it bother me. However, since I understand that there's is the most simpleminded of practices, I'm not exactly filled with respect when we give customers shit for free. The way I see it, taking the counter-intuitive approach and telling a customer to fuck off falls under "advanced business strategy," and as we all know, I think the average guy is a moron. Most people will do the intuitive thing and bend over any time a customer threatens them. In the end, they get stuck with customers who are only there because they know they can push people around, and employees with no work ethic left since it just doesn't matter anymore. Learning to handle both good and bad customers intelligently is beyond the scope of the average manager.
As for Tick, I would have taken his side anyway, just because nobody's going to make that kind of scene over a quarter. If he'd said he got shorted $5 it would have been a different story. That sounds more like a crappy customer trying to rip me off, but freaking out of a quarter is clearly more of a principle than a scam.
Southwest Airlines is famous for putting its employees even before the customers. That kind of enthusiasm and commitment translates to a positive experience for the customer because they believe in how great their employer is. Its a good policy that more companies should try to adopt.
Herb's a pretty neat guy for a variety of reasons, and I certainly approve of his policy there, but to be fair, SWA will have no problem getting customers for a variety of reasons, so it's really a different situation.