Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's Your Return Policy?

As we prepare for Jen & Bill's upcoming (Saturday!) wedding, I find myself shopping a bit more than I normally would...and making more returns that I normally do.

When you're building something as large as a house, thousands of dollars are to be saved by making returns and exchanges, and demanding this weeks' sales prices. Just this week, for instance, the price of a saw that Clint purchased dropped $50 before ours was even delivered.

Clearly, you get your money back on something like this.

But what if you receive lousy service, or use or wear something that isn't quite up to snuff? Do you exchange it or get your money back?

I think of a recent expensive spa pedicure that was gifted to me. The polish never set up, and top of my toe was sanded off, leaving an ugly scab that lingered for 3 weeks. Does one get a return on a pedicure?!! My friends gave me a resounding yes, and silly as I felt complaining, I did get my money back and am returning to the spa.

Likewise, bad haircuts. Remember my infamous bad haircut? (L) What I asked for and (R) what I left the salon with:

The hairdresser I hired to "fix" that cut couldn't believe I paid for it. I didn't know that I could refuse; service was, after all, rendered.

And what if a thing just isn't what you expected?

I just returned a pair of shoes that were comfortable when I tried them on, but a leather over-stitch turned out to be razor-sharp, and I was bleeding in 4 hours. This was questionable, as the souls were scuffed. After showing the clerk the flaw in the design, and admitting that I'd worn them, she still merrily returned my money.

I would have cut my losses on that one, admitting that I did put some wear on them, but this one really gets into my craw: A handbag I purchased a couple of months ago. This is another item that I don't usually spend much for, but I splurged, "just this once."

8 weeks later, though, here's what's going on with the straps of the purse:

And the lining:

This is a "designer" purse, purchased from Bergner's. Not $3000 designer purse, but a $90 designer purse, and when I bought it, I naively expected it to last 10 years...like any old $15 purse from Walmart would, you know.

Of course, I don't have the tags, or the receipt; all I have is a crappy purse that's falling apart everywhere, and I'm not going to take it back. Still, I am extremely displeased. Displeased, I say! I just slapped the table top, that's how displeased I am, and I'm going to be a schmo and do nothing about it. Take that!

Likewise, I bought 2 pairs of glasses last summer that I can't see jack out of. I had been warned about adjusting to new bifocals. Couple that with wearing them so seldom that by the time I figured out that the lenses really were messed up, I was well past the 30-day exchange policy in the contract that I signed.

Sometimes I'm brave and sometimes I'm a schmuck.

What's your return policy?

Have you ever demanded money back for lousy services rendered?

Have you ever returned something after using, washing, or wearing it, or owning it for a bit too long?

Tell me.


  1. Mike Woodbeck2:48 PM

    My ex wife returned a fake x-mas tree only used once. IN JULY. And they gave her the money back.

  2. I got my money back after my pedicure! Im glad to hear you did to. I got an expensive pedicure 3 days before my wedding in Jamaica and by the time I got married only half of it was on there.. I hate to complain but if you are going to spend $50 for a pedicure you want it to last at least a week!

  3. I'm really bad about not taking things back, but Car Guy will.
    It's amazing what people will take back. A former coworker of mine worked at a women's clothing store and had horror stories of women trying to return clothes that had wear dirt all over them- collars, arm pits, etc. INCLUDING BRAS that had clearly been worn for more than a few days. Bleah.

    You need to check out www.notalwaysright.com for more stories of returns and idiot customers.

  4. Anonymous4:32 PM

    Only last week, we returned a garden mulcher to Aldi that was advertised as chomping through 40mm branches and couldn't mulch a gum leaf!

    The thing was dirty and well used as you could imagine trying to chew through small branches but they never blinked while giving my money back.

    We always keep our receipts in a shoe box in case.

  5. Anonymous5:07 PM

    A friend of mine once returned a turkey. She and her husband were going to host Thanksgiving, but another family member had it instead.

    They knew they would never eat an entire turkey themselves, so they returned it to the store. It was still frozen, but that's BY FAR the strangest return story I've ever heard!

  6. I admit I'm not very good about returning things. However, I've watched my mom do it a few times. I remember once she returned a swimsuit that had been worn AND washed (once each) because it literally disintegrated when she washed it.

    She recently sent a purse back to the manufacturer because the leather dye was spotting for no reason after only a month. And, like yours, it was an expensive purse also purchased at Bergner's. She also sent a hair dryer back to the manufacturer since it broke shortly after Meijer's return period expired.

  7. june in florida9:26 PM

    I was thinking about it from the stores point of view, if buyers don't return stuff that's defective they will just buy more of the same to sell not knowing it's crap.You should take the bag back.

  8. Mike: She used it in December and returned it in July? Or was there Christmas in July?

    Erica: Right, that's where I was; the spa folks bent over backward when I told them it was the most money I'd spent for the worst pedi I'd ever received. So, yay for them, for making it right.

    Chefann: Ok, yes, that's just not right. And thanks for the link, I killed a couple hours checking that site out!

    Dogbait: Aldi, here, is a discount grocery; same store there? Funny they took it back dirt and all. Wonder if they reshelved it.

    Carich: Now that is funny, I had no idea one could return food of any sort, in this day and age.

    Erin: Right-O on Mom; I feel the same way about clothes that fall apart after a washing. We aren't paying good money for disposable clothing!

    June: I was there tonight, and considered it, and completely weenie'd out!

  9. Stfarmer10:08 PM

    I took a Corvette (used) back because my ex made me.

  10. Anonymous10:14 PM

    Ok, if you are not wanting to return the purse to the store at least get online and write to the company that manufactured the purse. They will want to know about it. I have done that with things and they are usually very good about wanting your return business. DO IT. Kelly

  11. I once took a sorbet back to Safeway because it tasted like Pledge.
    The clerk was going to put it back on the shelf..come on now, how did I know it tasted like pledge...geeze-o-man

  12. The Japanese half of me won't return something used, but sell me inferior goods and I'll never buy anything from you ever again. Oh and since you brought up your handbag, I bought a leather purse from a craft fair, I paid $90 (back in the late 70’s or early 80’s) for it, and when I purchased it the artisan who made it told me that if anything went wrong with my purse he would fix it for free. I got a post card from him for about five years asking me if my purse was still in good order. I carried that purse for more than 30 years, it's in my closet now and the purse is still in good condition, it looks like it been around the block, but it's still usable! That's quality!

  13. (Eeeew. My word verification is "splerm") Anyway, as far as returns go I am so inconsistent it's not funny. Clothes, purses or shoes that have been used: I would never return those. I have made the guy that put in my new shower come back and fix the grout and I am about to call him again. I've had the same hairdresser for around 20 years and he will fix anything I don't like about my hair for free.
    I missed your last post but wanted to say that I'm sort of jealous of your obvious affection for Courtney. My daughter's fiance is just so whatever to me. After he asked her to marry him and gave her the ring, he came over to talk to me and proceeded to tell me that statistics show that married men are more likely to get promotions and raises than single men. How romantic is that? Fortunately they have picked the date of 10/10/10, so that is plenty of time for either me to get to like him more or for them to break up. Splerm, indeed.

  14. Anonymous3:15 AM

    Aldi here sells discount food and various other goods such as computers, clothes, electronic goods, tools etc. but these are usually turned over for new stock every couple of weeks.

    I cleaned it up but it was well and truly used and it wouldn't have gone back on the shelf because mulchers wouldn't be on sale anymore.

  15. StFarmer: Ok, THAT made me laugh. I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time...

    Kelly: Yes, I'll do it, I will!

    Lyn: Ugh; was this in a carton, or individual serving sizes? I'm trying to figure out how anyone could justify reshelving opened food. Moron.

    AZ: That's amazing. That's how I expect all of my purses to hold up!

    Geewits: No return even if it falls apart after 1 washing?! And yes, I feel stupid-blessed to love my future DIL. Good luck with the SIL...one way or another.

    Dogbait: Looks like the same corporation, but they're small groceries here, with a tiny houseware section. I love the place, it's so much cheaper than any other grocer. Wish we had all of the other goodies too!

  16. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Okay- You must do something about the purse. Here is what you do. Email your exact post and pictures of your purse to the makers of the purse. I had that happen with a dance outfit I bought my daughters and emailed the company and they mailed us a new one.
    Come on- do this! And let us know how it comes out!

  17. I'm delurking on this one! I've had plenty of part-time retail jobs, and my best return story is a lady who came in to return a jumper. We had no end date on our returns, so I had to refund the entire amount of the jumper, because she had her receipt. Maybe I should mention that her receipt was from 1991, and the return happened in 2000!! It was obviously worn, and (by 2000) it was very much out of fashion. I couldn't believe she wanted to return it!

    Oh, and I'm totally going to check out notalwaysright.com now. :)

  18. I love you so much. Sometimes, I can kick ass with the best of them. Something not up to scratch? Something not last as long as it should? Somebody screw it up bad? Watch out. I will stay nice ~ and I will get results. I'm the Queen of gentle but firm (bordering on insistant). I have No Problem saying, with my nicest smile and my most polite voice, "why don't I speak to your supervisor about this?"

    Except when I'm Not. Those are the times when I can't quite bring myself to say "well, it's not exactly what I wanted but..." let alone actually return/exchange/confront/deal with/acknowledge an issue exists. And there is no telling which way I will react over any given situation.

    Over on my blog is the haircut I really really want before the southern migration takes place. The thought of what I might get is the only thing holding me back because I love my hair so much. And if I don't get *that* cut, who knows how I will respond ~ because I surely don't.

  19. Sadly, never had the courage to ask my money back for something I had used.Next time around I am gonna come back to this post for some inspiration.

    Talking of bad services, I walked around with a harry potter like scar above the eyebrow after a disasterous waxing session. I went back and yelled at them. but didnt ask for the money back. Stupid.

    Hubby is a big time 'returner'.I once caught him mumbling "I'll return you to your parents if you remain angry any more! " Ofcourse, that was the end of my anger and beginning of a loud long laugh :D

  20. Ha! Tell him that your parents have same policy as my eye doctor: no returns after 30 days! :-D

  21. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I spoilt myself for my 40th birthday and spent about $200 on a matching bra and knickers set - more than $100 for the knickers themselves (expensive lace!). After just a couple of wears, the lace on the knickers pretty much fell apart. I was extremely disappointed as you can imagine. Still wearable, but obviously bad quality. As they were knickers, and had been worn of course there was no way I was going to return them. Next time I was in that particular lingerie shop I mentioned my experience to the sales lady. She was horrified and insisted I bring them in for a replacement. "But they're knickers and I've worn them!" She said that as long as the tags were still on the manufacturer would happily replace them. Unfortunately the tags were the first thing I cut off ...

  22. I bought my friend Barney a Hawaiian shirt at the thrift store once, paid for it without thinking, got home and realized I'd paid $18. for a used shirt. Their shirts are normally $1.99. Even though I felt like a cheap skate, I took it right back and they only agreed to a store credit.

  23. I got a terrible haircut a few weeks ago -- I could barely stand to look at it!
    I went back to the salon a few days later to complain and I didn't get my money back but it did get "fixed."

    About half the length of the haircut I'd requested later, I was was happy-ish with it.


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