Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Do Store Return Policies Suck?

Okay, store return policies really irritate me. I think Walmart is the only store that doesn't give you a hard time about not having a reciept. Last year I got very irritated with Target, because my son recieved three identical gifts. A remote control Hummer truck -- the only difference was in the color. Since he obviously didn't need three, I decided to take two back and let him choose something else.

Both trucks had Target tags on them, and I even think they can scan them and verify that they were purchased at Target, but the guy at the "customer service" booth was incredibly rude, and warned me that because I didn't have a reciept, I wouldn't be able to return anything else to Target the rest of the year. Whatever. I figured I simply won't buy anything else at Target. Plus, the exchange that he so grandly granted me had to be done that exact day, in the same department from which the original item was puchased. Meaning that if you recieved a hideous sweater, you'd better hope you could find a better one that day or you were out of luck. The rules were so obviously intended to make it difficult for the customer to exchange anything, that it really left me with a negative feeling toward Target.

This year, after my son's birthday, which falls at the beginning of December, I go through something similar with Toy's R Us.

So I'm thinking, these stores are simply trying to take advantage of people. They know an item has been purchased there and that people who recieve a gift don't usually want to say, "Hey, I have this already, or I don't like it" and will not ask for the reciept. The store therefore, avoids having to deal with returns, and ends up making more money at the expense of their customers.

Something just didn't strike me as fair or very customer friendly about all that. After all, if making an exchange makes the customer happy, isn't it worth it?

Well, I still feel that way, but I had a new experience that made me see another point of view. My son, who goes through phases and only likes one type of thing at a time, which is the reason, I'm always having to exchange his things. Because he gets a zillion of the same item. I don't go through this with my daughter or anyone else in the family. Well for his birthday, he gets a box of Bionicles (a Lego product) and when he opens it, we find that someone has taken all the Bionicle pieces out of it and refilled it with pieces of broken toys! He was obviously crushed, because he felt like a cruel joke had been played on him. After we explained that his uncle wasn't the one to blame, but that someone had bought it at a store, stolen the Bionicle and returned the glued box back to the store, he felt a little better. Not much better to be honest. But he's a kid, and only understand that he didn't get his toy.

I, however, very much shocked that someone would do something like that, came to understand why stores are getting tougher with their customers. Because there are people that will steal, cheat, and take advantage of the lenient store policies that allow them to bring things back. And understandably, they don't want to take a loss.

Of course, it could have been a person who had a reciept who did this, and in fact, they probably did and were not questioned.

So how does a store fairly deal with honest customers that want to make an exchange, and at the same time keep from being cheated by the community they serve?

What do you think?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lara,

I sympathize with you. Having to exchange merchandize is becoming a nightmare, especially when you have a foreign accent. I am usually treated like a retard, just because of my pronounciation. "I don't know what you are talking about" is the usual answer. Of course, if my handsome husband, and English professor from New England, intervenes with a seductive smile an a refined pronunciation, the question gets settled in no time!

Well, this Christmas we don't have anything to return, so life is good, sort of.

Happy holidays,


10:55 AM  
Blogger LaraRios said...

Yep, my mom volunteered to take back my son's bionicle box that I mentioned in this blog, and I told her not to, because she has a strong accent and I figured they wouldn't listen to her. My brother took it back and had no problem. I think it's the idea that they aren't going to be able to push around a man.

By the way, my husband is from New England too. Happy holidays to you too Marina!

11:52 AM  

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