Target Has 79-Year-Old Taken In For Mental Evaluation After She Demanded Cash Refund

79-year-old Christina Brown had a sales receipt and bank records showing that Target had taken cash from her bank account, but the retailer refused to give her a cash refund — offering a gift certificate instead. Christina refused. She wanted her money, and said she’d stay at the Target all day if she had to, but she wasn’t leaving without $30. Target told her she was trespassing and that they would call the police. Christina said that was fine with her and called 9-1-1 herself. When the police arrived, Target had Ms. Brown hauled out of the store on a stretcher and taken via ambulance to a hospital for a mental evaluation. Does wanting a cash refund mean you’re potentially mentally ill?

“If they thought I was a cranky old biddy, they should just have given me my money and let me go,” Christina told the Star-Tribune. “I paid in good faith, and I wanted my money back. That’s all. It’s the principle.”

“They can put you in jail for this,” she says a cop told her. “Well, I’ve got nothing else to do today,” she replied. “Besides, I may meet a better class of people in jail.”

The store wouldn’t budge. Christina wouldn’t bend. A stretcher was brought in.

Christina was strapped to it, and taken by ambulance to North Memorial Medical Center. Her physical and mental health was supposed to be evaluated.

Attention shoppers: You won’t take a gift certificate? You must be nuts.

“They thought I was loony or something,” Christina says, her voice still incredulous. “That’s the real crazy thing. I just wanted my money.”

In the emergency room, they looked her over and sent her home that day. She seemed to be an elderly lady who was upset. From Christina’s account, she also seemed to have a good reason.

Target’s Fransen says store employees were concerned for her health.

“It’s not anything she did,” he said. “Team members were concerned about her well-being and her safety, and wanted to make sure she wasn’t endangering herself.”

Perhaps, so. But this could be one case where three $10 bills would have done a lot more — and done it more cheaply — than an ambulance ride to a hospital.

Christina Brown wants an apology, she wants her money (including getting her medical bills from the unexpected hospital trip paid), and she wants this: “I want the staff trained in how to treat customers.”

Christina won’t get to help train them. Target signed a trespassing order against her, meaning she will be arrested if she returns to the Plymouth SuperTarget.

That, friends, won’t be a problem.

“I wouldn’t go back to that store if everything in it was free,” she says. “If they’re waiting to see me again, they’re waiting for a cold day in hell.”

‘Cranky’ lady tangled with ‘Mr. Nasty’ [Star-Tribune]
(Photo: spinadelic )


Edit Your Comment

  1. frari489 says:

    information on why she was demanding money would be helpful I think.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sure they were concerned. The customer is old, so we can say she’s senile! What a *cop* out.

  3. baristabrawl says:

    This is a first. However, if she was screaming and carrying on then she might have needed to be evaluated.

  4. andyfvp says:

    I am sure there is more behing this story….

  5. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    Target can take money from your bank account? I’m confused here. Did she pay with a debit card or something?

  6. Triborough says:

    Now she’ll have more people to sue.

  7. mike says:

    Wow. I’m kinda surprised that the woman didn’t tell the officer to arrest the cashier for stealing her money.

  8. jswilson64 says:

    @andyfvp: Ya think?

  9. Bladefist says:

    Team members were concerned about her well-being and her safety, and wanted to make sure she wasn’t endangering herself

    Ah yes. They did it for her good. Not theirs. Pricks.

  10. Target employees are the last people who should be questioning the mental competency of others.

  11. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    Target’s stupid check return policy is the reason I don’t shop there anymore. I needed to make a legitimate return on a Polaroid mp3 player (what a piece of shiznizz) and they made me what 3 weeks to get my damned money back. It took like 3 or 4 days for my check to clear and they still made me wait so I haven’t been back since and that was almost a year ago.

    — Julie A Frates
    gc3160 —

  12. seanSF says:

    Uh, Target can’t put anyone on a psych hold. The police must have requested it.

  13. Byzantine says:

    Corporations throwing their customers in jail. Welcome to modern America.

    And thanks to the posters above me who blame the consumer first.

  14. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    @gc3160 – that homo that u know: what = wait. Doh!

  15. jswilson64 says:

    After reading the story:
    She paid by check.
    Target electronically withdrew the funds the next day, but won’t refund a check purchase until after 7 days.
    Old lady had proof the cash was gone from her account and wanted the cash back.
    Target said “suck it.”

  16. harumph says:

    Corporate Feudal State.

  17. Mr. Guy says:

    this old woman is awesome.

  18. nicemarmot617 says:

    Yeah I kinda have to say she must have been throwing a shit fit – they wouldn’t have taken her away on Target’s orders. That being said, if Target refused to refund my money, I’d throw a shit fit too.

  19. Bladefist says:

    Please don’t turn this into America sucks, corporations run the world thread. 99 times out of 100, you get your refund. Consumerist posts about the 1 time you don’t, for awareness and to help the OP get her money back through making it a public issue.

    Lets not get out of control here.

  20. henrygates says:

    Sadly, calling the police and the ambulance cost taxpayers several hundred dollars. Please send the bill to Target.

    • Tweeky says:

      @henrygates: Well the old lady called 911, and no target employee can send you in for a psych eval the police had to decide to do that. From the sounds of it she is the one who sent the police there and was acting crazy enough that they wanted to have a psych eval done to her. Target had nothing to do with it other than being the place it happened.

  21. Japheaux says:

    Ref: Does wanting a cash refund mean you’re potentially mentally ill?

    No, shopping at Target does.

  22. Raignn says:

    That is messed up. I would also be interested to know if there was more to this story though.

  23. shfd739 says:

    As a paramedic Im curious as to why that ambulance crew actually transported her. To me she appears to be awake and alert to herself and not acting crazy. Once I heard her story and she said I dont want to go I would have said sign this refusal and good luck getting your money.

    There is some bad repercussions for taking someone against their will;it’s considered kidnapping.

  24. ShriSilenus says:

    Interesting story, but it’s misleading. Target can’t have anyone
    mentally evaluated. They call the police; the police decide what to
    do. The lady came into Target, didn’t get what she wanted, and
    refused to leave. What else is Target to do but to call the police?
    This article mislead people into thinking Target was trying to hush
    up the little people when all it did was provide a safe and peaceable
    shopping environment for its paying customers.

  25. harumph says:

    @Bladefist: It is more that corporations do whatever they want with little repercussion. America just happens to facilitate such an atmosphere.

  26. Byzantine says:

    @Bladefist: Bladefist, I am as patriotic as you are, but there’s really something fishy going on these days.

    Just the other day, my flight was cancelled and I went to baggage claim to get my luggage back. While on line, I was having a private conversation with my girlfriend who was standing next to me. Next thing I know, the baggage agent (this was Continental Airlines by the way) leaned over the counter and informed me if I continued to use “curse words” (I was not cursing, besides it was a private conversation not intended to be overheard by a third party) she would call the TSA Police on me.

    Now, keep in mind, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in one case that airport terminals are public places. The Supreme Court has also ruled in another case that “curse words” are protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

    So here we have a minimum wage earning corporate employee determining what rights I have and do not have under the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court be damned.

    I spoke with Continental “customer care” and they told me that this employee was not following company protocol. I sure hope that is true.

  27. Smithers: Sir! I’m so sorry my grocer committed you. We’ll never shop there again!

  28. Adisharr says:

    Next time she shows up she’ll be given a free water-boarding class.

  29. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Let’s can the political rants, folks.

  30. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @: Ah. Okay. I forget people even carry checkbooks anymore. What is the official Target return policy on checks?

  31. pauld79 says:

    Ugh. People, at least click and read the full story on the Star-Tribune’s website before making stupid comments.

    She paid by check. Target wanted to make sure her check cleared the bank before it gave her money back. That much is reasonable.

    I used to work the return desk at Target for two years in college and we had plenty of unreasonable “guests” demand things. The computer undoubtedly told the employee she couldn’t have a refund because the seven days hadn’t elapsed yet. Fine. Employees can’t just can’t out cash.

    BUT, I agree that once she produced the bank statement showing the money had been taken out of her account, a manager (Guest Service Team Leader or “GSTL” in Targetspeak) should have made an exception to keep the guest happy. That’s just good business–even at Target. And, really, what’s your alternative in most cities? Wal-Mart? God help us all.

  32. GearheadGeek says:

    Nice. There has to be a little more to this than is being told, because my partner is a licensed paramedic… anyone who is not in a life-threatening state and who is alert and oriented can refuse transport and treatment. Target certainly cannot compel anyone to accept transport to the ER, and if the police did so without due cause they’re open to a lawsuit.

  33. tom2133 says:

    I’m thinking there is more to this story than what is told. But piecing together what is told, she paid with a check. She couldn’t get her money back due to policies that Target set. These policies were set by the company for a reason. There probably was no way to override the system. Now she could have waited, or she can throw a shit fit, make a scene and think that rules don’t apply to her.

    Honestly, I’m tired of stories like this when we only hear one side of the story. The customer claims they were “angelic” and nothing was wrong with them, when in some cases, you know the opposite is true.

  34. ThinkerTDM says:

    @baristabrawl: Right- I’ve never seen younger people screaming and hollering at the Target customer service representatives.

  35. Anonymous says:

    This is completely ridiculous. Target has a published return policy for checks. It doesn’t matter that the money had been removed from her bank already, it’s not up to Targets employees to inspect and evaluate her bank statements. Unless the stated period for check returns had passed, she had absolutely no right to go in making demands and refusing to leave. Beyond that, the headline is very deceptive because, as stated above, Target doesn’t get to have people “mentally evaluated”. They call the police, they make that decision. It’s just like the fact that people don’t get to “file criminal charges” against another. They can file a police report, but the DA/Prosecutor actually makes the decision whether or not to file criminal charges.

  36. emmpee9 says:

    This return policy doesn’t seem unreasonable (after all, they’re not obligated to even have a return policy).

    It was probably also clearly posted at the customer service desk near the store entrance, as it is at every Target I’ve ever visited.

  37. Gopher bond says:

    Do you know how many scams are centered around the float period of checks? Sounds like they offered her a gift card as an alternative to waiting the 7 days. If someone paid me with a check and then wanted cash for a return before I saw the money in my account, I don’t care what documents they were waiving at me. They’d be waiting until I saw the money in MY account.

  38. jswilson64 says:

    Stry shld b hdlnd:
    Cnsmrst spns stry t mk t sm lk Trgt hs ld ldy tkn n fr mntl vltn; n rlty, th cps hd ld ldy tkn n

  39. sketchy says:

    @: OMG – Facts!

    So apparently Target was following their policy to ensure that they didn’t get stiffed and have to pass on that charge to other customers. Just because the money had been taken from the customers account does not mean that Target has / will have the money. Besides, how does the wage slave at Target know that’s a legit statement? I could easily doctor up a bank statement and try the same thing – if I still used cheques for anything.

    As for having the woman removed, that is indeed a Police matter and Target does have the right to ask the woman to leave their property, for Paramedics to take her indicates an actual situation where she was in distress (mental or physical). I sense there is more to this story.

    Seriously, Target’s return policies are there to protect them (and their customers, by extension) from fraud. It’s too bad that the average employee or manager can’t override company policies, but they want to keep their jobs as well.

    It’s not about consumers’ rights to whatever they want, but consumer’s rights to be treated well and you get what you give.

  40. @Bladefist: Are you high? There’s so much wrong with your comment that, if you’re not a shill, I’d suggest a psychiatric evaluation, because your brain is ba-roken.

    That said, this women is totally awesome and, from everything I see, handled the situation perfectly. If I were her, I’d be wondering who to sue first — Target or the police, since neither had the slightest reason for imprisoning her, publicly humiliating her, and forcing her to rack up medical bills with no cause.

    As to the principle? She’s dead on. They don’t have a problem *taking* your money on the spot, so they’d better not have a problem giving it back on the spot either. I won’t take check or gift-card refunds either (gift card refunds! Refunds you can only spend at that store! That is the most INSULTING thing I think I’ve ever heard of), and moreover, I can’t imagine why ANYONE would patronize a store that they knew wouldn’t give a fair refund. That’s, like, the backbone of fair dealing!

  41. Anonymous says:

    The “involuntary commitment” standard is incredibly high, being transported somewhere against your will only slightly less so. I kinda doubt she was strapped on kicking and screaming to a gurney. But clearly there’s more to this story than has been told. Where’s that security footage when you need it?

  42. The_IT_Crone says:

    Honestly. I’ve had MANY customers that needed to be thrown into a paddy wagon. But this woman doesn’t sound like one of them.

  43. Angryrider says:

    …Target did not act right, and they persecuted her for wearing an eyepatch and a leg brace. Decent people wouldn’t pay much mind to that, since it’s not polite to stare. But these stupid employees went ahead and decided to hurt her. All they had to do was ask a few questions, you know simple customer service crap and that’s that.

  44. @testsicles: That is reasonable. Having someone sent to a mental institution is not.

  45. @: “These policies were set by the company for a reason.”

    It makes me BLUE WITH RAGE when people use that as some kind of justification for bad behavior on the part of a business. So, what? Anything they SAY they do, it’s okay for them to do? Do you remember the “no coloreds” policy? Was that okay? I mean, surely that policy “was set by the company for a reason”.

    The reason, and the validity of it, MATTERS, and it’s not up to a company to make up whatever rules benefit them most and then force their customers to abide by them as though it’s absolute law. It’s not law, it IS subject to law, and moreover your “policies” mean exactly as much as MY policies, or those of anyone else. A corporation is nothing more than people, and it has no more rights over others than people do.

    So Target has a “policy”. Big deal. So does this lady — she has a policy that she will not accept check or, gods forbid, gift card refunds for money she’s already given them. Your statement that Target’s policy is somehow more legitimate than hers is complete sheep-minded turd-jerky.


  46. Anonymous says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: Are you out of your mind? Sue for what. “She wanted her money, and said she’d stay at the Target all day if she had to, but she wasn’t leaving without $30.” In the words of Maddox, civil disobedience is still disobedience. She may have been standing up for what she believes in, but just because her cause is noble, doesn’t mean she wasn’t breaking the law by refusing to leave. Therein lies the problem. I sympathize with her ordeal, but they have every right to ask a customer to leave and call the police when they don’t.

  47. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    In Consumerist’s defense it does read like Target employees asked that she be evaluated:

    “It’s not anything she did,” he said. “Team members were concerned about her well-being and her safety, and wanted to make sure she wasn’t endangering herself.”

    If taking her to the hospital was the cop’s idea, why it Target taking credit for it?

  48. ThomFabian says:

    “Target told her she was trespassing and that they would call the police. Christina said that was fine with her and called 9-1-1 herself.”

    She called the police herself.

  49. Anonymous says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Fair enough, but until I see footage of exactly what happened I won’t make a judgment on whether that was justified

  50. Gopher bond says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto: Yes it’s reasonable but if you still want cash for the check I accepted and you won’t leave my property, what do I do? Give you milk and cookies and a blankie until your check clears?

  51. lol_wut says:

    The woman obviously had a good reason for wanting to get her money back, at least from her perspective. The employees of Target and/or the Police had a good reason for having her admitted to the hospital to undergo evaluations, at least from their perspective.

    On paper, it’s quite easy to pick a side and roll with it but since none of us [I think] were actually there in the store at that exact moment this all went down, it’s gonna be tough to actually be right here. I think giving the woman $30 in cash to shut her up would have been the easiest thing to do. It’s certainly cheaper than the PR nightmare that is surely to follow after a story like this, and if they really felt like they were going to be cheated out of money from this old woman they could have barred her from shopping at the store again.

    I understand that as a company you have to establish guidelines for this sort of thing – namely the refund issue, not handling the old woman – but every now and then you have to step outside the box and work some customer service magic to avoid getting yourself (and others, hell the Police surely didn’t want involved in this) in muddy waters. Now the woman may very well be able to take Target and the Police to court and get a nice cash settlement for her troubles – something to cover the refund, the hospital trip, and the overall embarrassment that ensued.

  52. Target Blows.

  53. Anonymous says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: By paying with a check she implicitly agreed to Target’s check policy, which is usually summarily posted at the register and is actually quite simple and not uncommon in retail

  54. @Mary Marsala with Fries: Are you a lawyer? Almost all of the posts I have seen by you lately advocate suing.

  55. Anonymous says:

    @: And also quite reasonable, I might add. Not to blame the OP, but personal anecdote-this is why I never pay by check. Cash draws no suspicion of a scam in this case, CC chargeback, and if she had checks why couldn’t she use debit?

  56. Anonymous says:

    Some crazy stuff. Generally with a receipt you can get money back in the form you paid it in.
    Cash or check = cash back.
    Debit card purchase = cash back.
    Credit card purchase = credit on the card.
    Gift card purchase might go on another gift card although should be cash IMO.

    What kind of douche bag would care so much about Target that he would allow someone to get so upset over 30 dollars? Are the people that run the customer service area that stupid? JUST DO THE REFUND AND GIVE CASH BACK! It’s not worth all this BS.

  57. SadSam says:

    From the article:

    Target spokesman Dave Fransen says Target’s return policy doesn’t allow cash refunds for items purchased by personal check until seven days go by, allowing checks to clear the bank. But Target is introducing new technology that allows electronic transfer of check funds, which appears to be what happened to Christina: Her money was withdrawn from her bank account the day after her purchase.

    Target had the proceeds from her check, Christina had her receipt and bank records showing her money had been withdrawn. She wanted her $30 back.”

    Not surprisingly, Target is taking advantage of the Check 21 act [] so it gets its hands on funds at much quicker pace (they don’t need to wait 7 days for the check to clear) but their returns policy has not kept up. Target should revamp its returns policy.

  58. Anonymous says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: Since you mentioned segregation and black civil rights, I thought I’d mention Martin Luther King, Jr. He advocated peaceful protest and standing up for what he believed in, he also embraced that in his disobedience he was breaking some laws, and accepted the fact that he might be arrested,unjustified or not, for his actions. Much like this woman ended up arrested.

  59. picardia says:

    I can see that Target maybe had to obey its policies on the check-clearing thing (though those delays always seem to work against the individual, for the bank or merchant). I can also see that the police decided ultimately what to do. But OTOH, the lady passed her psych eval with apparently no trouble whatsoever, so she wasn’t actually acting out with dementia. She was angry. Probably if they had simply overriden policy (30 measly bucks), told her she could get her full cash refund after X more days or simply handled her more nicely, this could all have been avoided.

  60. johnva says:

    Why should you be responsible for medical bills if someone involuntarily has you taken to the emergency room? After all, you didn’t agree to receive any kind of service.

  61. incognit000 says:

    Why you’d have to be CRAZY to turn down a FREE* gift card from Target, which is the bestest store EVAR!

  62. dragonfire81 says:

    Wow what a massive and costly PR clusterfuck for $30. Do corporations not consider the fallout before doing these things?

    Oh yeah, Target sucks. I forgot.

  63. @Bladefist: Can you please explain to me why:

    1. It takes companies exactly 3 days to process payments, but 3 – 4 weeks to process refunds, rebates and other cash reimbursements to their customers?

    2. It takes 15 seconds to “opt-in” to a marketing list of a company, but it’ll take 2 – 3 weeks to opt out of it?

    3. It takes insurance companies 4 days to process your insurance application, but 4 – 5 weeks to process a claim if they don’t automatically deny it first, in which case it’ll take 6 months

    I could go on and on with this.

    I know you just love corporations, but as a consumer, I sure as hell don’t see what exactly they’re doing so wonderfully that I shouldn’t think what they really are doing is making sure I don’t have any recourse whatsoever when things go wrong. I’m sure you call that “maximizing profits” or something. I call it a rip off.

  64. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    99 times out of 100, you get your refund.

    At any reasonable store, sure. But when you’re talking about Target, it’s more like 65 times out of 100, and even then only if you have the receipt. Target consistently has the worst return policy, and the worst customer service when handling returns, that I have ever seen.

  65. SabyneWired says:

    Way to go, Target. Send an otherwise healthy person to an ER when Emergency Rooms are already having issues with seeing everyone as quickly as possible. I’ve seen similar cases a few times when I’ve been working in the ER, and it drains resources like crazy. Not to mention folks who really need the ER have to wait that much longer.

    Seriously, couldn’t they have simply given her the $30 to make her happy, then waited for the funds from her check to deposit in their accounts? Then everyone would have their money.

    I’m guessing she may be on a fixed income, and may have felt she needed the extra cash ASAP, which makes sense when you consider how costs on everything and a bag of peanuts are rising. Not really a good move on Target’s part, as having her hauled away for a mental evaluation makes them appear the bullies picking on a sweet little old lady who just wanted her money back.

    (And I have to laugh at the trespassing order the store signed against her. Classy way to handle things, guys!)

  66. Anonymous says:

    As stated above, a store is not obligated to even offer a return policy.

  67. xwildebeestx says:

    @baristabrawl: what a lame firsties attempt.

  68. bobpence says:

    “After her auto accident, she received therapy for her injuries and for traumatic stress, too. When she mentioned these things at Target, she was interpreted to be saying she could blow at any moment. What she was trying to say, she explains, is that she knows how to handle herself in a stressful situation.”

    If being told you can’t get a cash refund on a recent check purchase counts as “stressful,” you really don’t know how to handle yourself.

    Why was her daughter parked (waiting) by the curb? I could MAYBE see dropping her off at the curb, but then park the damn car and go help your nearly-80, barely-ambulatory mother. Better still, get a hang-tag for disabled parking and then help her into the store.

    May I further ingratiate myself with fellow Consumerist readers by suggesting a new fee? Nonrefundable check acceptance convenience fee. Add 50 cents or a buck to a check purchase, no matter how small. Nearly every bank offers a no-fee Visa or MC debit card, and it’s not like old people never get to the bank! Getting checks printed is often an expense and a hassle, and a retiree could easily use many more checks on purchases than bills.

  69. timmus says:

    Wow, the Plymouth, Minnesota police department actually serves as a hired security service for Target? That’s lame.

    I guess if I move up there and pay the right people off, I can get anyone sent to a hospital.

  70. Anonymous says:

    @: @Pixelantes Anonymous: OK, we’ll go put our sheep costumes on. Don’t forget your tin foil hats

  71. jswilson64 says:

    @: So, if I post a message on Consumerist that says, “By you reading this you agree to pay me US$250.00 cash” and you read it, you’ve got to pay me US$250.00. By reading it, you “implicitly agreed” to my policy.

    I’d love to see a legal precedent that such a policy is legal and enforceable; that by reading something you agree to it. How can you prove she read the policy and agreed to it, again?

  72. triggerh says:

    @: I agree with you on this one. The old lady handled the situation completely wrong. By causing a scene (public disturbance), refusing to leave (trespassing), and calling 911 without proper reason (crime of false report), you can almost guarantee your own arrest. Based on the woman’s behavior, THE COPS–not Target–made the decision to haul her away. The cops could have simply escorted her off the premises. Plus, it is socially irresponsible to call 911 if there is no real emergency. They teach the rules of 911 to kids in grade school. God forbid there was a REAL emergency from which she hijacked those social resources. If she had given Target the opportunity, they would have called the non-emergency police line (well, unless the lady was making physical threats).


    I think the options they offered for refund are completely fair. Most retail stores will not refund cash over a certain amount for something paid by check – they do not exist to cash your checks, they are not banks. Target probably offered the gift card after she refused the mailing option and demanded cash. I could not find Target’s cash refund policy on their website, but Best Buy, for example, will refund cash/check payments for amounts up to $100. Any amount higher than that will be returned by a mailed check or a gift card. These policies exist because businesses have to manage their cash flow so they can make change.

  73. Anonymous says:

    @jswilson64: Awesome false analogy. Bravo.

    Yes, when you buy something from a store, you implicitly agree, not to get your receipt checked necessarily, or to surrender the contents of your wallet to any Target employee at any time, but to the return policies regarding the merchandise. She didn’t agree to the return policy by reading, she agreed to it by purchasing.

  74. jswilson64 says:

    @SadSam: Ah, yes, Check 21. Another fine piece of pro-consumer legislation. /sarcasm

    Funny how my credit union gets quick use of funds from checks I deposit via Check 21, but still gets to put a 10 day hold on the check.

  75. Nancy Sin says:

    @Bladefist: You do realize what the concept of this blog is, right? It certainly isn’t “America sucks” but it isn’t “Big companies are usually right!” either.

  76. MayorBee says:

    “Besides, I may meet a better class of people in jail.” and “If they’re waiting to see me again, they’re waiting for a cold day in hell.” both qualify this old lady as awesome in my book.

    Target was totally in the wrong here. Sure, they may have posted policies (like the seven day wait for cash refunds on check purchases), but the policy is not the ends to a means. The policy is to prevent cash refunds on bad checks that have not cleared. The check had cleared and the lady brought proof that it had cleared. The policy should have been overridden by whoever had the authority to do so. Additionally, I can’t believe that a shift manager would not have had the authority to grant a $30 refund.

  77. jswilson64 says:

    @: But, in order to agree to the policy by purchasing something, you have to be aware of the policy. Simply putting a sign up and saying “you should have read it” or somesuch, is not consent. Short of having eyeball-tracking devices at each checkout lane, there’s no way to prove she read the policy. And you don’t get the printed policy until after you’ve paid (on the back of your receipt).

    Like I said, I’d love to see a legal precedent of such a “drive by” agreement.

  78. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    As stated above, a store is not obligated to even offer a return policy.

    This is correct, but so what? It really has nothing to do with the fact that Target does have a return policy, it sucks, and their handling of returns is, in my experience, typically and consistently quite poor.

    Stores aren’t required to have electronic cash registers either – should we forgo complaining about a store that does have them, even if they frequently screw the customers?

  79. Amelie says:

    It might help if all the people who felt the need to respond with the “there must be more to this story,” actually read the actual story. It’s clear that Target insinuated/implied that the women was unbalanced.

  80. Anonymous says:

    @jswilson64: Unlike receipt checks and the like, when you purchase something, it becomes your property, and the company is under no obligation to accept returns or exchanges (common with clearance items). That said, all major stores such as Target put their various return policies on the back of the receipt. Yes, she could have gotten a refund, but just because she wants it now doesn’t entitle her to it days early. My bank doesn’t make deposits available for immediate withdrawal, and this annoys me, but I agree to it as a policy of the bank which I am pleased with, and I don’t demand things that go against their policy (assuming the policy is not illegal) just because I want it my way. Demanding that they go against stated policy and protesting and haranguing employees and refusing to leave is trespassing and borderline harassment. I hope she gets her money back (and I’m sure she will) but let’s not be so quick to attack the big bad corporation

  81. Anonymous says:

    @jswilson64: Yes, but this isn’t the same as those long, 6 point font agreements in phone contracts and software that in some cases have been found to be unfair and nonbinding. I do not think it is a stretch to say that it is the consumer’s responsibility to find out the return policy. Also, returns are not a right anyway

  82. baraboo says:

    My guess is that Target and the cops decided to put her on a stretcher and take her for mental evaluation so that they could seem concerned about her well-being, rather than cuffing her and throwing her in the back of a filthy squad car. They would have received even worse press if they would have cuffed, arrested, and thrown the old lady in jail.
    This story is reason number 1,000,000,000,000,000,001 NOT to shop at Target. Target, as a corporation, is evil.

  83. jswilson64 says:

    @TomCruisesTesticules: “Also, returns are not a right anyway”

    Look, if you’re going to go bringing facts into this debate, I’m going to have to call a foul.

  84. johnva says:

    @: I would support the check convenience fee if it would only reduce the number of old people writing checks in front on me in line at stores.

  85. emmpee9 says:


    Stores are not obligated at all to offer a return policy. So, if she didn’t read anything at all, she should assume that there is no return policy.

    The “drive-by” agreement you refer to is adding to her legal rights, not subtracting.

  86. Anonymous says:

    PR nightmare, yes. Regarding the return, entirely a civil matter. So she disagreed with the check policy/found it unfair/didn’t make sense to her and she wanted her money. Under current policy, they couldn’t give her the money. Target wasn’t *wrong* per se, perhaps in a customer service/PR sense though

  87. Anonymous says:

    @: That being said, I am not a “big bad Republican” and I’m not a corporate shill, but I refuse to automatically side with the customer. You’ll never hear me slander or attack the OP or criticize him/her without just cause. I sympathize, I truly do. It is unfortunate that she was mentally evaluated. Regardless, her rights as a consumer weren’t violated, she just didn’t know her rights. There’s more to customer service than blindly doing anything a customer wants regardless of their policy. I applaud Target for standing their ground.

  88. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    Stores are not obligated at all to offer a return policy. So, if she didn’t read anything at all, she should assume that there is no return policy.

    um, what? That might be a fair assumption if she’s shopping at Grandma’s House of Doilies down the street. But it is not unreasonable to expect a national retail chain to have a return policy pretty much like every other similar major retail chain store.

    Don’t get me wrong, here – I think that in this case Target had every right to refuse the return, because a seven day waiting period for refunding check purchases is really not all that unreasonable.

    But just because they have the right doesn’t mean they did the right thing. MayorBee is… said it best:

    “The check had cleared and the lady brought proof that it had cleared. The policy should have been overridden by whoever had the authority to do so.”

    This is exactly right. But that’s not the way Target rolls.

  89. facingtraffic says:

    Wow. Just wow. I’m truly surprised that there are so many people thinking that Target is in the wrong here. They have a return policy. EVERYONE has a return policy. Some are better than others. If Target’s is especially bad, nothing is forcing you to shop there. As far as just overriding policy because a customer is upset, sometimes you just plain CAN’T. Their system is most likely set up in a way which prohibits employees from just handing out cash for a check refund.

    All the talk of “you must be a shill” and such is ridiculous. A site like this is meant to provide awareness and protection for RESPONSIBLE customers. A responsible customer will either know the return policy for a given payment method and make a decision based on that, or accept the consequences when they make a purchase and have problems with the return policy that they didn’t bother to make themselves aware of.

  90. Anonymous says:

    @TinyBug: I agree, which is why I say it’s a PR issue, not abusive or illegal as other conspiracy theorist, John Nash-types have suggested

  91. bobpence says:

    @johnva: Indeed, the check convenience fee would reduce the number of old people writing checks in front of you in line. And that would be good for them, too, in several ways:

    – No inconvenient delays then you need to make a return.
    – No need to haul around your checkbook and fear someone will steal it. Yes they can steal a card, but that can be cancelled quickly, and not make all the checks you have left at home invalid.
    – So you don’t have a carbon copy check and learn to keep receipts. That’s a good thing.
    – So you can’t use a debit card to spend money not yet in the account. That too is a good thing, check kiting is not only a crime but it frequently punished by high fees. (See below on holds.)
    – Finally, the funds from the fees could go to some worthy charity, emphasizing that the store is using the fee to influence customers to act in their own behalf, not as a profit center.

    The one problem with debit cards is holds. Something needs to be worked out with gas stations, and others that place holds (like hotels) need to be much, much more clear in disclosing that.

  92. mariospants says:

    Lotacomments… not sure if these points were addressed but: although she showed them proof that the money had been removed from her account, they have a 7-day cash return policy on payment by cheques. The employees can’t help that. Obviously she was obstinate and if I was the manager, I would have handed over the cash because even if it eventually came out of my pay due to a scam, it’s only $30. Obviously she must have gotten belligerent (maybe she is on fixed income and needed the money, it’s possible that she used whatever she bought then returned it once she was done with it) or they wouldn’t have threatened to kick her out.

    Anyway, it was HER that called the police and likely the police officer was pissed that she wasted 911 resources on such a call and probably talked to the Target employees first. Hey, this cop might even be familiar with this “old lady”. Plenty of them around here are well known for causing weird shit. This one old lady walks around downtown with a cart of cleaning supplies (she has a germ phobia apparently) and after much annoying behaviour has been arrested a couple of times for SPRAYING LYSOL into clerk’s faces. I’ll bet that aside from the extreme germ phobia, she probably doesn’t come off as crazy when she talks, too.

  93. xphilter says:

    I think Target was fine here, there are so many check scams that Target has to protect itself. Yeah she can show that cash was withdrawn, but who can’t fake a printout of a bank? If they start doing case by case on a national level then what would happen? Then they would start making subjective calls at the desk. I think having a clearly stated policy is ok, and to make subjective decisions is wrong in this case.

  94. emmpee9 says:

    Do you really think Target should have their employees verifying customer-supplied bank statements? Don’t you think that could lead to some issues?

  95. pauld79 says:

    @jswilson64: You are an idiot. No, really, you are a complete idiot. Please, go to law school or shut up. You want legal precedent? It’s called the Uniform Commercial Code, as applied by the various states. She doesn’t have to read the return policy to make it effective against her. It should be made available to her, yes, but any wise merchant posts their return policy. Target posts theirs in large letters at the Guest Service desk and on the back of receipts.

  96. Gopher bond says:

    I don’t know what all the commenters here consider “proof” that the old lady had showing Target took the money out of her account already. Proof, to me, would be MY bank statement, not any old piece of paper you wave in front of my face. I don’t know what your bank statements look like, and it was probably printed out from the internet, even more suspicious. I could make a passable fake bank account in MS Paint. Target offered a $30 gift card as an alternative to waiting 7 days. If you don’t want a gift card, why not just come back in a week?

  97. DH405 says:

    I’m tired of corporations telling police who to arrest. They just say “That guy” and he gets hauled off, no questions asked.

    Corporate. Ruling. Class.

  98. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    Do you really think Target should have their employees verifying customer-supplied bank statements? Don’t you think that could lead to some issues?

    Don’t be an ass. I never said that target should have their employees verifying anything. I even said that this particular aspect of their return policy is reasonable. So no, as a matter of policy they shouldn’t have them verifying statements.

    What I did say is that I agreed with MayorBee is…there are times when a policy can and should be overridden by the person with the authority to do so, and that this was (probably) one of those times. The returns clerk was exactly right in refusing the return. The manager, however, could have shown a little common decency, a little kindness, a little care for the consumer. Instead, he chose to adhere strictly to the letter of the law.

    This case may be an exception. Based on the fact that the cops ordered her for an evaluation, it is possible that she was pretty out of control. In fact, if she started the encounter with a bad attitude, threats, weirdness, etc, then i would likely side with the manager.

    But based on the facts we have so far, he should have just given her the money.

  99. Can’t blame Target for not giving cash to this demanding old lady. Sure, the likelihood of her falsifying her bank statement is low, but it exists. I could do it to my own statement in less than 5 minutes and flash it at a Target employee.

    They did enough by offering a gift card (which technically shouldn’t have been offered either). She thinks the rules that apply to everyone else don’t apply to her.

    If you’re going to be so stubborn as to continue writing checks in-store, you better make yourself aware of the return policy when it comes to those checks.

    This actually reminds me of when I made a purchase/return at I paid online through Bill-Me-Later but upon receiving one of the items wasn’t happy with it, so I took it to the store to return it. I instantly asked, “Could I actually just get the return credited to a gift card instead of Bill-Me-Later?” The customer service rep had no problem with that and actually told me, “Phew, I thought you were going to ask for cash! It gets kind of tricky sometimes with the online credit payments like this.”

    I go to Walmart enough so that a store credit was just fine with me – I knew I’d use it eventually. Sure, not as good as cash, but considering the frequency at which I visit Walmart, it didn’t matter. And I made things easier for the customer service rep as a result.

    Was this incident this woman’s first time in Target? And if not, would she have ultimately spent $30 at some point in time at Target (before this debacle)? It’s not like this was some $300+ return that would potentially be difficult to spend back at Target.

    Ultimately, this just comes down to someone who thought the rules didn’t apply to her and apparently threw such a tantrum (including a fraudulent 911 call) that the police had her hauled away.

  100. Anonymous says:

    @SMSDHubbard: John Nash, is that you? What kind of 1984 delusions are you having? She called the police herself. She was arrested for trespassing. If I ask someone to leave my store and they refuse, I have every right to have them arrested for trespassing. Keep you tin foil hat on, and your conspiracy theories to yourself

  101. Anonymous says:

    @: Not to mention an abuse of 911. File a report, call the police line, not 911

  102. gr8chief says:

    I just read something interesting the other day. By the time St. Patricks’s Day rolls around in March, Walmart has sold the same amount of products that Target will sell all year.

  103. jadenton says:

    Get a lawyer, and sue both the company and the individual sales people involved. Sue the company for pulling from her bank without authorization. Sue the sales people for making a false report. Target will throws its employees under the proverbial bus rather than defend them. You won’t get much money from them, but other employees will take note and adjust their behavior accordingly.

  104. Anonymous says:

    @jadenton: Explain how they pulled from the bank without her authorization. She wrote Target a check for a purchase. False report, she called the police, when, if anyone had a right to, it was Target, for trespassing.

  105. organicgardener says:

    “Team members were concerned about her well-being and her safety, and wanted to make sure she wasn’t endangering herself.” What a load of crap! I hate liars & spin doctors.

  106. MrMold says:

    Mental evaluation? Over a minor dispute at a Target? I think Granny is leaving out important details. Maybe she soiled herself. Perhaps the large urine stain on her gross, unwashed stretch pants was what led to the review.

    Hate to remind the AlmightyEntitledConsumerGods, but many retailers are going to store credit refunds. It cuts down on the fraud and theft. Would you steal WalMart crap to get the option to purchase more WalMart crap?

    It sounds more like Target had crazy Monica in the store and they hope she goes back on her meds.

  107. sketchy says:

    @edicius: Ultimately, this just comes down to someone who thought the rules didn’t apply to her and apparently threw such a tantrum (including a fraudulent 911 call) that the police had her hauled away.

    Indeed – the 911 call was definitely fraudulent, isn’t that a criminal act in itself?

    I don’t know if I would use the word ‘tantrum’ without seeing the incident, but it certainly seems that the woman was not being reasonable when she undertook to call the constabulary for such a petty incident.

    For all the commenters who want ‘someone fired’ or wanting to know why Target didn’t just capitulate and throw $30 at the lady – how would you like someone to come into your office demand that you go against company policy and demand that you be fired when you refuse to do exactly what they want? I suspect you would be more inclined to protect your own job than give someone money so they ‘just go away’.

    Would you make a thousand free photocopies for someone off the street just because ‘it’s the right thing to do’? when you know you’re likely to be punished or fired for doing it?

  108. sketchy says:

    @jadenton: Yes, bully everyone until you get your way. And when the courts come into your office and make you liable for something you have no control over you’ll be crying foul because the government is making you a victim, right?

  109. Egg Yolkeo says:

    Did anyone try to call the woman’s family before hauling her away?

    Honestly, I think a cop could have just as easily calmed this person down if he took her outside and got her to chill. You know, feed her some lines about “my colleagues are handling your case” or something.

    Regardless of who is right or wrong, we should be as concerned about unreasonable forced hospitalization as we should about unreasonable search and seizure.

  110. Anonymous says:

    For everyone who says “why not just give her the $30” What is the cutoff? why not just give it to everyone? The squeaky wheel should get it but the person who follows the rules they agreed to when they purchased the item would have to come back for their refund. I personally don’t think people should just get what they want because they bitch about it. Agree with the return policy- buy the item. Don’t agree- don’t shop there. Your choice.

  111. Anonymous says:

    @Egg Yolkeo: Hospitalization is a sticky one, I wonder if this was merely to absolve themselves of liability. An arrest, though, would be warranted, though being a grandmother, that would’ve gotten horrendous press.

  112. Anonymous says:

    @: Anyone else would be arrested, but God forbid a geriatric breaking the law is arrested. I’m just glad she was dealt with. Trespassing is not ok, harassment is not OK, but taking her to jail would have been even worse publicity. Taking her to a hospital seems more considerat, while still dealing with the situation

  113. chemmy says:

    I was just about to say “she should have showed her receipt”

    (j/k) but wtf more did Target want from her?

    Waste of taxpayer (and her) money

  114. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @: But politics are at least indirectly related.

  115. @testsicles: Have store security escort her out, or at most call the cops. The article implies they called the cops and said the lady was crazy (“concerned for her” my ass”). There’s a middle ground between giving away the store and having an old lady shipped off to Arkham.

  116. jswilson64 says:

    @PaulD79: Care to post some case law that says simply placing a sign is the same as obtaining legal consent to what that sign says? You can put up any sign you want, but you putting up a sign isn’t the same as me agreeing to whatever the sign says, even if I do whatever action the sign says is consent to the policy on the sign.

    If you don’t have a precedent to show, you shut up.

  117. Anonymous says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto: But they may have genuinely believed that. She refused to leave when she wasn’t owed anything. Look at the nasty comments she made, who knows what vitriol she may have said. Without knowing her precise behavior, how are we to know whether telling them she was possibly off her rocker was unreasonable?

  118. god_forbids says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: Hate to say it, but stores don’t just “take” your money. Hopefully, you got a product in return. It is a pity that the process for returning said product has been so abused by shady types that decent folks like this lady can no longer simply get their money back.

  119. emmpee9 says:

    The stores don’t need to get a customer’s legal consent to a return policy, partially because it’s not a restriction of a customer’s rights — it’s a widening of a customer’s rights.

    The return policy grants you MORE rights than are normally given to you by law.

  120. Anonymous says:

    @: What are you talking about? He answered your question. There are no laws mandating accepting returns. It is a businss’s responsibility (not always law) to prominently display return policies. It is on cash registers, the back of receipts, often near the entrance/exit, posted on the website. When you purchase a good, it becomes your property. Buying from a store, you agree to the return policy. Absent defective merchandise or a money-back-guarantee, the policy stands. What, she should demand her money back immediately because she didn’t sign a contract agreeing to the policy?

  121. Anonymous says:

    @emmpee9: the short version

  122. ChuckECheese says:

    @: I love how many of you think that something can’t happen NEVAR!! just because there’s a legally recognized or traditional procedure. People can and do absolutely odd, dumb and cruel things all the time. It is perfectly possible that the woman got tied to a stretcher for no reason other than a Target employee said “she’s acting crazy.” The police aren’t mental health professionals either.

    What’s interesting about the story is the sheer irrationality of it, combined with the awareness of a creeping social ethos that corporations and their minimum-wage employees are becoming our judges and wardens.

  123. lowercase says:

    I’m going to go ahead and say “Good for Target.” This whole “loudest complainer gets the rules broken for them” crap that goes on, particularly in retail, is garbage. Dozens of other people had probably written checks, come in for returns, been told the same thing, then quietly left the store and waited the 7 or 21 day waiting period. Allowing people to get what they want just by being obnoxious is the wrong answer, not the right one.

  124. Anonymous says:

    § 2-327. Special Incidents of Sale on Approval and Sale or Return.

    (1) Under a sale on approval unless otherwise agreed

    (a) although the goods are identified to the contract the risk of loss and the title do not pass to the buyer until acceptance; and

    (b) use of the goods consistent with the purpose of trial is not acceptance but failure seasonably to notify the seller of election to return the goods is acceptance, and if the goods conform to the contract acceptance of any part is acceptance of the whole; and

    (c) after due notification of election to return, the return is at the seller’s risk and expense but a merchant buyer must follow any reasonable instructions.

    (2) Under a sale or return unless otherwise agreed

    (a) the option to return extends to the whole or any commercial unit of the goods while in substantially their original condition, but must be exercised seasonably; and

    (b) the return is at the buyer’s risk and expense.


  125. bobpence says:

    Another local newspaper account, at [] dispels some of our misperceptions.

    1) There was no bank statement, only her word that she had checked with the bank. As commenters have noted, check policies exist because of widespread fraud.

    2) She got police involved, they talked to her, she refused to leave without them arresting her and said she couldn’t walk to the squad car if she did. As stated in the first story, she often uses a wheelchair, so the officer may have not known that and reasoned her health was crashing. (Recall that her daughter had parked “at the curb” in apparent expectation of a quick stop, not as bad a bet when dealing with Target’s service desk versus Wal-Mart’s, but still not as good as parking in a handicapped space using hang-tags and helping her almost-80 mother. No word where she was when the police cruiser showed up.)

    3) The police report said she was “not rational,” but apparently she finally wised up once the stretcher arrived: Medics released her after an hour, although she had low blood pressure (or maybe she meant it was not high).

    4) She admits, inadventently, that she was not well controlled. “They should have taken me to a back room and not kept aggravating the situation. My civil rights were violated.”

    Despite having spent a decade and a half in customer service, she believed her word should be taken on a matter involving a check. No small business owner thinks a business should do that.

  126. bobpence says:

    5) The concerned for her comment was also apparently out of context. The PR flack said they were concerned for everyone’s safety. Oh, and they are “taking it seriously”!!!!

  127. MayorBee says:

    @bobpence: Well, when you have all the facts, it’s not quite as polarizing, is it?

    I think it was still handled not as well as it could have been on Target’s part (and, increasingly, on the old lady’s part). Where the heck was the daughter, though? If she sends in her elderly mom to do a simple return and it takes more than 5 minutes or so, why isn’t she going in to find out what the deal is? I’m almost sure she could have calmed her mother down a little better than Target did (which was not at all).

  128. DangerousLiberal says:

    See. Spot. Ripoff.

  129. Egg Yolkeo says:


    Yeah, maybe shouldn’t have called the police but Target threatened to do the same. What is the penalty for a frivolous police call? What “bad PR” would the cops get for arresting or citing an old woman who abused 911? She was sent away for being irrational, which is not a crime.

  130. Anonymous says:

    You left out a key paragraph from the story:

    After her auto accident, she received therapy for her injuries and for traumatic stress, too. When she mentioned these things at Target, she was interpreted to be saying she could blow at any moment.

    The story isn’t so inflammatory now, is it?

  131. gte910h says:

    @TomCruisesTesticles First off, can’t believe I’m arguing with someone who has the poor taste to put gonads in his name. Now that we’re off on the wrong foot:

    Policies aren’t contracts. They’re policies. They’re not something people agree to (those are called agreements or contracts). Policies are ways certain people or groups have stated they will act in certain situations. Businesses do this to maintain consistency and to increase profit while lowering vulnerability to legal action. My one person business has policies. That doesn’t mean my customer has to assent to them, even if I sneak in a line on a contract somewhere that says they do.

    That said, many stores try to get your assent and agreement to follow their return policies. This is a separate matter, and involves signing your name to a piece of paper, such as the credit card receipts. This is largely held unenforceable by the courts, especially in queued checkout lines in stores such as wal-mart and target (the law is related to a Best Buy case IIRC). Also, your bank/credit card company often doesn’t care what the stores policies are, and will charge back if they feel like it (as there is a contract stating as much between the store and them).

    There is *no* contract/agreement/etc between you and a store just by shopping there. They often STATE there is, but just saying something doesn’t make it so.

    Many lowly clerks that work at these places (and their managers who are just the clerks who showed some promise, usually), think these policies are law, when they are not. That is also why many stores get and lose false arrest cases all over the country, and many members of store personnel get charged with assault/unlawful imprisonment (usually acquitted if it goes to trial) then sued for injury (usually settled by their employer to stop the bad press).

    The few places that *DO* have agreements with their shopers are membership clubs, airlines (via their flyer miles and federal lading law), and big ticket items involving a large amount of contracts that are obvious to both parties (cars, boats, etc). Most of those have special laws neutering those contracts because they were abused by businesspeople in the past.

    Simple transactions are governed by many OLD OLD precedents, and stores have to vastly change the way they do business to force their policies, etc, to hold any water. Target has to act more like a car dealership (including time to read all the contracts, chairs, etc) to have a chance in hell of having them stand up in court.

    That said, unless they publish a policy saying they will/won’t, each state has laws (and credit card agreements matter here too) saying wether or not the store must take things back. It varies quite widely wether they do or not.

  132. jryan says:

    “Team members were concerned about her well-being and her safety, and wanted to make sure she wasn’t endangering herself.”

    and then “Target signed a trespassing order against her…”

    Oh yeah, totally logical…

  133. BrianDaBrain says:

    Who still writes checks? But seriously, there’s a lot here that doesn’t add up. First, she called 911 herself, according to the first part of the story. “I’d like to report an emergency. I’m trespassing at Target.” WTF? Second, so many of the posters here say that target can’t have somebody taken in for mental eval, but the story has Target taking credit for it.

    “It’s not anything she did,” he [Fransen] said. “Team members were concerned about her well-being and her safety, and wanted to make sure she wasn’t endangering herself.”

    Besides, I just can’t see the cops agreeing to take her in for an evaluation without her making a scene. The story makes it sound like she was calm and reasonable, but nobody would agree to take her in for being calm and reasonable. she MUST have been making some sort of scene. It just doesn’t make sense otherwise.

    I’m just all sorts of confused about this one :)

  134. revmatty says:

    @gc3160 – that homo that u know: There’s a damned good reason for the check return policy. It’s pretty common for people running a scam to pay by check and then try to return for cash (though they’ll usually take store credit too) and then the check bounces because it was either stolen or the writer is broke and doesn’t care about bouncing checks.

    I worked as a retail manager for years and we had a very liberal return policy, but if you paid by check your refund would have to go through our corporate office and they wouldn’t cut you a check until yours cleared.

  135. floraposte says:

    @facingtraffic: You say, “As far as just overriding policy because a customer is upset, sometimes you just plain CAN’T.”

    And, as gets discussed here frequently, that’s a choice for a company, and it costs them in employee morale and customer appreciation. I think it’s perfectly appropriate to condemn a store for creating a particular policy or setting up a computer system the way they do. It’s not like store policy is a law of physics that can never be questioned.

  136. Felix the Cat says:

    I thought that this article was so awful that this morning I posted it as the lead item on my ‘Target Sucks’ blog

    I have considerable experience with Target in that this firm sued me in Federal court in Atlanta for my having posted a copy of their Target AP Directives for 2006, which I received from a former Target employee.

    Target took 23 months of screwing around with two dozen subpeonas to ISP providers etc, private detectives and process servers as well as major law firms in both Minneapolis and Atlanta. Probably 250k down the drain just to get their case tossed out July 16, 2008 by Judge Cooper in Atlanta.

    The Directives played a part in a recent Tulsa case when someone (wonder who) sent them a copy of the Directives. This was the case where a Target security person called for help in an ‘arrest’ and a bystander went to help, got stabbed and T. would not pay for his medical bills. So obviously he sued them. Target violated at least 4 sections of their Directives by the guards actions.

    So I am well aware how Target thinks it rules both the world and the internet. Now and then someone stands up to them and gives them a black eye. I hope the woman sues their butt off. I would be pleased to send her a copy of the Directives, however, I believe they have again been updated. If anyone has a copy of the ‘new’ Directives send it to me and I will post it

    John Doe

  137. Gopher bond says:

    @gte910h: yeah, but none of your length post matters. If a store has standard and reasonable policies for conducting business finding branch of the law to overturn those policies will be difficult and unlikely. So it’s all going to boil down to “don’t like it, don’t shop there”.

    I got burned by a check scammer while I was working as a cashier at a grocery store. Cost me $50 out of my paycheck. I went against store policy to help the customer too. I may be jaded.

  138. Altdotweb says:

    Nice piece of yellow journalism in that article.

  139. Anonymous says:

    @gte910h: I’m awfully sorry I don’t meet your standards of *good taste*, but you are going to have to get over it. Now that I’ve answered the unnecessary personal jab-

    No state has any such law requiring returns. The exceptions are states which mandate that a defective product must be taken back, or unless there is a money-back guarantee. The clothes were not defective, they did not fit her, that is not Target’s fault, i.e. they were not defective and there was no, as far as we know, money back guarantee. She doesn’t have the “right” to have her money returned. If she wants an exchange, she has to follow Target’s policies. Target does not have to follow their OWN policies to the letter, but employees have every right to do so, that is their prerogative. Returns are a privilege granted the customer, and only required by law in extenuating circumstances. She could have taken the gift card, $30 goes fast at Target,and if she absolutely wanted cash, she could have waited a few days. So my question to you, good sir/ma’am, what is your point?

  140. Anonymous says:

    @: In short, they had their money, presumably, she had the product, and absent a defect or guarantee, the business is under no obligation to reverse the transaction. Target followed its own very reasonable return policy governing check purchases. Call it poor customer service, nothing illegal was done

  141. dieman says:

    In most of the Twin Cities area, 911 is the only way to call the police.

  142. Anonymous says:

    It’s not that they wouldn’t take the items back, they just had a hold policy with the check. Wait a couple of days, or take the generous gift card offer. No need for histrionics

  143. dequeued says:

    I believe I can explain what you experienced.

    It’s just people who are miserable with themselves, or have low self esteem, coupled with a little bit of authority.

    I call it “Hall monitor syndrome”, and it’s very common among people in the lower rungs of society.

    The minimum wage store clerk who demands that you show him your ID so he can examine it for two minutes, when you’re obviously not underage.

    The government clerk who slams their window shut at exactly 5pm on the dot, even if you really need them to retrieve papers.

    Or the bored security guard who thinks that he is Magnum PI and tries to tackle you for not showing your receipt.

    I find police are much less likely to do this, I think, because they actually have -real- authority, and don’t really have anything to prove.

    I can usually just ignore their behavior, but if they really get under my skin you can usually go out of your way to make their jobs just a little bit harder.

  144. RhodyDave says:

    Just one more example of the erosion of our civil liberties and our rights. Anyone who still thinks we live in a “free” society is in need of the mental evaluation.

    Our institutions (civic, government, and even corporate) are all working together to prevent the public from exercising our freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It will only get worse. This is all under the guise of “protecting” us, be it from THE TERRORISTS or from ourselves. We’ve become an authoritarian society – RIP America – 1776-2001

  145. Triterion says:

    I just got a nice gift in the mail with a note that said “If you want to return it, I got it at Target.” haha it’s amazing people still don’t know that’s impossible with Target’s Draconian Return policy.

  146. SafetyHelmet says:

    You folks are missing the real issue here- Target made the exception to their policy, and offered her a refund for $30 in the form of a GIFT CARD TO THEIR STORE. That’s a refund that she could have spent two minutes later in the check-out line. She had an issue with the fact they are forcing her to spend her refund at Target. If they made the decision to return and refund her money, they should be able to refund it in cash or check, not something restricting her to spend the same money at their store- If I get refunded due to a product being garbage or the wrong thing, you’re *damn right* I’d have a problem if the store said “okay, but ONLY if you spend all of that refund here in the store, and not at any other business! In fact, you can’t even put it back into your savings.”

    How much money was wasted having the police show up, an ambulance, and having her evaluated? A lot more than $30. How much money has Target just cost itself in bad PR? A whole hell of a lot more than $30. In fact, I bet they just lost more than $30 by the fact that this woman and most likely her relatives won’t shop at Target for a minimum of several years.

    That doesn’t even touch on the multiple angles this lady could lawyer up against Target- her disabilities, appearance, age, sex, and the fact that the manager invoked law enforcement and emergency medical personnel instead of giving her $30 cash in place of a $30 gift card. Most judges would have a field day with a case like that.

  147. @SafetyHelmet: Please read the article before commenting. SHE is the one who called the cops.

  148. halo969 says:

    I love Target and I never have a problem with them. I think it’s because I’m a reasonable person.

  149. joellevand says:

    Okay, ex-retail slave here (disclaimer):

    1. Target has a posted corporate policy: cash back on a check after 7 days. Per my former positions in retail management/servitude, I can tell you that money being out of one (the customer’s) account does not mean it is in the other (Target’s), that Target is not going to check every day to see that every check is cleared, and therefore have said policy in place. I can also tell you that, with rare exception, most retail corps. will hold a manager accountable for money gone missing if a CSR or manager refunds check money outside of the window/policy. I personally was fired once because an assistant manager under me refunded a check that was a. over the accepted amount for cash refunds and b. not within the number of days, even though the money left the gentleman’s account. Why? Because fake checks will bounce back, the money will leave the company’s account, and then the company will blame you if you do not comply 100% with policy.

    Sorry, but no lovely old woman is worth my job.

    2. The woman called 911 herself. This is a. not normal, rational behavior (sorry kids who refuse to show receipts and call 911 on yourselves, it’s simply not normal behavior) and b. is an abuse of 911. This behavior alone would have the police questioning the mental stability of the caller. Combined with the refusal to leave the store’s private property (which is trespassing) and being, I imagine, loud and vocal about the situation (and probably less than clear and rational at this point due to adrenaline, etc. clouding verbal ability and rational thought) this would be the point the police questioned the woman’s safety and took her for an eval. As others, including some EMTs here have pointed out, Target cannot have you committed and cannot order a psych eval on you. Period.

    Of course, most cops aren’t trained in psychology and probably overacted when they made the call.

    Best course of action for the woman would have been to keep the shirts and call corporate, who may have been able to work with her. Retail wage slaves do not care how much you spend there, how long you’ve been a customer, or whatever else you’re going to tell them to get your way. Their job is simply more important than breaking policy to make you happy, and they always run the risk of being fired for making any sort of executive decision that goes directly against store policy. Oh, and from my IRL example, you will be denied unemployment if you deliberately break store policy in the name of customer service, at least in the state I live in.

    Home Office CSRs, however, have a LOT more flexibility, as do district managers and other middle and higher management, so don’t throw a tantrum in the store. Call corporate.

    Target’s policy is there for a reason, this woman had a legitimate issue but complained in TOTALLY the wrong way. Period.

  150. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @ TomCruisesTesticles:

    No state has any such law requiring returns. The exceptions are states which mandate that a defective product must be taken back, or unless there is a money-back guarantee.

    This is not entirely correct. New Jersey, for example, has laws that explicitly dictate where retail establishments must post signs explaining their return policy, as well as the minimum information that must be on these signs.

    They also provide a mandatory return policy for anyone who fails to do this:

    56:8-2.18. Penalties; refunds or credits to buyers
    A retail mercantile establishment violating any provision of this act shall be liable to the buyer, for up to 20 days from the date of purchase, for a cash refund or a credit, at the buyer’s option, provided that the merchandise has not been used or damaged by the buyer.

    Refund Policy Disclosure Act of 1982 (56:8-2.14)

  151. Anonymous says:

    @SafetyHelmet: What in God’s holy name are you blathering about? It’s not that they refused to issue her a cash refund, it’s that the requisite time had not elapsed since she made her purchase; she paid by check

  152. Anonymous says:

    @TinyBug: But I did state in an earlier post that in most states only reasonable posting is necessary in a conspicuous place. It was another poster who stated that “if you don’t see a sign, assume no refund is possible.” I merely said refunds are not required by law, except in certain extenuating circumstances.

    Either way, it’s a moot point-I’ve never been in a Target where this wasn’t posted at the cash register and by the door.

  153. katiat325 says:

    I used to work at Office Depot (a hell hole!), and the store used elctronic check machines to do what happened to this woman. Sure, at first it was a little hard to figure out how to do a return, but once you get the hang of it, and follow instuctions on the register (because that needs to be updated once that technology is installed), you then explain to the customer that they’ll receive a check from the store within 2 weeks for their money. It’s not that hard. And I can imagine an old woman, with a bad leg, standing there for so long, then having the manager yell at her. You’ll be surprised the kind of things managers can do to give you your money back quickly, and it sounds like this one was too lazy to 1) give her a refund and 2)probably didn’t know the correct return procedure.

  154. Anonymous says:

    “Many lowly clerks that work at these places (and their managers who are just the clerks who showed some promise, usually), think these policies are law, when they are not. That is also why many stores get and lose false arrest cases all over the country, and many members of store personnel get charged with assault/unlawful imprisonment (usually acquitted if it goes to trial) then sued for injury (usually settled by their employer to stop the bad press).”

    Wow. I never considered myself to be lowly with some promise. Thanks for opening my eyes. Can you give me some examples of all these false arrest cases? I’m sure that it’s such a problem that someone must be keeping statistics on it. BTW, it’s usually the customer, not the lowly clerk, who complains, “Isn’t it the law that {insert whatever they want}”

  155. dragonfire81 says:

    @facingtraffic: The thing is if she was really raising such a huge stink about it, it should not have been that big a deal to just give her the $30 rather than call the police and cause a mess like this.

    Why create bad PR when you don’t need it?

  156. DH405 says:

    @: Is a mental evaluation a valid way of handling a trespassing?

    Also, I don’t think that they have a valid case against her on trespassing considering that they were holding and refusing to return her money. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think it’s quite so cut-and-dry.

    Also, stop being a dick. Dick.

  157. Quilt says:

    Can you imagine the bad press the Target in that area is getting? They’ll lose a ton of business all because they decided not give the lady back her $30.

  158. Anonymous says:

    @SMSDHubbard: Target doesn’t have psychiatrists on staff, as far as I know. The company can’t make her get evaluated, that’s the final say of the police and paramedics. She was quoted as saying some things that could be interpreted as a threat/warning of instability. But anyway

    Yes, they do have a valid case against trespassing. No Target was not refusing to return her money. Target was not. Not. Not. Refusing to return her money. She paid by check, they followed the standard protocol for check refunds. They didn’t refuse a refund/exchange, in fact, they offered her a gift card. She refused. If she had come in a few days later, she would have gotten a cash refund. Target in no way committed fraud or stole her money. After notifying her of this, she protested and refused to leave. So yes, trespassing.

  159. Marshfield says:

    If they’re waiting to see me again, they’re waiting for a cold day in hell.”

    Oh YOW that is the funniest thing I’ve read in a week!!!!

    You GO girl!

    And I was just talking with my son today about Wal-mart vs. Target. He says wal-mart is evil — but I say Target’s return policies are even MORE evil.

    Almost makes me want to complain to my local Target store about this incident.

  160. Anonymous says:

    So glad this was printed in the Newspaper so that Target can get the bad PR. Seriously, abusing a senior citizen versus giving a $30 refund?

    I think it is very difficult for anyone to understand why I cannot get a cash refund when I see that you cashed my check and took the money out of my account. Poor decision on Target’s part.

    Target moving closer to low opinion of Walmart.

  161. Anonymous says:

    I don’t consider this “abuse” of a senior citizen at all. As a retail wage-slave myself, I probably would have refused her the refund as well, if there was a clearly stated policy telling me to do so. Catering to a customer’s impatience is not worth losing a job. It’s not like she never would have gotten her money back, she would have had to wait one single week, and they even tried to find a middle ground by offering her store credit instead. A rational person would not call 911 and refuse to leave a store because of having to wait a week for a small refund on non-defective items.

    Echoing the sentiment that Target cannot order a psych evaluation or involuntary medical holds. The police would have done that, and the police became involved because the customer called them. Target only issued a warning that they would if she continued to trespass. Target claims to have worked with them to ensure the safety of everyone, which is a reasonably believable thing, especially if this woman started blathering on about her auto accident and resultant emotionally unstable state. Seems to me the cops could easily have arrested her and went with the nicer option of sending her to a hospital rather than charging her with the multiple crimes she committed, as a courtesy because of her age and disability (trespass, frivolous 911 calls, possibly violations relating to any unknown disturbance she caused seem to have been options).

  162. trujunglist says:

    As far as I can tell, Target called the cops requesting that they cart the lady off to jail for trespassing. The cops didn’t want to take the lady to jail for trespassing, so they came up with another option; a much friendlier option in my book, because jail fucking blows. So, all those who say “it was actually the cops fault,” no, not really, not at all. I have a feeling the cops were on her side and opted for a solution that would appease Target but not end up with her cuffed in the back of a cruiser on the way to be booked.

  163. @Marshfield: They’re not waiting to see her again. In fact, Target signed a trespassing order against her, so they don’t ever want to see her again. Oh and she still has the shirts and no $30.

    Target: 1. Cranky lady: 0.

  164. Anonymous says:

    @trujunglist: she called the cops.. not target. She called the cops and the cops told her on the phone that it sounds like *she’d* be the one arrested, and she said fine.

  165. @trujunglist: As far as I can tell, Target called the cops requesting that they cart the lady off to jail for trespassing.


  166. @sean77: cops told her on the phone that it sounds like *she’d* be the one arrested, and she said fine.

    Nope. But you’re only a little off:

    Taking a cellphone from her purse, she dialed 9-1-1 and called police, asking them to come and help her. Officers responded and later filled out a report, but no charges were filed.

    The police report also says she asked to be arrested, but she denies that, saying, “I’d have to be crazy to ask for that.”

    “They can put you in jail for this,” she says a cop told her. “Well, I’ve got nothing else to do today,” she replied. “Besides, I may meet a better class of people in jail.”

  167. Aisley says:


    Dear Sean, is not hard for me to believe this story. I myself have never had a negative experience with Target, but I have at others stores. Thus I believe it is possible. Also, if you’re wondering if it is possible what the policeman did, oh yes, it is. They have a lot of officers who are nothing but knuckle heads. And to confirm I just have to ruen around and take a look at my brother, he’s one of those!

  168. CandyRaver says:

    What’s with elderly people and paying with checks? I’m a retail slave and almost all of them pay with a check and slow the line down.

  169. Anonymous says:

    God some people are brazen about how they display their ignorance and misplaced self-righteousness. The law, and store policies are not whatever you think they should be. Instead of extrapolating from your own little fantasy world, RTFA and stop blindly attacking the big evil corporation and talking about the woman like she’s some sort of martyr

  170. parabola101 says:

    Sooooo… Target makes psychological evaluations out of concern for the well-being of its customers? After threatening to call the police for trespassing… all over $30.00

  171. Pro-Pain says:

    If this was my grandmother/mother those pricks did this to, I would have returned to the store and caused a scene of EPIC proportion. I would have asked them if they think the police will show up before “someone” gets hurt. In some cases, violence IS a necessity. This is one of them. A good old fashioned act of violence can do wonders to change store policy. Behind every elderly lady can be a son who is one mean son of a bitch. Just ask my Mom ;)
    Target sucks.

  172. bobpence says:

    @parabola101: No, no, and no.

    The customer called the police, the officer who responded, after speaking with her and the store, decided she was “not rational” and decided to put a 72-hour hold on her (called a “5150” in California). An hour later, however, the medics released her — a mistake in my opinion, crazy people and addicts can do a remarkable acting job for a short period of time. Target did not make a psych eval, they may have relayed to the police officer some of the things the woman said before he arrived, which based merely on her description were cause for concern (traumatic stress experience — brought up in relation to a $30 return?!); ultimately the cop had to use his own judgment of what he saw and heard from her, and he decided she needed to be helped.

    We don’t know where her daughter was at this time. All we know is that the daughter initially idled at the curb rather than dropping her mother off and parking legally, or first parking with a handicapped parking hang-tag and then helping her usually-wheelchair-using mother.

    We do know that Target was willing to make the return and issue a gift card, and that other options which she may (or may not) have been made aware of were a mailed check after the seven day mandatory wait (she would not have to return) or to wait until the seven days were up and return to the store for cash. They could not meet her demand of cash now when it had been three days after she gave them a check. Check fraud is rampant, and if I take someone’s word because they are an 79-year-old white woman and decline to do the same for a 20-year-old meth addict who happens to be 1/2048th of any protected class, I’ll find myself with a class action suit.

  173. bobpence says:

    @Pro-Pain: Please get help, your violent speech may reflect violent tendencies. While it is true that violence is necessary at times, those times do not involve routine retail transactions. Also I would hope your regard for your mother — despite what you implicitly call her by calling yourself an SOB — would extend to helping her decide to use a safe, easily-cancelled debit card instead of easily stolen, hard-to-cancel, easily-forged checks when she shops.

  174. shadowkahn says:


    So. . .what you’re saying when you rant that Mary is out of her mind for thinking that this customer wanting her money back is reasonable is. . .

    Target, which does indeed reserve the right to refuse service to anyone (although, there are laws that invalidate that policy, as Target would find out if it ever tried to open a whites-only lunch counter) is allowed to accept the merchandise return, and then keep her money.

    A 7 day policy is understandable if Target doesn’t actually have the money from her check in the first place, but they did. As with most stores, if you pay by check in Target, it is electronically debited from your account immediately. It will probably be out of your bank account by the time you get home.

    So. Target has her money. Target also has the goods she gave them the money for. Target is refusing to give the woman her money back despite having taken the goods.

    That’s called theft, folks.

    If your next door neighbor stole $100 from you, do you think it reasonable to be charged with trespassing if you knocked on his door to get it back? I certainly don’t. The woman wanted her money back, and Target attempted to hide behind a “you’re not allowed to be here anymore” defense instead of giving back the money that they were in posession of, but had no right to.

  175. TomCruisesTesticles says:


    “Target, which does indeed reserve the right to refuse service to anyone (although, there are laws that invalidate that policy, as Target would find out if it ever tried to open a whites-only lunch counter) is allowed to accept the merchandise return, and then keep her money.”

    Of course they couldn’t open a whites only lunch counter. But what’s that supposed to prove? Ever heard of a *false analogy*?

    “So. Target has her money. Target also has the goods she gave them the money for. Target is refusing to give the woman her money back despite having taken the goods.

    That’s called theft, folks.”

    Wow. Proving my point about how some people are brazen with their displays of ignorance. Did you read any of the previous posts, or even the article? They did not force her to surrender the shirts. She was offered a gift card, she wanted cash. As long as Target doesn’t take the merchandise, they have every right to have her money and hold it. They have a reasonable check return policy-so sorry you disagree with it, but it doesn’t entitle you to your money or to throw a temper tantrum. No money was stolen. Even if Target had the money, if the check didn’t clear the bank would come after them (only 30 dollars, but multiply this by the other checks and check refunds). And she paid for the merchandise. Not returning the merchandise that was received a week early hardly constitutes theft

    “If your next door neighbor stole $100 from you, do you think it reasonable to be charged with trespassing if you knocked on his door to get it back?”

    If you refused to leave it would be. Being a creditor doesn’t entitle you to take the law into your own hands. A better analogy would be if your neighbor sold you something and wanted to wait for your check to clear before refunding the money-although ripping. off someone you live next door to is kind of silly.

  176. emmpee9 says:

    If she doesn’t like the seven-day waiting period for check returns, she’s welcome to not shop at Target. Free country and all that.

  177. zithero says:

    I love the fact that the store was that hell bent on the Gift card policy. I think it in our best interest to make companies who do this dirty tactic to actually HONOR their return policy. If you were to take them to court they would loose in a heartbeat. That’s how I’ll deal with any one else who offers me a “Gift card” I’ll be sure to become an instant irate customer after they say “I’m sorry sir we can’t give you cash.” Which my response will be simply:
    “If you can’t give me cash, I promise to never give you any form of cash, credit, debit, or any sort of money. If you tell me that you can’t give me cash, then I’ll be getting a lawyer, and I’m sure he’ll be happy to convince you to give me cash, since that’s what I gave you.”

  178. MrMold says:

    Funny, I’ve found that being polite is far more effective in ‘getting my way’ than any histrionics. Treating the ‘lower orders’ as equals under law and Gawd will ease the way to satisfaction.

    For those who beleeve that mistreating retail employees is the way to happiness, I’ll point out that any possible option for exacting revenge will be taken. Failure to remind you of sales, using the strictest possible interpretation of a policy, forgetting how to run a register when you are in a hurry, etc.

    Sounds like granny had used bluster to intimidate retail clerks into giving her cash before. The quick getaway driver, threats to health and safety, parading her age, the lack of documents, and calling police as personal thugs. Bet she has a record.

  179. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @zithero: What is everyone’s major malfunction? They were honoring their policy. They had a hold on checks. What dirty tactic was there. If I were a manager I wouldn’t refund check purchases early. If the check bounces it comes out of my paycheck. No need to get *irate* Target has a reasonable check return policy. So sorry this lady couldn’t wait a week for her cash-doesn’t justify her reaction

  180. shadowkahn says:


    Were I to be as rude as you have historically been in your replies, I suppose I would ask if you can read. I’ll skip that however, and point out to you that it has been explained, numerous times in this thread that you suggest I did not read, that Target immediately debits your bank account when you pay them with a check. There is no “check bounces” There is no “waiting for the check to be cleared.” If there were, then I would have no issue with Target making her wait until the check cleared.

    But, as the article, which you also accuse me of not reading, points out, she brought in a bank statement that clearly showed Target had already taken the money out of her account. The check cleared. Target had her money. There was no waiting around to be sure Target would get her money because Target already had it. I’m not sure how to make that more clear to you.

    There was therefore absolutely no reason to hold on to her money when she went to return something.

  181. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @shadowkahn: Why should they believe her bank statement? Easily forged. I realize that the check had been immediately debited, however, it is not illogical to assume that some people view returns on purchases paid by check as suspect.

    From the article: “Target spokesman Dave Fransen says Target’s return policy doesn’t allow cash refunds for items purchased by personal check until seven days go by, allowing checks to clear the bank. But Target is introducing new technology that allows electronic transfer of check funds, which appears to be what happened to Christina: Her money was withdrawn from her bank account the day after her purchase.”

    The immediate debiting is new, I can see the manager overlooking this/being cautious.

    Their stated policy is that refunds on items purchased by check cannot be processed for seven days. Illogical, considering that the money was already debited, but still following policy. You argued that this was tantamount to theft. You are entirely wrong. It may be illogical, but it is not theft. It is following policy

  182. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    You disagree with the policy? Good-doesn’t give you the right to behave the way this woman did. Your argument provides a false analogy, and your accusation of theft on Target’s part is absolutely unfounded.

  183. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    My main point is this, and I don’t care about anything else-Target did nothing illegal. Absolutely nothing. They certainly did not “steal” the woman’s money. They have a clear, reasonable policy. They weren’t refusing the money. If they refuse the refund after 7 days, then you have a reason to get histrionic-which is still childish.

  184. amillians says:

    @shadowkahn: RTFAx2.

    You obviously have no clue as to how the banking systems works. Just because a truncated check clears the account drawn upon does not mean it has credited to the depositor’s account, nor does it guarantee that it will. It still has to clear through the FRB branch system, and there can still be issues of stop-pay chargebacks, etc., even after truncation.

    @CruisesBalls: I think you’re in a no-win situation…it’s hard to have rational discourse with irrational people.

  185. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @amillians: It’s ok. I’m not expecting a response anyway. Wouldn’t want them to be late to their 9/11 Conspiracy Awareness meeting.

  186. shadowkahn says:

    Sorry to blast your expectations, and for the record 9/11 conspiracy theorists are idiots.

    You keep quoting store policy, as though store policy is something that we are compelled as citizens to follow and agree with. Store policy is not law. It does not get to break the law. If the store policy were to murder blondes, I should hope you would not come on here and give us your tired “It’s policy, man” argument as to why the store should be able to do it. And no, that’s not a false analogy, it’s pointing out that a store can have any policy it wants, but that doesn’t mean it’s a legal policy, or a valid policy, and it certainly doesn’t mean that someone who doesn’t like the policy is nuts.

    I’ve often seen stores have a “no returns, period” policy. Since such policy would violate the legally mandated implied warranty of merchantability, the store still has to accept returns on items that do not work as they are advertised to work. Even though their policy says they don’t, the law, says they do.

    To accuse someone of being a mental patient because they want money after having given money to the store for the goods that they are returning, is crazy. Absolutely barking mad. Yes, I acknowledge that the policy says that they can’t have money. That doesn’t mean the customer has to like it. It doesn’t mean the customer is insane for not liking it. Had they not gone the “she’s a lunatic” route, I think the irritation at Target would be substantially less. Fine, it’s policy, just wait until next week and get your money then. But no, instead, they had to be hardasses with a 79 year old grandma, threatening to call the cops and then accusing her of being nuts. That, folks, is why some of us are more than a little annoyed at this store.

  187. tworld says:

    I’m shocked to hear this about Target. I’ve returned items many times, and they just credited my refund to my Visa, no questions asked. As a matter of fact, last week I returned blank CD’s because my husband discovered they were the wrong kind AFTER he opened the packaging. I taped the packaging together and brought it back to Target. I’m not kidding, in less than a minute at the return counter I walked away with my credit slip. Something IS wacky about this story, and I don’t think we’re getting ALL the details.

  188. emmpee9 says:


    When the 79 year old grandma refuses to leave the store, what other choices do they have other than being “hardasses” and threatening to call the police?

  189. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    “Store policy is not law.” I neither stated nor implied that.

    “It does not get to break the law.” I wholeheartedly agree with you, however, that is a moot point considering Target did not break any laws.

    “Since such policy would violate the legally mandated implied warranty of merchantability, the store still has to accept returns on items that do not work as they are advertised to work. Even though their policy says they don’t, the law, says they do.”

    Agreed. In fact, I said this in a previous post. Stores have an obligation to refund defective merchandise, or items that do not work as advertised, or if there is a money-back guarantee. But these are merely exceptions to a merchant not being required to accept returns. And once again, this is a moot point, because the woman returned clothes that did not fit her-not because they were defective-technically they did not fit her function, as they did not fit, but that is not in any way Target’s fault.

    Target followed policy, and did nothing illegal. I’ll serve the customer’s legitimate complaint, but giving a customer what they want against policy is the civilian equivalent to negotiating with terrorists. Savvy scammers are well versed in the give them an inch they take a mile routine. But I digress.

    She was accused of being a mental patient? That’s quite an assumption you’re making. She made a comment about handling stress-easily misconstrued in the heat of the moment. Why is all the finger wagging being done at Target? They are not law enforcement, it is not up to them who gets evaluated. She was trespassing. Target’s policy may be unreasonable to you, but her refusal to leave was unreasonable to the extreme. Histrionics are not the answer to any problem. Yeah, they were so tough on poor granny. Right? Well the woman refused to leave after they clearly outlined their policy (which she clearly didn’t understand). Her age doesn’t make me sympathize anymore. A trespasser is a trespasser is a trespasser.

  190. Mobius says:

    I don’t see why people are bashing on Target. I imagine they tried to be accommodating (with the gift card offer) and she immediately lost it and became demanding. I worked my fair share of retail. I was not willing to compromise with a customer at all once they stopped being civil with me. She was clearly not being civil. I shop at Target every week and have returned things many times. I have always found Target employees to be helpful. She should have gone to jail instead of a hospital for bothering the police with a false report.

  191. TomCruisesTesticles says:
  192. shadowkahn says:


    Put the ego down, quit trying to beat Grandma, and try to diffuse the situation by working something out that’s mutually agreeable to the both of you. Whatever side of this debate the people here happen to fall, surely we can all agree that publicity of this sort is not exactly ideal for a corporation that wants people to come buy things from it. Had they not gone the “I’m calling the cops, you’re nuts” route, none of this publicity would have happened, and they would not have lost at least one customer (because others are sure to decide not to shop, at least at /that/ Target, after reading this article).

  193. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @shadowkahn: They did try to work something out that was mutually agreeable. I believe that was the idea behind offering her the gift card. Or she could have waited a few extra days to return her clothes

  194. shadowkahn says:


    I will grant you that Target did nothing /illegal/. I would submit that it is ethically questionable to insist on giving a gift card after the customer’s bank account has already had the money taken out of it.

    The electronic check cashing is all well and good – banks are delighted with it because people can no longer “float” checks a day or two before they get paid, and merchants love it because they get their money that much faster.

    But, if you’re going to have a system that immediately debits the consumer’s bank account, your returns policy should not pretend as though it takes seven whole days for you to get the money.

    What’s really happening, is that they immediately debit her account, the money is now in their account, earning interest. Making her wait a week to get her money back means they profit off the float. They’re getting an interest free loan, essentially.

    And, even ethics aside, from a customer-relations standpoint, wouldn’t it be smarter just to give the damned money back? Then that customer will return, and so will the ones who would otherwise read that article and get pissed, and take their business elsewhere.

  195. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @shadowkahn: Good for them. Better for them to not shop at a store whose return policies they disagree with; that means we’ll see less stories like these where people get wound up and attack the company for nothing.

  196. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @shadowkahn: I could answer that, but there’s no need to perpetuate an argument that’s essentially over. Yes, nothing Target did was illegal. Customer-relations, maybe, but when I worked in this setting I would never have risked my job or money violating policy, manager’s discretion. It may seem arbitrary, but it is neither unreasonable nor illegal. I refuse to side with the woman-she reacted poorly, and she could very well have been carted off to jail-I suspect the mental evaluation was done out of mercy. I won’t agree or disagree to any side points, that’s been my entire point all along, which has gotten lost in the sea of inane and unfounded comments

  197. fett387 says:

    I think I am going to open a business so I can steal money and have the victim arrested for trespassing.

    It seems Target may be headed for the 2009 Golden Poo Awards!

  198. TomCruisesTesticles says:


  199. bwcbwc says:

    @jswilson64: Well a good example is software license agreements. Until very recently, you didn’t get to see the license agreement for your new software until you opened the box and started the installer. And once you opened the box, the store couldn’t give you a refund. California (and maybe some other states) ruled that this did not constitute informed consent and now stores are required to have the license agreements for software available/viewable prior to purchase, or else they have to offer refunds on opened packages.

  200. keen0 says:

    I work at Target, and people do try to scam us, a lot. I even know a few regulars by face and by name. Its because some people make their living scamming companies that Target has these harsh policies. It’s the few ruining it for the many situation.

    And for all you saying “the manager should have just given her the $30”, you have to realize, they can’t. It’s not that they don’t want to, they have no way of doing it to have it recorded as a legitimate return in the system.

    On a Target POS machine there are 8 keys, called “K keys”, K1-K8. When a return is finalized, the system gives you what options can be applied to this return, listed on the screen as option K1-K8. K1 is a recommended refund, which is usually the way the guest payed. The next 6 K options are for other ways of payment. If the guest payed by a credit card and a gift card, the recommended refund will usually show as a Gift Card, but by pressing K3 the amount can be put back on the credit card.

    The last of these K options, K8, is Request Override. By pressing this button, the team member is given a number to call to talk with the return center, and if they agree, will provide a number to override the system.

    If the guest has a purchase that was payed by a check, and the 7 days have not yet elapsed, there will be no K option for cash, only for a gift card. No person, and I repeat NO PERSON, in the store, no mater how high, can override this. Only the return center can, and they won’t, unless the situation meets their policy to the letter.

    I know it’s a horrible policy, but you have to understand, at the store level, our hands are tied. No one is going to just take $30 from the register and hand it over, risking not only their job, but also arrest for stealing.

  201. loueloui says:

    Somebody please get this lady a hammer!

    Also, sure it was a tremendous waste of time and money. But its not their money it’s the taxpayers’ money. Let’s see ~$3K for an ambulance, and crew which they’ll never see a bill for versus $30 worth of sacred company profits. Yeah, sounds like the right choice to me.