Thursday, December 27, 2018

Return to Sender

Sooo, did anyone receive a well-intentioned gift they now have to return?  I do Amazon wish lists (or separate lists to people who ask) after spending my 20's getting some pretty "interesting" gifts.  It's not even that I have to fake smile as I wonder "what the hell is this/am I going to do with this?", it's more that people wasted their money.  I don't want you to think I don't appreciate the thought, I do.  But personally, I'd rather get someone something they asked for with maybe something small as an extra that I think they'd like.

My MIL was infamous for really horrible regifts that were actually legendary at my old work.  Literally, people would gather with big smiles and baited breath around my cubicle when we came back from the holidays "what did she get you this year?!"  She's since learned that money is better after doing the whole "if you don't like what I got you, I have the receipt.  I don't mind" one year.  Well, it was pretty expensive and I took her at her word because I was allergic to what she got me.

Life Lesson:  If a mother in law tells you they have the receipt, donate the item.  Seriously.  Because everyone who says "I have the receipt" is on a power trip and as Admiral Ackbar so adequately pointed out...

Here's what you'll need if returns are in your future.


I have one friend who puts gift receipts in every box, God bless her.  Sometimes she hits on the rogue items, other times I'm like "did you give me the wrong thing?"  In my head, of course.  Receipts will make your life easier and stores are more forgiving when you have one even if things were purchased months ago depending on the store.  You will likely get cash back if it's been within 14-30 days at most stores, even a few give 60 days for the holidays but some will give a store credit because that's their policy.  Call ahead so you can decide if it's worth the hassle.  If you don't have the receipt, count on not only getting the store credit but you will also get the lowest price it's recently sold for.

Online purchases can be tricky since it's tied to the person's credit card but if they got it on Amazon, they've got your back.  Said friend was nice enough to get me a Lisa Frank coloring book and pencils.  Well, I don't know who Lisa Frank is (yes, I grew up in the 80's) and I already had a set of pencils.  With Amazon, they ask for the number on the gift receipt, they tell you the amount and then they issue YOU a gift card to spend on Amazon and the giver is never notified.  Brilliant!

Don't touch!

If it's something boxed up, don't open it, break any seals, etc, especially on electronics.  Some places charge a restocking fee if they can't put it right back on the shelf.

Bring your ID

It's no surprise that fraud (whether intentional or not) is high right after the holidays.  What I mean by unintentional is when you're told "I think I got it at X store" and you return it and later they're like "you know, I think I actually got it at blah blah blah."  Many stores are now keeping track of how many returns people make and are tying it with their identity for loss prevention purposes.  As long as you've got nothing to hide, handing over your ID shouldn't be an issue.

Bring LOTS of patience

Just a few days ago it was "peace on Earth, goodwill toward men."  In the return lines, it's "outta my way mother puss bucket, I've got five other places to go.  I'm tired, I'm hungry, the kids got a ray gun tag game they've been playing with since Christmas Day and all I need is a reason!!!!"  I'd tell you to go early but everyone tells people to go early.  If you can, go at off-peak hours like 2pm or 7pm right in between that window of people doing returns before meal times.  Bring your earbuds and listen to a podcast so you don't have to hear other people's sighs, rants, or excuses.  It just raises your blood pressure.  Meditate before you go in, chant your mantras, align your chakras, whatever you have to do.  The line may go fast, it may go slow.  Just don't go before you have someplace to be and roll with it.


You got to the returns desk...bravo!  Now...SMILE!  Be kind, be human.  These people are getting the brunt of a whole month of pent-up holiday anger.  They know if they go without a receipt they aren't getting cash back and think somehow they can scream the person into submission.  If you're yelling at me, I'm not helping you.  That's Retail 101 from way back, yo.  The person will appreciate the break from the screaming banshee they just dealt with and if you crack a joke or ask how long until they get off work and can finally relax, you may just get a little more than you bargained for.  Even if there's nothing in it for you, ultimately, we all need a BREAK and a reminder that not everyone in line is a douche nozzle.

Any returns in your future?

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  1. I'll get a couple of head-scratchers every once in a while, but I don't mind. I'll quietly donate them because I figure somebody can use them if it wasn't my taste or wasn't something I could use.

  2. This year I only have one thing to return, and that's because I bought the wrong size slippers for my son. I can't believe how big his feet are! Also one shirt his aunt got him is too small, but since she lives out of town I will probably just quietly donate that.

    I always have to have ID to return things to the local WalMart (unfortunately that's practically the only place to shop around here). They have such a high theft rate, and then people try to return things they've stolen for cash. As long as I have my receipt there is no limit to what I can return, but if I lose the receipts I am only allowed to return a certain number of items in a specified time period. I kept all of the receipts from Christmas items just in case, but if my track record holds the one receipt I need will be the one receipt I won't be able to find.


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