A Week of Retail Returns

I hate returning things. I always feel bad because it’s rarely the fault of the item – it was some form of mistake on my part (wrong size, wrong color, turns out I didn’t need it, etc), and here I am creating extra work for people. But then I found out about my aunt’s psychotic abuse of return policies and decided that my return needs were perfectly reasonable. I mean, this woman will buy 10 things and return 9 of them. At all stores where she shops, and every time she shops. The back of her SUV is filled with her rejects. I really don’t get it, because returning things is not my idea of a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Well, it started off badly – not Overstock‘s fault, but more my brother’s and mine. I got some curtains for Christmas to replace the ones that I left on the train and never recovered, but by the time Christmas came, I’d changed my color scheme plans. We celebrated the holidays at my brother’s place in Baltimore, and I left him in charge of the return so I wouldn’t have to lug them back to NYC on public transportation (which temporarily lost my luggage too!). I forgot to chase him up, but I don’t think it mattered – those curtains were deeply clearanced so a return wasn’t really an option. I figure he hasn’t decorated a couple of the rooms in his house yet, so they’ll be put to use.

In happier news, I discovered 2 weeks ago that Home Depot changed their return policy so that you can take an item bought online to a retail location and get the refund. I almost failed to return it in time though – I did it on the last possible day (Monday) of their 90-day return window because the city was too slushy for the 5 days before that. So I paid $2.25 for the subway – only one-way because I live just a 15-minute walk away – instead of $20 in return shipping.

This evening, I received an email from Sierra Trading Post informing me that they had received my return item and, since more than 6 months had passed since the purchase, the full $23.50 was issued as store credit/gift card. It took me a moment to figure out what this was…ohmygod, it was a present I had given my post office-averse newlywed sister for Christmas 2008. As in 15 months ago. This sister has randomly finds a sealed, addressed card she meant to send at some point in the past and mails it with a little note on the back of the envelope that she has no idea what’s inside. Usually, it’s a birthday card from 2-5 birthdays ago. With supplemental stamps on it because the rate had changed once or twice since.

Of course, the issue of curtains and rugs has yet to be addressed.  I’m just afraid of making more mistakes. Like that orange paint. That was a $40 mistake. Ouch.

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4 Responses

  1. You should never feel bad returning things unless you are legitimately abusing the system: doing things like using the item and then returning, breaking the item on purpose, etc. Changing your mind is a totally valid reason to return.

    • Well, that rug is now selling for $32 less than I paid – which didn’t bug me, I was pretty happy with $129 for a decent-size area rug. But that camisole is going to end up in STP’s bargain bin for $8 – but then, maybe it belongs there since it was labelled a small but was definitely a large.

  2. I’m cracking up over here about your sister and the birthday cards! That’s hilarious!

    I *hate* returning things at the stores also. I always feel it is too much work, but then when it’s done I realize it only took 3 minutes of my time. I don’t know why I always put it off….

  3. […] Money Mate Kate: A Week of Retail Returns […]

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