More Holiday Buying Leads To More Returns

Retailers that rejoiced over big Black Friday numbers that kicked off a strong holiday sales season now have reason for pessimism. More buying means there’s also more buyer’s remorse, with a National Retail Federation survey finding that retailers will refund 9.9 cents for every dollar they take in, due to returns. The figure is up 0.1 cents from last year, and nearly three cents higher than in a better economic climate.

According to the AP, reasons for the rise in return numbers is not only due to economics, but because retailers have generally made returns easier. Also, deep holiday sales tend to spur impulse purchases that buyers regret once they get back home.

Manufacturers are also taking a larger hit. Combined with retailers, returns are costing the sector 21 percent more than they were four years ago.

Just because it’s easier to return merchandise to some places doesn’t mean the same is true everywhere. Before you buy anything, especially at a discount, be sure to check out the store’s return policy.

Take that back! Returns are big for the holidays [AP]

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  1. Dallas_shopper says:

    I try to avoid buyer’s remorse by ‘sleeping on it,’ i.e. if I want something and it costs more than $50, I sleep on it and see if I’m still thinking about it the next day. If so, I consider buying; otherwise I put it out of my mind and move on. If it’s a big ticket item I agonize over it for weeks.

    • Quirk Sugarplum says:

      Good policy and I do the same. Except I’ll often agonize for weeks over some small things too. Drives my friends and family crazy.

      On the upside, I think I’ve only ever returned one thing due to buyer’s remorse and that was a jewelry gift for someone. Decided that it just wasn’t right for them. Trying to return it just a few minutes after buying seemed to make the clerk suspicious. :)

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I’m the same way – I agonize over everything. Drove my fiance crazy, as it took me 4 years to decide whether or not to buy that particular model of wife.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        I hand-washed my dishes for almost six months while I was trying to decide which dishwasher to buy. I’m not entirely proud of that. :-/

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I read an article where they’ve shown that the longer you wait on a purchase, the more satisfaction you get out of it, and the longer the satisfaction last.

      They used the research to show why impulse buying is a poor decision. You only feel a fleeting satisfaction from the purchase, so you have to keep purchasing.

      By waiting on purchases – weighing the options, saving up for the item, researching the items – by the time you purchase you gain a lasting satisfaction from your purchase, thus reducing the number of purchases you need to be happy.

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        I think that is true. I spent months agonizing over what laptop I wanted when I first realized my then-current laptop was dying. When I finally settled on the laptop with the right price and features it was incredibly satisfying.

      • Kaleey says:

        Agreed. I recently purchased a set of cutlery after wanting it at varying degrees for 10 years. ($800 – whew!)

        I saved for it over 6 weeks, and looked at all the purchasing options and deals in the meantime, to make sure I got it for the best price possible. Spending the extra time saving gives you time to examine alternate options and possibly score a better deal.

        That’s one of the reasons I don’t deal with Black Friday – there’s little chance to comparison shop, since the sales are on a limited time frame (and limited quantity).

      • maxhobbs says:

        That’s probably why today’s kids wait until their 30s to have sex……

    • humphrmi says:

      I find that sitting at the computer with a six pack takes the edge off of tough buying decisions.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Yeah I think I agonized for at least a month about which TV I was going to buy. On the upside though as another person said, I make hardly any returns, as I am generally satisfied with what I purchase for myself.

  2. [redacted] says:

    Maybe the people that venture out on black firday for those “deals” later realize that they could have saved money and time by shopping online.

  3. Don't Bother says:

    I’m pretty frequent returner. I’ll buy it and then the guilt of the purchase and my own need to analyze and reanalyze my spending habits kicks in. It’s like my foolishness is sitting there mocking me.

    • Starfury says:

      My wife does this…she’ll go shopping, bring stuff home…then I’ll end up returning it. It is a fair amount of kids clothing that doesn’t fit usually. I’ve told her MANY times to take the kids with her so they can try on the clothing to save the return trips.

      • caradrake says:

        I would much rather return clothing later, than bring my kids with me to try on clothing. Much less hassle that way. It’s stressful going shopping with them in general, let alone having them try on a variety of clothes.

  4. Misha says:

    Did you really name your son “Robert’); DROP TABLE Students;–” ?

  5. wackydan says:

    I research my purchases… In fact I’m a bit OCD about it for anything that would cost say over $100…

    So I generally don’t shop on Black Friday and do usually pick something up on Cyber Monday… These people who rush out and buy a large screen TV just because it is a)big, and b) at discount are true consumer whores… No wonder they have buyer remorse.

    • Rachacha says:

      I agree, I listen to a technology related radio show and the number of people that call in with “I purchased a 72″ Westinghouse HDTV for $300 and the picture looks crappy, and it looks nothing like my neighbor’s $4000 TV, what can I do” is amazing.

      Unfortunately, my parents are like this, they will not buy anything unless it is on sale at a deep discount (meaning it is usually an off brand product), and then they complain when it breaks a year later. I tend to buy higher end items, if I know it is something that I will use frequently but wait until the product is on sale or I have a % off coupon. I will get many years use out of the product and my average cost per year comes out less than what others pay.

  6. missy070203 says:

    I plan or list items for purchase based on need…. If I need it then it goes on the shopping list …. if I don’t need it but I really want it I’ll put a few bucks away each pay till I’ve saved enough for it…. as for holiday shopping – I find that is becoming increasingly difficult as my daughter gets older…. everything she is into is super expensive…. like Wii and Xbox games crap like that….

  7. Outrun1986 says:

    I have to agree about the TV’s, most people buy a TV because its an LCD, its big and its cheap. You get what you pay for out of a TV. Then they complain about the picture and viewing angle. Most of the time when I go over a friends house their TV’s look terrible. Yet I am very satisfied with the TV I chose for myself, and everyone who has come over has commented on the great picture.

    My neighbor buys the cheapest of everything then they cry about how it breaks a few months later, we can visibly see it because we live next door to them and we literately see them in the yard with their cheap stuff and when they are throwing their cheap crap in the garbage out of frustration. If they just saved for fewer more high quality items they would be much happier.

    There is nothing wrong with choosing a product and then waiting for a sale on that product. Quality products do go on sale, you just have to be patient.

    Not a big fan of Black Friday sales unless an item I had already planned on purchasing goes on sale (barring any cheap video games I am able to score online, because a game is a game no matter where you buy it), but I am not going to go to the store to buy a bunch of low-quality crap that I don’t need when the insane crowds are out. Most of the sales on TV’s are for the low quality crap TV’s and I am not interested in those.

  8. smo0 says:

    I’m glad that the only people I shop for are nerds who will take anything and everything from thinkgeek.com.

    BEHOLD – HOLIDAY SHOPPING!