Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Returning Stuff

Today I went to "Unnamed Large Department Store" to return 4 pairs of pants I had bought for my 4 year old. Do you know why I had to return 4 pairs of pants? Because they shrank in the wash. Not just a little bit - a lot! Like from a size 5 (which he needs) to about a size 3 (which he hasn't worn in a year and a half). I was seriously disappointed because it took me forever to find pants for him that were reasonable and kid friendly (check one point for large city living, down one for the small town). Fortunately, he had only worn 3 of these pants so the 4th pair was unwashed and you could see the difference. I'm talking 4 inches of fabric difference. When he tried them on at the store, they were too long for him. The first time he wore them, I folded over the waist to make them fit him better. When he put them on after washing they were halfway between his ankles and knees. Crazy. Of course I didn't have the receipt. It took me forever to find pants that fit that he liked. I've been buying little boy pants for over 7 years now and I've never seen this happen. No problem (or so I thought). The store policy says, "Items returned without a receipt will be given and in store credit for the lowest most recent price". Totally fine by me. I paid clearance price anyway. Very politely, I brought the pants up to the children's department counter. I explained that I would like to return these pants because they shrank too much. The clerk barks at me, "Did you follow the washing instructions correctly?" "Yes, I did" (laundry I can do) I unfolded the pants to show her the size difference. "Well these are different pants from each other" she says "No, they are the same brand, same size" "Oh, well, do you have a receipt?" "No, I don't have it anymore, I've never had this happen before and wasn't planning on returning them" "Well, you NEED a receipt you know" Okay would someone please explain to me why the attitude? I have no problem with her. I am returning pants from her store. I'm not rejecting her, just the pants. But I bite my tongue and restrain myself from taking the return policy sign that is right there on her counter and hitting her over the head with it, and she storms away to another sales counter. I wait. She returns and starts typing numbers into her computer. "Well, I can only give you $4.99 a pair for them and only on store credit" She looks at me, almost daring to object. "That's fine" I smile back at her. After I left, I kept thinking about this. I remember when I was younger, I was so nervous returning things to a store. And this is why, I'm sure of it. There have been others who work in sales who give you such a hard time about returning things. I remember returning one pair of jeans I bought when I was in University and the sales lady there said, "Well, I don't know if I could put these back on the rack now and sell them." (These were jeans with the tags and I had the receipt, so I really don't know what her problem was). Maybe dealing with returns is frustrating, but it doesn't have to be. Many stores have these great "no hassle" return policies and they should. You shouldn't be barked at, or talked down to because you need to return something. Today, I made a reasonable request. I needed to return something because the merchandise was faulty. Had these pants been normal pants I wouldn't have returned them. If your goal is to keep your customers happy so they will continue to be your customers, then please, treat them like people!

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