"Lisa" came in yesterday night, saying that she had put a brown croc bag on hold the night before and was returning to purchase it. Unfortunately, we were out of croc bags, save for one that was on hold for another customer. I told Lisa this, and did a stock check, even though I knew we were out. Naturally none magically appeared, so I called the closest store to our location and put one on hold for her, with that store's condition that she pick it up that night, because these are in high demand. I returned and told the customer that unfortunately we were out, and this was the best I could do for her. At first she was willing if the bag was shipped to Oakridge, but unfortunately we can't do store-to-store transfers if only one item is involved. She would have to go to Valley Fair if she wanted the bag.
At this point her daughter pointed out that she would never use the bag anyway, she didn't really need it, etc. and the woman agreed - but now it was the principle of the thing and she had to have it. But it's not like I can pull one out of my ass - all the stores in our district have had extremely low inventories on this item for weeks. I agreed that it was very bad, and that it was terrible that we had failed to properly put one on hold for her, but she asked for a number to call my store manager. I did have a higher-ranking manager in the store at the time, but I didn't want to pull her into the situation because she was busy with returns/exchanges and I couldn't think of any way she could help the situation by magically producing a brown bag, so I gave her the store's number and the next time our store manager would be in-store.
Finally, I told her that I had checked the website this morning and the crock bags had definitely been in stock on-line, in both red and brown, so if she still wanted the bag she would definitely be able to get them online. Lisa still walked off in a huff, and while I understand her disappointment it was human error, and I don't know what else I could have done. I did find her two alternative ways to acquire the bag, so it wasn't as if she couldn't have gotten it if she really wanted it; but there simply wasn't one in the store so what could I do? I did stay polite and properly apologetic throughout the entire conversation.
What would you have done in this situation?