In the after-Christmas rush to return an ill advised gift, you no doubt have stumbled upon the phrase “store policy.” It may feel like store policy is a punishment for consumers, but after some consideration, I’ve decided that store policy is actually a slap in the face to all those who work in the store. Or an indicator that even management is pretty sure they shouldn’t admit that they actually sell the product.
1. No Returns Without Receipt
Hold on, the damn thing has a tag attached to it boldly proclaiming it to be from your store and you won’t take it back. Even for in-store credit? Is your fear here that people will steal things, bring them back to you in perfect condition, and then use their store credit to buy something, while you resell the stolen item? Isn’t that some kind of nullification? Or do you think your sales people couldn’t give a rat’s ass and would take back items that clearly couldn’t be resold? Because, maybe that’s something you should think about when you pay people in peanuts.
2. No Cash Refunds
Okay – I bought the thing from you and there is something about it that does not meet my expectations, I have the reciept and the item, but instead of returning my very fungible moneys you instead return to me…a less interesting version of Disney Dollars. Why am I now hostage to your store? Is it because you’re pretty sure people only buy stuff from you when they are high and when they come to their senses they will find a better version of your product? Because, otherwise, I have a secret for you…we are both lazy and avid consumers. We had to go to your store to return the item. If you gave us back cash money we’d probably spend it in your stupid store. Except apparently everything in your store freakin’ sucks, since obviously you think you have to kidnap my money for me to shop with you.
3. No Returns Without The Box
So here’s the thing, stores. It’s the holidays. People are tossing boxes around like they’re confetti. “I need a box to wrap Thing of The Year for your sister.” “Here, but do you have a box that will fit Other Thing?” Not to mention being responsible Earth-steward recycling types. Boxes disappear. It’s a thing that happens. And okay, packaging is costly, but how about instead of not taking back Expensive Electronic Item that you promised had Feature Y that clearly does not have Feature Y, just charge a goddam “restocking” fee. Not that I don’t think that’s a douchebag move too, but whatever.
4. The Five-Second Rule
Dontcha know we can’t accept a return a millisecond after you walk out of the store? What, you thought you could buy something before Christmas and return it after Christmas? It’s been like 32 days. That shirt is SO last season now. This particular policy must be even more galling for those of us that don’t celebrate Christmas. Wait, you’re telling me that because of a holiday I don’t celebrate, I’m getting a quarter of the money that I paid for Thing X, because I am arbitrarily returning it after a holiday that annoys the hell out of me anyway?
Listen, stores: the customer is not your enemy. Most of us are not out to get you. Seriously, we just want to return an ugly sweater. And if you can’t trust your clerks, salespeople and store managers to use some discretion and make sensible decisions within a set of overarching guidelines, then doesn’t this say something about your hiring policy? So now, two problems have been exposed: hiring policy and your returns policy…. Maybe you just really suck at management.
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