According to no less an authority than Danny Baker, this story is absolutely true.
Harrods in the sixties employed someone to be sacked- surely the best job in the world.
Apparently the employee was paid to sit among the boxes on Harrods top-floor smoking his pipe and reading the Sporting Life. From time to time a bell would ring and he would be summoned to a department where an irate customer was being mollified by the Head of the Department.
Let us say today that Lady Ponsonby-Waffles has discovered one of the precious china teacups she recently purchased is chipped.
The Department Head greets our friend with “Lady Ponsonby-Waffles is a most valued customer, your failure to check the quality of her china cups has led to her current predicament, you sir are fired”
Despite Lady Ponsonby-Waffles’ pleas for mercy, the Head cannot be swayed. Our friend slopes disconsolately to the exit. Lady Ponsonby-Waffles drops her complaint convinced to the store’s determination to enforce the highest standards. Our friend, once passing the Department’s exit, slips back to his Sporting Life and his Pipe, to await the next occasion he would be called upon to be sacked.