Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A membership card that really pays for itself

There are certain things as a consumer I expect to be able to return to a store. Brand new items with their original tags as a direct exchange, for example. Cough, cough, Target.

But watermelon? Half-eaten? And over a month old?

Yesterday afternoon as I was working on relaying the brick walkway in our backyard, my neighbor Laura stopped over after getting back from a shopping trip with her son.

"You'll never believe what I just saw," she said.

With an introduction like that, I put down my shovel and perked up. It was time for a break anyway.

She explained that she had spontaneously purchased a pair of shorts at Sam's Club last week that looked like they would fit. But upon getting them home, well, not so much. And what woman can't relate to that? I consistently settle on too small sizes when I first enter a dressing room. I call them my Wishful Thinking Outfits. Then I get depressed, mentally swear off ice cream for the rest of my life and grab more realistic options.

But because Laura wasn't able to try the shorts on at the store, she was forced to make a return.

And while she was waiting in line at the customer service desk, she noticed a half-eaten watermelon on the counter with a return tag on it.

"Um, did someone actually return a watermelon?" she asked once she was being waited on.

The answer? Yes.

Some guy ate half a watermelon AND RETURNED THE OTHER HALF.


And, you know, call me crazy, but by definition, perishable items TEND TO PERISH OVER TIME. It's kind of an unspoken understanding when you purchase things without an infinite shelf life. And until Willy Wonka invents an everlasting watermelon, we'll just have to deal with the reality that fruit has to be consumed before it rots.

But not that guy. His watermelon didn't last long enough. So he returned it.

That move takes watermelon-sized balls.

But what boggles my mind is that the store accepted it. And when Laura made the same observation, another employee working in customer service had a story that topped it.

"Oh that's nothing," she said. "Last year a woman returned an 8-year-old mattress because it started to squeak."


But they took it back with a receipt.

Now pardon me while I go purchase brand new tires for my car. Normally I would gulp at the price tag, but no worries. I'll just get them at Sam's Club and return them after 30,000 miles.


Anonymous said...

When I worked at Old Navy, a man came in to exchange some clothes he had bought a few weeks earlier. Odd thing, they were burned up in a house fire and all he had left were some rags that slightly resembled some merchandise we had in the store. We made a call to corporate because instinctively our opition was not to allow an exchange, but were then instructed over the phone that as long as he had a receipt and the burned up rags were identifiable we needed to exchange them for like items. >_< That's customer service! (I think they've changed their policy however. lol)

Ray said...

WOW!! I can't believe what I'm reading. Somehow I seems too good to be true. And partly ridiculous as well with what, bringing back an 8-year old mattress along with a half eaten month old watermelon! I mean just what are they going to do with the half eaten watermelon? Eat it? Possibly: if you're gross like that. And I guess with the mattress they're going to recycle it. Or maybe send it to a used mattress/furniture store.... Who knows?!

But I'm guessing if I had a membership from, "Sam's Club" in NY, I probably wouldn't be able to pull that crap. LOL! =P

Interesting story though. Thanks for sharing. =)

ǝuoʎuɐzǝɥʇ said...

I've seen someone return a pair of shorts to Wal*Mart once. That they had made themselves. Out of sample material, so they were patchwork.

A full refund was issued.

Not sure what price they decided to refund them at.

Maria said...

Nordstrom will do the same thing. I watched a friend bring back a pair of 200 dollar jeans that he had worn for 2 years and return them because they had "faded" too fast. He used to work there and he knew the system, as long as you have a reciept or they can pull the purchase up on your Nordie's credit card account they'll accept it back regardless of condition.

whitney/weber said...

Last month I tried to return some UNOPENED, ORIGINAL PKG items to my *favorite* craftstore, but because I wrote a check I was told I had to wait 10 days before a refund would be given (apparently I showed up on day 9...). Well, I didnt make it back to the store for about a week and then was told my receipt was TOO OLD! I could have gotten a store credit but decided I would boycott the store instead and not shop there again...bitter sweetness? They closed this branch of the chain last week!

chelsea said...

What really grosses me out is that you can return makeup! I had bought eyeliner from MAC to have an allergic reaction and I was told I could return it! I want to know if they're gonna sharpen it and declare it "good as new".

But thats just insane!!

Randall said...

My mother actually returned a plant to Publix because it died. She is a wonderful gardener and, well, according to her, her plants don't die so she was upset.

They gave her money back and the manager said it was the first time he has have done a return for a PLANT. I love my mother.

TarHeelKate said...

Wow that's crazy! How is it that some people have fantastic customer service luck, and the rest of us get the grumpy no-help customer "service" people? :)

the plainsman said...

I think many stores still have liberal return policies, but that watermelon guy is going to ruin it for everybody!

Ps. If we vote for a candidate on election day and don't like what he/she does, can we return him/her?

Anonymous said...

I work at Wal-Mart and we will take anything back! No, really... absolutely anything. We've taken clothes back from other stores. You don't have to have a receipt [up to 3 times] for most items so we will take anything that has a ticket and will come up in our system. It actually makes me really mad sometimes.

So, go ahead, return the things you've bought at target at Wally World cuz more than likely, we'll take it back.

Anonymous said...

OMG that is too funny!

Laura said...

when i worked at home depot, i learned ppl were allowed to return plants if they died

cant tell you how many ppl brought in dead plants and the gardening head would tell me 'we stopped selling that 4 yrs ago' etc

Jennifer said...

I once was forced, as a customer service rep at Bed Bath & Beyond, to do a refund on a comforter bought two years previously and used that entire time. The man had washed it, FOR TWO YEARS, and was returning it because it was now "lumpy".