Book Chains Won't Honor My Exchange Unless I Buy Discount Cards

Clifton says two book stores, both part of large chains, refused to accept his receipt-less returns unless he signed up for the stores’ discount cards. A former bookstore employee, Clifton balked at clerks’ assertions that the exchanges weren’t possible unless he signed up.

First he tried Books-A-Million:

I went into a Books-A-Million store to exchange the books for two others that I had already picked out and were the exact same price as the two I was bringing back. The guy at the register was pretty unhelpful right from the get go saying that “the computer won’t do it without the receipt” unless I *surprise* purchase their discount card. I told him that right away that I used to work at Books-A-Million as a manager, and unless they’d drastically changed their computer system in the last 4 years, there was a way to do it and that their manager on duty should know how to do it.

He tells me that the other associate who was behind the counter had gone to get the manager already and explain the situation. The manager and the other counter associate were within earshot of me, and I heard their whole conversation. It had nothing to do with my issue and ended with the associate walking to the back and the manager resuming stocking books. At this point I left. Again, the books I wanted and the books I had were the exact same price. Books-A-Million would have lost nothing by honoring my exchange, but instead they have lost a customer for a number of reasons.

He found similar results at Barnes & Noble:

After leaving Books-A-Million, I went right down the street to Barnes & Noble and told them my situation, including the part where I didn’t have the receipt. The employees told me that would be fine, but I’d get it at the lowest marked price, unless — yet again — I had their discount card. I go and pick out my items, once again choosing two books that were the same price as the ones I was exchanging. This time the manager was at the counter and he clarified that I’d get the lowest marked price ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET. All in all, I got to exchange my books after having to pay 18 dollars for the new ones (lowest marked price), but I’m pretty stunned that two different companies don’t think it’s worth their time to properly address a pretty common issue during this time of year.

If you’ve tried to return a book to a chain this week, have you encountered a similar dubious offer?