I consider returning and exchanging parallel because of their repercussions, which is basically embarrassment and a form of harassment, and definitely the seemingly legitimate chance for salespeople to get back at customers by being insulting, degrading and rude. For all intents and purposes, I don’t mind that, as long as there is some form of customer rudeness and stupidity included. This does not count when I’m the one returning or exchanging. In general, I am not stupid nor am I rude.
I bought a product I thought would be reasonable for my purposes, but it turns out, I needed the deluxe version which cost a lot more, but definitely made a difference. So I go to the return window, and I show them my return with my receipt and the item I want to exchange it for. She looks at me, then the receipt, then the items, then me, then the items, and puts the receipt down.
“No, you don’t do it like this! You bring the item you want to exchange to me first! You don’t go and get the item you want to exchange! We will get the item for you! You don’t do it like this! We will take your item for you, and get the item you want.”
I’m standing there, initially thinking I did her a favor, since these two items aren’t even in the same area of the store. I usually appreciate my customers bringing the item they want to exchange, rather than them coming to the register saying they want to exchange, and I have to run around looking for the item, while the line of customers grows longer and longer. I appreciate people who find the item they want to exchange. I am already taken aback.
So I stand there and do my best to apologize. Again, I want to scream that I work retail as well, but it’s never worth my time. This was her time, her time for empowerment, to belittle the customer–I just pray for her never to walk into my store and act dumb or rude, because it will be my turn. Considering the fact I was returning an item worth one-fifth of the item I was buying ($4 versus $20), she was still acting like I was stealing–I understand when people return something that costs a lot to exchange for something worthless. So even here, I was quite in awe. Yet, this reaffirms my vow not to return or exchange items–I just have someone else do it for me. Because no matter how well you plan, and how intelligently you do it, someone else ends up being stupid.