Happy Returns Mean Happy Returning Customers

Unsurprisingly, this story from the Chicago Tribune about happy customers joyously returning items with optimum efficiency is set in a Target…the only big box store that pleases you people now-a-days.

Vicki Sano stands in line at Target, a receipt in one hand and a bag with an outfit that didn’t fit her daughter in the other. With a quick scan of her receipt, and the tags on the clothing, the customer service “team member” hands her a refund and she’s on her way quicker than you can say “Happy Holidays.”

It’s nice to see an article recognizing the importance of easy, fast returns. The article does go on to explain the most common return scams…the ones that are costing retailers and causing them to tighten up their return policies.
Our favorite? “Wardrobing.” This is the retail industry term describing the practice of a consumer wearing a piece of clothing once and returning it; it’s especially common with prom and other special-occasion attire. Yay for girls at a dance with the tag still on the dress. This was probably pretty common at our prom, which we did not attend. Actually, never mind that, the dresses probably still had the security tags on, if you know what we mean. —MEGHANN MARCO

Happy returns keep shoppers coming back [Chicago Tribune]


Edit Your Comment

  1. acambras says:

    Yes, if you can handle the wait in line, Target is good about handling returns efficiently and non-snarkily.

    Wal-Mart, not so much.

    The ladies at Macy’s gave me the evil eye when I returned a pair of shoes (never worn) that didn’t go with a dress of mine (I had a receipt too).

  2. gameraboy says:

    Actually target does have some problems. My wife and I have a baby registry, and wound up returning a lot of merchandise. Their system flags you as a frequent returner, even if it’s items of your gift registry, if you return more than 5 items in 30 days. If you’re flagged, you can’t return anything at all!

  3. Starfury says:

    I’ve never had a problem returning items at Target, but then I always have the reciept and the tags are still on the items (usually clothing). The process is generally painless unless there’s a line. I have no sympathy for people that either abuse the system or don’t keep the reciept.

  4. acambras says:

    Starfury, while I agree with you about having no sympathy for people that abuse the system or fail to keep the receipt, I don’t think gameraboy is abusing the system, do you?

    Any registry (wedding, baby, etc.) should have some mechanism in place to keep duplicates from being sold, so that once someone’s bought that diaper bag (or whatever), it’s removed from the list or otherwise crossed off so that everyone else buying for Baby Gamera knows that they already have a diaper bag. Maybe Target screwed up that part of the system. Gameraboy?

    Anyway, I would recommend that gameraboy read the post from a few days ago that discusses what to do if you’re blacklisted from making returns from a particular store (due to overactivity). Perhaps he and his wife can call Target Corporate and get themselves off the blacklist, especially if they’re returning new, unused, duplicate items from the baby registry.

  5. RandomHookup says:

    Wait..wait…Meghann didn’t go to the prom? I feel so much better now. Oh, yeah, we didn’t have a prom, but I’m sure I would have been home watching ‘Love American Style.’

  6. DeeJayQueue says:

    Most places DO have a system to keep duplicates from being purchased, but they’re only as good as the people using them.

    Mom and Dad-in-law want to make nice-nice and get something from the wedding registry to bring to the wedding. They print out a copy of the registry at home. A week later they take this copy in to the store and use it to pick out merch. See where there’s a problem here? In the time between printout and shopping someone could have bought any or all of the items on the registry. Often there’s a blurb about that when you print the list out but very few people read it. Target (or any other registry provider) can’t control how old Dad’s copy of the registry is. It would be nice if the system flagged the item and said “already purchased” at the checkout, but that creates a whole new set of problems and holds up everyone in line while Mom and Dad figure out what to do with this crock pot and what else they have to buy for Daughter-in-law.

    When I worked for BB&B (another huge registry store) any time I saw someone with a home-printed registry I immediately tried to get them to print one from the store. Those are Up-to-the-minute accurate across the country, so it minimizes the chance of getting dupes.

    Back to the returns thing:
    If the couple has a reciept for the merch, it should say Registry on it, and the system should take that into account when processing the return. Often though registry-bought items don’t have a receipt with them. At BB&B we could print out a copy of the registry and check it against the items being returned. Actually all we had to do was punch in the registry number and then scan the item and if it wasn’t part of the list it would bounce back. I’d assume Target has a similar system. Perhaps Gameraboy wasn’t taking advantage of it or there was some other snafu?

  7. Josh R. says:

    The lines at the Target returns desk are often nightmarish, even when short. But I’ve never had a problem returning things there.

  8. etinterrapax says:

    I’ve never had a problem returning anything at Target, including a wait, but I try not to be there when it’s likely to be busy (weekends, the day after Christmas, etc). And I didn’t return things from my baby registry, so I can’t speak to that issue. Very few people actually used either of my registries. It was maddening. But they did bring me baby clothes, and I was too brainless to register for those, so it’s just as well.

    But I digress. I was friends with a guy who worked at the service desk at Wal-Mart the first time I worked for them, and I couldn’t believe the crap people would pull to get money for nothing there. Nothing on that Wal-Mart guy’s blog surprises me much. I really hate when dishonest people make stores suspicious of everyone. Perhaps that’s a nice thing about Target. They still seem to believe that most people are honest. And their ticketing system makes it easier for them to avoid some of the pitfalls mentioned in the Tribune article. They spell out the rules and reduce their liability without making dishonest customers’ actions the problem of the honest ones.