Posts Tagged ‘returns’

Trouble This Way Comes

April 30, 2010

One of our customers who shops often is walking toward me. If I had ESP, an alarm in my head would go off whenever I see her. Instead, I automatically feel irritated, especially since I’m trapped at the cash registers. She has a bag of returns, of course. She also has a pile of clothes she wants to buy.

“I want to return these bras, they didn’t fit. I took off the tags, but there in here somewhere.” She dumps the contents on the counter. There is a black and a white bra, rolled up and twisted. I can already see her hair is clinging to the black bra. I already know I need to write damage tags on these, after I wash my hands. She doesn’t let go of the receipt when she hands them to me, because she also bought shorts, and now they are on promotion, so she wants a price adjustment for them. In addition, she wants to get all these new shorts, too.

Since she was making the transaction complicated, I decided to just split it. So I tell her, I’ll return the bras first. So I quickly scan them in, grab the bundle with the tips of my fingers–as I don’t want to rub my hands against the inside of those cups. Believe me, if you were standing there looking at her, you wouldn’t want to either. I print out a receipt for the return, and start on the shorts.

I scan it, and they are over-the-deadline. She normally can’t return them and obviously it’s too late for any price-adjustments, but I tell her I’ll pretend she’s returning them and buying back new ones.

“But I don’t have them to return.”
“It’s okay, I have the receipt, I can do it for you as an exception this time. I’m trying to help you out.” In reality, I just want to get rid of her as fast as possible.¬†Truly, she doesn’t have the items, yet I can still use the numbers on the receipt to allow her to return them and buy them back with the new price.
“I can’t just get a price adjustment?”
“I said it’s over the deadline, the computer won’t allow it. I’m doing what I can to give you some money back.”
“Okay, do what you have to.”

So I find the shorts on the list and return it manually, then buy it back.

“What’s this, what are you doing?”
“I am returning them, and buying them back so you get the difference.”
“I don’t understand, but whatever.”
This time, I say okay. I’m losing patience with her stupidity and mix of arrogance and rudeness, when I’m already doing what I’m not supposed to–just to get rid of her.
“I have more items that you can return on that receipt that are cheaper now.”
I sigh loudly, and say, “Okay fine.” Now, she’s pushing my buttons.
“I’m just being greedy now,” she laughs.
“Yes, you are,” I tell her flatly, and give her a look of distaste.

Once I work those out, she asks about the bras, and I tell her I already returned them, and credited it back to her card.

“No!” She yells at me, “I wanted to use them towards this purchase! I don’t want it returned on my card!”

I stand and stare at her for a moment. I see a line of customers staring at us, because I’ve been working on this ridiculous transaction for so long, for Ms. Greedy–I hope there is no Mr. Greedy, because he’d have to be pretty stupid to marry her. So I ask for back-up at the register. I go to try to cancel her transaction, but the computer won’t allow me. So I have to ask for a manager to come, which takes a minute. I tell her a manager is coming to cancel the bra returns.

“I don’t understand. What are you doing?” Why do you understand nothing, woman? How have you survived in this world for so long?

“The manager needs to cancel it, then you can use the bras you’re returning to pay for these,” I point at her shorts. She looks at her watch, and sighs. I start to scan in the new shorts that she’s buying, while she keeps asking what I’m doing. I’m really too tired to keep explaining the same thing over and again. Who pays her bills? Definitely not her, she wouldn’t even understand what a bill is. She says this is so complicated–actually, it wasn’t complicated until you made it complicated, woman. The manager arrives, cancels the transaction, and we start at the very beginning. I return the bras and the shorts she does not have, I give her the price adjustments, and hit total. She keeps saying how it’s all so confusing, and I just make my blank face and pretend I can’t hear her. It would have been simple, if you weren’t so stupid.

So she pulls out her credit card, and pays for it using the same card which had been credited by the bras–the same money is going the same way. Now, she’s really pushing the edge of stupidity. Now, what I don’t understand is the difference between returning the bras and getting credit back on her credit card, and then buying the shorts. How is that different from returning the bras and using the credit to make the shorts cheaper–because it’s the same total at the end. It all goes back and comes from the same bank account.

This is one time, I’d need to use some thoughtful input, because none of my coworkers saw the difference, other than making things complicating, which customers are utterly good at.

Customer Types: Agreeing to Disagree, Capitalist, The Complainer, The Dumb, ESP, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations, Micromanagement

Diminishing Returns

April 3, 2010

This will be a more thoughtful post, revolving around the idea of prices, mark-ups, and mark-downs. You see, I often hear people saying, “This costs just two-dollars for them to make,” which is true to an extent. If you could go down to the various factories where clothes are made, and people are paid pennies, then yes, I’m sure you could buy it for two-dollars. But then, oh wise Capitalists, would you travel all the way to these third-world countries in order to buy those products? No, not really.

So, we have to pack and then ship the product to a local store. The costs for packing, shipping across an ocean on a boat to a sorting factory, then shipping to individual stores and locations by plane, in order for a guy to carry it to a store near you, then someone unpacks the boxes, sorts the clothes, hangs them, and displays them… I could go on, but each of these people get paid for your convenience–for our convenience. If you could go to a shipyard and buy it off the boat, that’d be great, but would you? Ha-ha, not-so-much. If, and totally if, you could buy it right after it was processed and ready to sell in a store, then it is worth the price on the tag. This is rarely the case.

The entire process, for me, ignores the Brand price, which you really ‘should’ keep an eye on. Made in Italy means the people are paid a lot more to make it compared to Made in the Philippines, so the final cost is multiplied. Yet, some companies still make their stuff in ‘those’ countries that you’d never want to visit, and then mark it up because they are “The Big Thing”, so they can mark it up, because people will buy it–supply and demand.

Back to the topic on hand, once the price is tagged and the items are on the floor, sure, it cost two-dollars to make and then more to get it where it is, but what then? Then people try it on, and someone else has to re-fold it, re-hang it, and replace it where it was. Someone is paid each and every time this happens, over and over, until that piece of clothing is sold. If you look at the minimum-wage in your state, if this item is worked on a total of one hour, how much is it currently worth? I actually think the more a piece of clothing is touched, the more it is worth, but these are the diminishing returns. Eventually, the items are marked down, which again takes time and effort to move it around as it becomes less-and-less of the ‘main product’ being replaced by newer products. Then they sit ‘on sale’, actually worth more than they were worth when they first touched the sales floor because of all the extra time and money used to upkeep it (it even costs money to have it on display where a store pays rent). In the end, you might sell something for twenty-dollars, but paid all sorts of people so much, you just make a profit of two-dollars on that product.

So when a snotty genius lifts a shirt, ruining the fold, and throws it down, saying, “This costs two-dollars to make,” I wonder how shallow their minds really are. I can learn to accept the rude, but respecting the dumb is a different story.

Returns: a jacket with deep pockets.

February 24, 2010

One of my co-workers was attaching tags on items that were returned. I pat the jacket, because it’s a padded, puffer vest. Then, I notice there’s a lump in it. Obviously, I can’t resist knowing what it is. Maybe someone left money, or the original tags, or something else interesting or special on accident. So I shove my hands inside, and I pull out a random assortment–a plastic spork, some salt, and some pepper. This is definitely a reason why you can’t accept all returns, and you need to really check if this item was worn or not. Although I would not be smelling this item, if they keep food articles in their pockets. The spork would have given the whole ‘worn’ aspect away.

We’re actually quite grossed out by this find. Yet I’m intrigued, I have to put my hand in the other pocket. I feel a small lump and I pull it out. Opening my hand, I want to barf a little and I run by my co-worker almost knocking her over. I need to wash my hands, dropping the old, dirty, used napkin on the ground.

At least make it look like you didn’t wear it! Come on people, how disgusting are you? We don’t sell you clothes with used items in the pockets.

Remembering a return.

February 24, 2010

Several years ago, I was still definitely against returns or exchanges. I don’t really know why, perhaps due to some kind of misunderstanding. Several years ago, my ex asked me to buy something for a function (at this point, my ex was already an ex, but I’m not a mean person, or perhaps I’m too kind at times). I buy it. It’s worn to the function, and the next day I’m asked to return it. I wail and bemoan this act, knowing you cannot return something that’s been worn. In reply, I get, “They won’t know, plus I’m never going to wear this again.” I sign with contempt, and enter the store.

When I go to return the item, the man at the counter grabs it, shoves it in his face and inhales deeply. “This has been worn.” Firstly, I’m disgusting and grossed out that people do that in front of customers. At best, I’ll check after its returned–I note the feel and texture of washed clothes, then the smell of the detergent. It’s generally a game for us to guess the brand of detergent they use. Now, that’s funny. This situation is not so funny.

“What,” I reply, gasping, “They told me it wasn’t worn! Damn liars.” I take the item back and march out, and throw the package at my ex, “They smelled it, they said it was worn, they aren’t taking it back. It’s yours now, forever.” And I walk away. Definitely one reason an ex is an ex.

Why I don’t exchange things.

February 24, 2010

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.

Why I don’t return things.

February 24, 2010

I was looking around for a cheap¬† 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?