I'm describing my experience. I have observed that friends and regular clients of people in service businesses typically receive better service than people who just walk in off the street. The service is more personalized. Haven't you ever been a "regular" or a "local" somewhere?
Ever get new boots and the bootfitter recognizes the footbeds he made for you 5 years ago, and then grinds or trims them for free without asking? Or rivets back on a buckle for free? Or planes the heel or toe on the boot sole just a touch free of charge?
If he doesn't do that extra service for someone walking in off the street with footbeds they want to use, is that unethical? I don't think so.
Is that the same level of service? I don't think so.
Bootfitters are in a service business and they are partially salesmen. They are not "merely" tradesman or "just" salesmen. Both are part of the job and add value to the customer and/or the shop. They interact, make judgments, do the physical work, and make the customer feel good about the service as well as the product.
The argument made is that bootfitters should provide the exact same service and interaction to every customer. Maybe that's the ideal.
Do folks really walk around expecting the "ideal" out of people? Maybe, but it must be a tough way to go through life.
I have no issue with the provision of extras. i was questioning the ethics of taking the money but then providing a lower level of service than was being paid for. YMMV