Returns (I guess a sorta PSA?)

There are a few things I’m wildly passionate about – kinda pet peevy things that have bugged me forever.

One is people not putting their effing shopping carts back at Harris Teeter, which I’ve mentioned before.  It’s kind of a trigger for me.  Like I wrote into the local paper about it.

The second is returns.  Or why I can’t stand the abuse of return policies.

And I think I’m sort of sensitive to this having worked pretty extensively in retail.  We have a really really generous return policy, and unfortunately. what that means is that sometimes folks really abuse the policy, and use it as an opportunity to use us a a closet.  Which totally blows for us (the retailer) because we don’t always get credit on things returned to us so we take an L.  Some of that stuff is built into the prices.  Some of it isn’t, and it drives prices up.  Not a fun place to be.

So yesterday, a person in a group I’m a part of on mentioned that they got a notice from Amazon because as a runner, they’d been ordering shoes, and sending them back, due to some issues with some foot pain and whatnot.  Which I get, but also, I understand completely where Amazon is coming from.

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Now, Amazon isn’t super transparent about what the magic number is that will get you one of those fun notices, but it seems like by communicating early and asking if everything is okay with your account, they’re sending the message that they get it, but you can’t treat them like a personal shopper.

Which I totally get. I have, we all have, been in a spot where you have to return something because it’s just not working, defective, or not what you thought it was, but when you’re staring at 4, 5, 10 returns in the span of a month, you really need to question if there’s another way you need to start going about purchases.

So I know places like Amazon, Lululemon, and REI cracking down on their return policies is so annoying, but super necessary.  And if you find yourself starting to become a chronic returner of an item, or a category of item, it may be time to switch up the game plan.

Onto happier things!

What are your favorite places with the BEST customer service?

I continue to be impressed by Amazon – I broke my Kindle, and they really were apologetic, and asked what they could do to help me fix it.  I totally ended up buying another because they were so nice to me.

FitBit – I lost the band on the Flex Twice – ended up spending MORE money because of how awesome they were to work with.

Lululemon – I checked in with one of their educators to find some good maternity stuff, and because they know their products so well, they were able to give me immediate word on what would work throughout the pregnancy.  I will spend some money there for sure!

Shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t do it.

Christmas Eve 2011, I was working at Whole Foods Market, in the bakery.  It was nearing 6 pm, and the store was doing what was called a “soft closing,” where you sorta close, but you let anyone who comes screeching up in the parking lot come in, for fear that they will write you a bad review on Yelp.

I peered over the counter, wearing my antlers as a pretend signal of good tidings, when really, I wanted to murder everyone who was shopping, including a woman on the cell phone, who was leisurely strolling through the aisles.  Like it wasn’t 6pm on Christmas Eve, like simply because I was being paid an hourly wage, that I didn’t deserve to get to go to Midnight Mass with my family, sleep in, and wake up leisurely to open presents with my family.

Instead, around 6pm on Christmas 2011, I was hauling a clear bag full of old bread and bagels to the dumpster in the ran, and shivering in a chefs coat while last-minute Christmas shoppers milled about.  Close to 7, I finally filled up on gas, and I’d made it to my parents’ house by 10:30 pm. On Christmas Eve.  My parents were already asleep, and I only had a few hours the following day with my siblings before I had to head back for my shift in the coffee bar.

If you shop on Thanksgiving Day, you are a jerk.  Plain and simple, I’m not sorry to say.  I have had the unfortunate opportunity to have to work on holidays, on holiday eves, and on the day after holidays and it always sucks.  Each time I had to show up at my parents’ home at an ungodly hour, or each time I left while my siblings were still sleeping or spending time with relatives, I began to resent my work, and swore that I would quit my job the next day.  I never did, I needed the money while I looked for full-time work in my field, but it made me resent my job and truly hate people more than I care to admit, temporarily.  The “hate” feeling returned with each holiday I had to celebrate by doling out lattes to stressed party hosts.  And I really do dislike it when I feel so angry towards others – it’s not at all healthy.

“Well if you don’t like it, just make sure you ask for that day off! Target said on TV it’s only the employees who really want to work that day/night.”

First off all, no one, even the person who lives only with his or her cats,  wants to bundle up so they can stand on their feet all night and serve you.  It’s barely fun on a regular day, and super unfun on a chilly holiday.  And that’s not exactly how it works.  When I worked bakery retail, and in the coffee bar at Whole Foods, and the same went for when I worked in a restaurant for my stint in graduate school, you’d get your choice of which holiday you want off.  If you get the days around Thanksgiving off, you won’t get days around Christmas off.  Maybe you’ll get the days at New Years.  It’s all a trade.  But the choice is only which holiday you’ll work.

Please, please, please, before you leave your plates on the counter and run out on Thanksgiving night, think about the folks who are having to leave their families to ring you out.  Not only did they have to leave their families, they hate you, and they’re hoping that you slip and break that flat screened television you dragged them out to purchase.  The employee break room is intermittently filled with folks snacking on lame, stale holiday treats that management put out for them as an attempt to boost morale, but guess what?  It isn’t working, and they’re seeing red with every e-reader you buy.

So regardless of what some of these retailers choose to do, don’t make it worth their while – avoid shopping on Thanksgiving and let them know that our families are a little more important to us than cheap electronics.  That’s what shopping online is for, anyways.