Why I don’t return things.

I was looking around for a cheapĀ  jacket to wear as part of a costume for Halloween. I thought I found the perfect item for a great deal. I bought it. I assembled my outfit. When the time came to go out, I changed my mind. Well, actually, my friends never called, so I didn’t go out. The very next day, I go to return the unused jacket. To my chagrin I realize their flimsy paper tag fell off the jacket–which might be something their company needs to improve upon to lower losses–yet also, it made me look like I wore it and now I’m returning it.

I get to a cashier in their returns window. Other than the fallen flimsy paper tag, the buttons were still covered by tissue, and all other tags were attached. Of course, this was the least of my problems. When the cashier scanned the tag, the item appeared as a pack of underwear (on their computer). I was standing there in awe. I looked at the receipt, and lo-and-behold, it said underwear pack. Now, I was surely bemused. As a retail salesperson, I already felt irony and stupidity rise within me.

I hate returning items for various reasons, mostly pride. Why buy the item if you didn’t want it? That is considered a waste of time. If you bought the item as a gift, let them return it to get something better. Unless you spend a piddly amount on them and you want to return it, so as to hide your cheapness–you should never have been cheap to begin with, or just bought a gift they can’t return. There is a certain amount of embarrassment when returning, because the cashiers always question you, look at you with accusation, and definitely give you the feeling of belittling. I much rather keep an unwanted item–if I actually buy something I don’t want–rather than return it. I have a small pile of items I’ve bought and refused to return. This jacket was not one of them.

I, as a cashier, always just accept returns, other than ones obviously worn, older than time, or somehow damaged or destroyed. I don’t question people, even if they are used to the questions and decide to list me various reasons for not wanting the item–it didn’t fit, they didn’t need it, they found something else, blah-blah. I just accept the return, give them no reason for embarrassment, and let them go. We aren’t catching criminals here, we’re just losing money.

By this time, the manager has come to examine the tags and items. Definitely noting the fact the underwear packs don’t cost as much as my jacket. I was flustered mainly that their store mislabeled something and sold it; increasingly flustered that I don’t read receipts so I was partly to blame–you see how this issue with returning always makes people feel bad and stupid? Eventually she says she’ll, “Do this for me just this one time. But only this time.”

I’m standing there, my eyes are rolling inside, I want to scream, saying I also work retail, and I know how all this works, and that I would never use that line on a customer–especially if it was the store’s fault for this mistake, mislabeled ignorance. I will often take blame for my co-workers when there is a return or receipt with a mistake on it, whilst writing down the co-worker’s name for future embarrassment at my hands, of course.

By now, my heart is pumping, my face is red, and I’m quite irritated. I once more resolve never to return things and always to be sure of what I’m buying. Impulse shopping does not exist for me. Especially since I plan for a week or more before I buy anything. Again, I ask, why would I buy something I don’t want or need?

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