January 23, 2015

Dear Frannie Friday--Adventures in Retail

January is the time of year when returns are made from the holidays.  The allotted extended return policy for most stores is about to come to a close (January 25, usually).  Now I spent four miserable years of my life working retail and so I feel obligated to give you a couple of pieces of advice.

1.  Do Your Homework

Do you know where this person got this unwanted item?  Are you able to get a receipt for it?  Do you know the store's return policy?  Most stores realize that people who are returning gifts won't have a receipt.  That's fair.  But here's the thing--without a receipt you have to realize that you will be limited in what help you can receive.  You may only be able to get store credit.  The store you thought the item was from might not carry the item.  Maybe it was an online purchase.  And without a receipt you can't prove that that particular store owes you anything.  Not to mention, it is a typical store policy to refund the lowest price of that item within thirty days to you.  So even though it is currently worth, say, $50, it might have been on sale during the last thirty days for $30.  You will end up with $30, probably in store credit. 

2.  A Little Kindness Can Go a Long Way

When I worked retail, I was more apt to help those that were nice to me.  And I am pretty sure that is universal.  It's true--you do attract more bees with honey than vinegar.  If you walk up to the counter in asshole mode--prepare to get the bareboned, fine print, by the rule, yes or no customer service around.  Basically you will get helped just enough for the employee to not get fired.  And no, it won't help to pledge that you will never return to said store.  Or that your brother knows the CEO.  No one cares.  Be nice and I guarantee that employee will do everything that they can to help you out.  Even if you are firm, but nice.  It goes a long way.  Trust.

3.  Rules Are A Pain

Yes, it's true.  Those little fine print rules and regulations are a pain in the ass, but there is a reason for them.  And it's not just to piss you off and ruin your day.  It's because there are people who ruin it for everyone--just like anything else.  For example, maybe there was a customer that will come in with a seemingly untouched box for a computer monitor and a receipt saying that they paid for the monitor and wanting a refund and choosing the pregnant lady behind the counter to refund it to him because you know she won't be able to lift it up and maybe she won't think anything of it and it will be realized after she has given the customer cash and he has left that the box was actually sans monitor and filled with cans of soup and the customer just left with $350 cash.  Maybe.  And that might have seriously happened to me. 

4.  Opened Merch

Keep this in mind:  if you open something, the chances that you can just return it are much slimmer.  Sometimes you can.  Sometimes you only can return it with a receipt.  Sometimes you can only exchange it.  Sometimes (I"m thinking electronics), you are liable for a restocking fee.  Just know that once you open something you may or may not be stuck with it.

5.  Timeframe

Please don't put off returning or exchanging a holiday gift.  In other words, if you try to bring something back in June that you got for Christmas, it probably won't work.  Just sayin. 

Red Dress-Old Navy; Black Leather Jacket-Target; Belt-Kohl's; Tights-Target; Booties-Ralph Lauren, gifted; Earrings-Charming Charlie's; Necklace-K-Mart

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