How Walmart Is Making Americans Even Stupider

Reader “Nick” manages a store that sells DVDs. And while store managers have many, many legitimate gripes that they could share with the Consumerist Nation, Nick has a very specific complaint about Walmart. It’s his belief that Walmart is making Americans stupid. Well, stupider. Hear him out.

He writes:

I’m a Manager at a DVD store, the golden policy on returns is… [We need a] receipt for any returns. 90% of the time when a customer tries to return a item without a receipt, they go off on me for poor customer service and tell me Walmart takes any returns without receipts. Countless times I been called racist names wile they storm out of the store (hopefully not knocking something over).

Tonight(2/21/2012) I had a man try to return a item he said he purchased from us back in December as a Christmas gift for a girlfriend. He said he lost the receipt on his way over.

I explained to him multiple things. Our receipt policy and our 30 day return policy. Even tho I been taking back returns as old as black Friday on the first of February and receipt less returns 3 weeks after Christmas. No way I can return a item from December now.

The kicker is we never carried the item. Man went off a tangent stating the consumer is always right and that Walmart take back items without receipts all the time. He stated he would not leave the store till I give him his money back.

Tried to explain it all to him clearly again, he just kept going in a circle about Walmart and how unfairly I’m treating him. After the 5th time I tried to explain why I cant do the return walked over to the main register started to yell that the store steals from hard working Americans and block people from using it. I had to call security to have him removed.

At this point I’m convinced that Walmart is making everyone an idiot.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    Is Walmart making people stupid, or do stupid people shop at Walmart? Cause, or effect?

    • Scooter McGee says:

      Stupid people shop at Walmart, thereby making them more stupid because they think everybody should operate like Walmart.

    • RandomHookup says:


    • exit322 says:


    • MaytagRepairman says:

      Walmart provides an environment for stupid people to foster expressing themselves.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      It’s neither. Wal-mart’s policies are raising people’s expectations.

      Some other merchant prefers to insult customers rather than adapting.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …right, because it’s totally unreasonable for a merchant to refuse to let a “customer” return a product to them for a refund without proof of purchase…or even proof that said product was ever actually sold there at all. All retailers totally should allow “returns” for any and all products, whether or not they were bought in their stores, and whether or not they even ever actually sold such products. That makes perfect sense.

        Seriously…the depth of stupidity with some people…

        • Billy C says:

          I worked at a Walmart customer service desk for a couple years, and had a couple teen girls taken away by police for a situation like this. They brought in a cache of bras and stuff they claimed were given to them as gifts. Ya sure, like they both had their birthdays at the same time, and everyone both of them knew likes to buy them undergarments that don’t fit as gifts. They were 100% adamant that the items were bought at our store, and refused to leave without a refund. Problem is all the products were tagged/labelled “La Senza”, which any young girl in that city would know as the popular place in town to buy frilly girly things. Even with the cops there trying to pull them away, they were still steadfast in their insistence on getting a refund, because they totally didn’t jack all this loot from the actual La Senza store and obviously couldn’t return it there…

    • SavijMuhdrox says:

      that is my deep thought for the day. awesome. thanks.

    • Posthaus says:

      I would just like to know why this is the same caliber of behavior we see on shows like “Hardcore Pawn.”

  2. The Porkchop Express says:

    He writes like he shops at Walmart a lot.

    • unsmith says:

      He lost me at “Even tho I been taking back returns”

      • iblamehistory says:

        Yeah. “I” and “been” do NOT belong side by side, just like “I” and “seen.” If you do this, I know your IQ is probably around 20. I don’t care what “disability” you may have. If you’re writing a letter to a site like this that will publish it, get a damn proofreader if you have no grasp on the English language or grammar. Especially if said letter is used to call people stupid. It’s pretty easy to tell by word choice and placement when English is not someone’s first language, and in those cases mistakes are understandable, but “tho” and “I been” is just downright lazy and stupid.

        I definitely can’t blame the OP for people actually being stupid enough to think that the entire world operates like Walmart, but there is simply no excuse to use “tho” and “I been” in a formal letter. If this person speaks how he writes, I can understand at least why customers get so angry. I stopped using a doctor’s office because of a receptionist (who was a living, breathing HIPPA violation, and was extremely rude to everyone) voiced her annoyance over the fact that I wanted to “axe the doctor a pacific question.” I just left. She might as well have just said “banana the doctor a scrapbook question” because those were simply not the correct words whatsoever.

        • Twonkey says:

          Yet I’m sure that if you stepped down from your self-righteous high-horse for a bit you’d have to admit that you fully understood what she was trying to tell you, and that there was no reason besides that you’re a bit of a loon to let it get to you the way that you did.

          I’m not disagreeing with the spirit of what you’re saying. It would be fantastic if we lived in a world where everyone were adept at communication but we don’t, so it seems silly to get bent out of shape about it.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Well he could also be dysgraphic. Don’t be so quick to assume people are just stupid.

      Admittedly, it’s the more likely of the two scenarios, but even still…

    • kc2idf says:

      The specific form of his prose, combined with his statement that he gets called various racist remarks leads me to believe that English is not his first language. If I had to take a guess, based on the specific word choice, I would guess he is Vietnamese.

      Cut the man a little slack. His complaint is valid.

      • Sneeje says:

        His complaint is valid, but his statement that X is making people stupid is pretty high on the list of things that make you look stupid. Google is making us stupid, calculators are making us stupid, books are making us stupid, chess is making kids stupid, and so on. All of those things have been claimed throughout history.

        Its a common cognitive bias to blame the nearest and simplest correlation.

        • Firethorn says:

          Personally, I think that he’s mistaking stupidity with ‘scammer’. You see, the scammer is playing the odds -and if a 5 minute spiel about how ‘another store woudl refund me’ works, that’s what he’ll do. It’s just that you want to pick a familiar store to do the appeal with, such as walmart.

          They try the smaller stores because the higher prices mean they’d get more, and pawnshops both pay less and watch more for stolen items.

      • Nunov Yerbizness says:

        Actually, my guess is he’s black, and he probably has heard at most two racist epithets in his young life, but embellishes such tales of woe with exaggerated accusations of racism all the time. I just don’t see Asian immigrants living in that perpetual state of victimhood that blacks do. Don’t really care if you find my statements racist; thought and speech is not a crime.

        “Countless times I been called racist names…” Riiiiiiight. Sure you have. Now get down off the cross; we need the wood.

        That aside, he has a legitimate gripe against customers who can’t be arsed to bring a receipt in when they want to return a purchase, although I don’t know what in f***-all that has to do with Walmart. Do you want to return something you’ve bought? Then bring in a receipt. It’s not hard.

        • darthwaveous says:

          “I just don’t see Asian immigrants living in that perpetual state of victimhood that blacks do”

          Wow nice racism there friend.

    • rushevents says:

      Ummm “Stupider”???

      “Well, MORE stupid.”

  3. sljepi says:

    * an idiot.

    • nocar says:

      * return a item > return an item
      * I been called > I’ve been called
      * wile > while
      * tho I been > though I’ve been
      * I cant > I can’t
      * the return walked > the return, he walked
      * block people > blocked people
      * making everyone a idiot > making everyone an idiot

      • GrayMatter says:

        My college roommate, one really bright and funny person, could not and can not spell. He asked me to check over his writing, and it would usually bleed with red pen.

        He graduated with honors, got a PhD in chemistry, and has made a good and respected living in his field.

        So be careful about spelling errors and your opinion about intelligence

        • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

          However, the OP should have been much more careful when writing a piece blasting the intelligence of a group of people. Pointing out his perceived hypocrisy is almost a given.

          • darcmosch says:

            And I know native Chinese that you would never be able to pick out as being foreign if they wrote that. Subtle racists are still racists.

        • LabGnome says:

          Hell, I would say that a slight majority of people with careers in the hard sciences have issues with spelling and grammar.

  4. EnergyStarr says:

    not defending walmart, but walmart is not making Americans ‘even stupider’.

    In this case, walmart has created an expectation among Americans that they should get their way. Returns and reverse logistics are expensive line-items for businesses, and this is why walmart has a generous return policy; It encourages people to shop with them vs. a smaller or less-efficient operation.

    • missy070203 says:

      I worked for walmart in college and for a period of time I worked the customer service desk processing returns…. Walmart at that time actually had a return policy it was just 90% of the time the person working there didn’t enforce to avoid conflict- ….. I was not that person which is probably why is was nicknamed “return police” by customers and co-workers….. let me give you an example of the types of returns people would try to pass-

      * one customer would come in on a regular basis to return/exchange a boxed desk lamp that came with a light bulbl he also did this without a receipt –
      —- can you guess his reason for the exchange???? wait for it— the bulb burned out and because he was to cheap to buy a package of light bulbs he exchanged the lamp when the bulb burned out—

      ** customer #2- had infant child and since babies grow out of clothes every few months she would bring all of the clothes back and attempt to return them without a receipt for store credit- mind you they were very work with holes in them and covered in stains – her logic was baby grew out of them try to exchange them for larger sizes—-

      *** honestly I could sit here all day and tell you stories about walmart-

    • bluline says:

      The OP should have just told the customer to return the DVD to Wal-Mart, since no receipt is required there.

    • Kuri says:

      Exactly. It’s not necessarily a Walmart problem, it’s an entitlement problem

  5. yabdor says:

    Walmart has nothing to do with it. Americans are already gifted stupid(to say nothing of their sense of entitlement). Don’t believe me? Turn on the TV. You’ll have all the proof you could ever require.

    • axhandler1 says:

      The comments section for any article on Yahoo news will also provide all proof you’d ever need.

      • exit322 says:

        If this were a trial, the judge would call the trial about two pages into a set of yahoo comments.

        Especially if it was an article about President Obama or anything job related

        “OBUMMER TOOK MAH JERBS!!!!11”

        Or something to that effect.

    • mszabo says:

      If they don’t believe you wouldn’t that imply that the TV is likely already on?

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      I understand this guy’s complaint but this has been in the making for over 20 years. I remember stores back in the 80s beginning to take anything without a receipt. At first it was for a limited time and then it just got to the point where stores were competing against each other and the market went nuts because they were fighting for customer’s (read: profits) and I think this is how the entire “profit = greed” mindset began with management back then. Companies began looking at ANY new possibility to bring in customer’s regardless of how stupid an idea was and could be. This is when the bottom-line over took common sense and good judgment in the retail world and we see this every day,,,especially with stories posted here.

      I worked at Kohl’s in the early 90s and if I remember correctly, they would accept anything, regardless, for no reason at all. We knew that some customer’s were putting on clothes in the fitting rooms, walking out, and returning hours later to return them for money.

      This entitlement began back then and now Wal-Mart does the same so people are wired to assume all stores will do this.

    • Kuri says:

      Excuse me while I wash off the paint you tried to apply with that ridiculously broad brush.

      • yabdor says:

        Lame argument dude. Did you have an actual issue or were you just trolling for a fight?

        • Kuri says:

          Well if you were being sarcastic I apologize for my rudeness, I just don’t care for broad stereotypes.

          • yabdor says:

            You mean like the one painted in the article, supported by numerous comments here and evidenced by the completely brainless and moronic content of TV? So dude… if you want to pick a fight you’re going to have to do a whole lot better than that. Why don’t you just say something untoward about my grandmother. It’d be lots more direct and save both of us some time.

          • red says:

            Its not a broad stereotype. Its reality. I am not sure if you work in a job where you deal with “the general public”* but the vast majority of people are idiots. They enjoy the trashiest, most thoughtless entertainment, have disdain for intelligence, have minimal desire to learn anything about anything up to and including things they own, things they use on a daily basis, or global or local events, and have huge entitlement issues. Is this everyone in America?No. But its probably at least 70%-80% in my experience.

            Hopefully it is not isolated to American. In my travels it seems to not be.

            *”a job where you work with people who do not do the same job you do” such as service, sales, retail, a hospital, public safety, government…

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    These people have always existed in the world. They think they deserve far more than they really do, are sometimes mentally unstable, and usually just trying to scam you for money.

    It’s not Walmart, it’s the human condition.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:


    • kc2idf says:

      Here’s how you get rid of them:

      When they point out that Wal*Mart would take the return, as it, without a receipt, etc., tell them to go to the god-damned Wal*Mart, return it there, and get the hell out of your face!

    • failurate says:

      Spot on. Fear of Wal-Mart is being used as a tool to shake down a smaller business. He’s not running into a problem with Wal-Mart or the people who shop there, he’s running into people trying to scam him out of money.

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

      Exactly and the reason we all see it much more prevalently is because apparently the interwebs are a necessity now and not a luxury. This means even stupid people have access to the web pretty much anywhere.

  7. crazydavythe1st says:

    I’m not sure that ragging on Walmart over one their few strengths (their liberal return policy) makes much sense. There have always been stupid people out there – idiots make themselves look like idiots.

    • ZomB says:

      Exactly. And Walmart has a liberal return policy because they can afford to take the occasional hit from a return that is not legitimate or cannot be resold after return, whereas the small business owner cannot. If this business owner were to explain it to people like that, they might be more understanding.

      • movalca says:

        Noty really. try explaining why you have to charge more than Walmart and watch their eyes glaze over. Like everyboy’s a freakin’ walmart.

  8. Lucky225 says:

    Walmart isn’t making people idiots, they just cater to them. I’d tell the man he’s welcome to go to WalMart to make his return if he loves them so much, seeing as how he didn’t even buy the DVD from your store in the first place he should find no problem returning it at Walmart, these people aren’t idiots, they’re serial returners whose photo ID is in Wal-Mart’s database already as returning too many times without a receipt, hence they show up at your place.

  9. MonkeyMonk says:

    Maybe he should have recommended that the guy return the product to Walmart.

  10. Costner says:

    People have always been stupid. I worked retail years ago in a city that was more than 70 miles away from the nearest Walmart and people were just as stupid there. In fact, more than once I had people try to return things to the store that we never sold and yet they were determined to convince us that we did.

    Stupid people are everywhere. Walmart is merely a magnet to them. Unfortunately it does bring so many stupid people together in one place that it could potentially lead to breeding which in turn provides us with more stupid people.

    This is why I propose a machine that sterilizes customers as they enter Walmart. We can use this same machine at the entrance to Bass Pro Shops, Trailer Parks, and NASCAR events.

  11. Nobby says:

    Why even consider giving refunds on DVDs unless they are defective, receipt or not? You can’t sit through a movie at a theater and get your money back, so why should DVDs be any different?

    • yurei avalon says:

      If it’s a still sealed item or a defective one returns should be allowed. A lot of places I’ve shopped at have a return policy of unopened only or if opened for an exchange of the same thing. That’s both online and from brick and mortar places.

    • sponica says:

      but you can sit through the first 15 minutes and if you absolutely hate the movie, odds are you will get your money back….at least back when I worked at a movie theater. or maybe my boss was just a nice guy and figured if we ate the two tickets, the customer might come back another time.

  12. dragonfire81 says:

    Wal-mart has long been known for having a very liberal return policy and even taking returns on items they never sold in the first place.

    Unfortunately a lot of people seem to think that all stores should magically use the same universal return policy, apparently not realizing Wal-Mart makes so much money that it can afford to be extremely loose with the return policy, unlike a mom and pop shop.

  13. az123 says:

    Sadly I actually think the author of this letter pretty much shows that the store he works for does have crappy customer service. While I agree that he should never take back an item that they never carried (and for that matter even if they no longer carry it) without a receipt…..

    Any store that is not willing in this day and age to at least offer store credit without a receipt for items, well they are just not aligned with the times and offering decent customer service. Yes you can condition it, only in the box and unopened etc…. but to just say sorry… I do not think it is just wal-mart, I think that is the standard set by many stores these days.

    • Lucky225 says:

      If you want these policies, don’t shop stores that don’t have them. In this case it appears the customer making the return never shopped the store in the first place and still feels entitled.

    • Scooter McGee says:

      How long post-purchase should they offer store credit? Without a receipt, there’s no proof it was bought there or when it was bought. Should I expect to get store credit for something I purchased two years ago at another store?

      • az123 says:

        You give store credit, the money stays in your store. Assuming you still carry the item that was sold and you only do it if it is in condition you can re-sell, then the store really does not loose out and more importantly… you keep the customer happy, which means they will likely spend more money in your store.

        Yes if it is a 2 year old item that has either clearly been used extensively or your store no longer sells… you don’t take it back… but it is crappy customer service to just go tell someone Nope because they lost a receipt, when there are other options that keep the money in your store.

        • Scooter McGee says:

          So even if it’s something you never sold, you would still give store credit? Good luck staying in business once people figure out your generous return policy.

          • az123 says:

            Dear god people cannot read…… or they forget it two seconds later…. we found another walmart shopper here…..

            I stated “While I agree that he should never take back an item that they never carried (and for that matter even if they no longer carry it)” Thus I would not expect them to take back and item they did not carry nor that they never carried.

            But if you read the guy’s first paragraph it is more than just the example and his store has a blanket policy, that I think is not aligned with the times at all… Even Best Buy has a more sane return system than his store

            • Rexy on a rampage says:

              So this guy is in the Dark Ages simply because he won’t take back an item he never sold? Or offer store credit for it, even though said item DID NOT come from his store? Methinks you are the one behind the times here…

              • kelcema says:

                Please take the time to clearly read the comments and what he’s saying. He has said, time and time again, that the store is OK in NOT accepting a return for an item they never sold.

                • Rexy on a rampage says:

                  I have read. Az has gone back and forth. Offer store credit, don’t do anything. Offer store credit, don’t do anything. But whatever, I’m done.

          • taaurrus says:

            omgosh really?! Am I the only one who is understanding what Az123 is saying? Az123 NEVER SAID THE STORE SHOULD TAKE BACK SOMETHING THEY NEVER SOLD! They NEVER said that in ANY of their posts!! Sheesh! I’m not even Az123 and I’M getting exasperated at all the people who can NOT CORRECTLY READ A COMMENT!

    • technoluster says:

      How do you offer store credit when you can’t determine what the store would charge for the item since they never sold said item.

      I agree with his decision to not offer anything for it.

      However, his argument that “Walmart is making everyone a idiot” is something I don’t agree with.

      • az123 says:

        Did you not read what I wrote, or are you an avid walmart shopper, conditions like you had to carry the item or even need to be currently carrying it are fine. The writer of this said his store takes nothing back ever without a receipt, so the example he gave was an extreme case to make his point, but ignores the stupidity of his stores own customer service

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Even for items you don’t carry? So the store who originally sold it gets to keep the profit and the store who accepts a return for an item they don’t carry has to:

      A) Put it into their inventory system
      B) Try to sell it at retail when they bought it at retail (no profit)
      C) Give some asshole the green light to do this over and over again.

      • az123 says:

        Um, evidently people cannot read… did I not Say “While I agree that he should never take back an item that they never carried (and for that matter even if they no longer carry it)”

        Far too many wal-mart shoppers reading this today

    • George4478 says:

      >>While I agree that he should never take back an item that they never carried

      I thought you’d like at least one comment from someone who actually read what you wrote. The other five folks didn’t.

    • az123 says:

      And for all those who do not actually understand owning a store (sorry I do actually own a business)… if you take something back and give someone store credit then you are actually NOT sending money out the door.

      If the item is something you normally sell you are inventorying an additional copy, but you gave store credit so you are NOT paying retail and selling it for retail, you are paying nothing till they use the store credit, and then you are still NOT paying retail.

      In a specialized business like DVD sales your margin on each product is approximately the same, so over a few transactions like this you basically end up re-stocking a couple items for the same price you would have paid your supplier to get them, but you are doing this by trading them of other items with the same relative profit margin.

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        You’re right that no money is “going out the door.” However, no money is coming in the door either. You might have stocked a few additional copies, but you’ve also a) set expectations that returns without receipts are perfectly fine and b) used time to process returns/inspect/restock merchandise that could have been better spent doing something else.

    • Lucky225 says:

      Speaking of people who “didn’t read”, evidently you didn’t read what the OP wrote.

      “Even tho I been taking back returns as old as black Friday on the first of February and receipt less returns 3 weeks after Christmas…..”

    • taaurrus says:

      Wow Seriously?? Az123 – I thought you’d like to know that at least one person (me) actually read your comment. Everyone else is going to comment on their confusion as to why you think this store should take back an item they never sold. I’ve reread your comment & I can’t find where you actually said that!

    • elangomatt says:

      What does “this day and age” have to do with whether or not someone should keep their receipt? Not all businesses can afford to keep a database of all transactions and put a barcode on every receipt like the big retailers do. Your proof that you purchased something is still that paper receipt. How about customers taking some personal responsibility for their own purchase and keeping that receipt if there is even a chance of returning something you bought.

      If the customer had the receipt from back in December, do you think the customer should have gotten a refund? It has now been nearly two months since Christmas now and that goes against the store’s return policy anyway. Sure the store could give store credit, but there a limit of how far a business should go for “good” customer service. The guy admitted he bought it back in December so that right there should disqualify him from getting a refund/store credit even if he had the receipt.

    • mistyfire says:

      At the discount goods store I work at, store credit is not allowed. neither is cash back. And it suits us about 98% of the time. Everything is a even amount, allowing for exchanges only without worrying about odd cents. So it the item is only a dollar, it can be exchanged for another dollar item. If the person buys more than one thing, that amount can be taken off the total. The company doesn’t lose any money in this as most exchangers, walk out with more than they brought back.

      the other 2% of the time are those who buy 100s worth and try to return it. They fight, they argue. They still don’t get money back. They claim they never see the signs or read the back of their recipts. Even if they never return to shop, they still don”t get their money. Sometimes these people try to return something we never sold. Or, my boss suspects, they found something we sell at the thift store for next to nothing and try to return it.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Bullcrap. I wouldn’t give someone a refund on something they didn’t purchase in my store and neither should the OP. Even Walmart spells out its policies clearly, and if the idiot waving the DVD couldn’t be bothered to look at them, that’s his lookout. He sounded like a scammer to me anyway. Sure, the OP should just let himself be scammed in the name of “customer service.”

      Before you flame me, I’ve worked in customer service for a long time. Most policies are there for a reason. Not all of them make sense, but this one does.

  14. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    No, Walmart is setting the expectations way to high. There have always been idiot customers. The first one was probably about 10 minutes after the first shop opened.

    How about the idiot that ate the apple, convinced their partner to take a bite, then got banned from the shop for eternity?

    Plug here for a favorite site as a store owner:

    • Sunflower1970 says:

      Oh, god. I love that site. I read it every day.

    • nybiker says:

      I’m still drinking my coffee and had to put the cup down or else I’d have dropped from laughing so hard. It’s going in my Opera speed dial page so I can get my fix every day. Thanks.

  15. pop top says:

    I don’t think it’s Wal-Mart’s fault; people try to get one over on businesses all the time, regardless of what they’re doing or what store it is. If he wouldn’t have said Wal-Mart, he would’ve said some other store to try and convince you to do what he wanted.

  16. impatientgirl says:

    Ever seen the movie Idiocracy?

  17. SporadicBlah says:

    Stupid people keep raising stupid children that grow up to be stupid adults. IMO at least 75% of the population lacks common sense. And those same people keep popping out kids 9 months and 10 minutes apart.

  18. humphrmi says:

    While I don’t argue that the customer he quoted was in the wrong, I don’t agree that Wal Mart’s policy is making people “stupid”. It is making people expect more, which competitors will either meet or not. It’s called competition.

    • az123 says:

      Ah, someone else that read the first paragraph and did not get tied up in the example……

      Also Wal-mart may have open returns compared but they still would not let you return an open DVD for anything but an exchange etc…

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, it’s funny a so called “pro consumer” site would post a story bashing Walmart because their customer service, as it relates to returns, is to good.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        It’s good for a large operation that can take the hit from a few scammers here and there. It’s bad for a small operation that would take more damage from the dishonest.

        • StarKillerX says:

          True, but since Walmart owes nothing to the smaller operators, and I would think a pro consumer site would praise a company for having a liberal return policy, unless of course they were so biased against the company that nothing it did would ever be good enough.

  19. Matt says:

    This has nothing to do with Walmart. This was a case of a man trying to scam a business into becoming his personal, one-time, pawn shop. Back in what the youngsters call “the day,” I knew kids in my neighborhood who tried this all the time with SNES games. They would take games they’d had for months to the Toys-R-Us down the street and try to “return” them only to get turned down like this guy. Walmart’s only part in this was giving the man something to yell about as he tried to bully his mark into paying him to go away.

  20. easymacfu says:

    This article is making America stupid.

  21. Bionic Data Drop says:

    I think all stores had a no receipt/no return policy. I don’t think proof of purchase is too much to ask for a return. A receipt proves when it was purchased, purchase price, method of payment, etc.

    I love how the OP brings up what I think is one of the most common “dumb” misconceptions consumers have: “Not getting my way = bad customer service”, which basically means if a store isn’t willing to lose money over a customer’s own mistakes, they’re just beating up on the little guy.

  22. ungeheier says:

    I think he’s using the word ‘wile’ incorrectly.

  23. Brenell says:

    I’m starting the think I’m the only person in America that keeps receipts for the DVDs and video games that I purchase (as well as many other items). And it’s not like I have a hugely elaborate filing system for keeping the receipts for DVDs. I just stick them inside the front cover of the case with all the inserts. It works for me since I tend to buy DVDs and game one at a time.

  24. zerogspacecow says:

    You can’t return movies or games to Walmart…

  25. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Americans are already incredibly stupid. Look around at all the religion, anti-vax, homeopathy, Apple/Bose/Monster Cable, climate change denial, fuel-from-food, evolution denial, so on and so forth…it’s amazing we can even function as a people at all.

  26. Latentius says:

    I’ve really gotta agree with the OP here. I work at a big retailer, and while we can usually look up most old receipts, especially for more expensive items, we still won’t be able to find everything, especially if a customer is giving us incomplete or incorrect information.

    The service is meant to be a courtesy to customers and an aid to employees, but it’s not perfect. However, thanks to policies like Wal-Mart’s, it’s gotten to the point where customers will get irate if we can’t find their receipt. There’s absolutely no sense of personal responsibility anymore. I still ask them if they have their original receipt, but I don’t expect people to have that, and it’s almost shocking when they actually do.

    Curses, Wal-Mart!

  27. StarKillerX says:

    So now the Consumerists posts stories bashing Walmart because their customer service is to good? Really?

    • AstroPig7 says:

      There are two types of customers being described: thieves just trying to run a scam (and can usually get away with it if the store has a liberal return policy), and self-entitled jackasses who are emboldened by the treatment they get elsewhere. Unfortunately, the author of the complaint also missed this point and instead focused their wrath on Wal-Mart itself, which is not the enemy but merely an enabler.

  28. Sarahlara says:

    I had this happen to me 25 years ago when I worked at a shoe store. I don’t think irate or misinformed customers are new, or even Wal-Mart’s fault, much as I generally like to fault Wal-Mart.

  29. Swins says:

    Lets see, in one case Walmart has exceed your customer service policy and now you blame them for making people “stupider”.

    Actually this is a perfect example of why you can’t compete.

  30. waicool says:

    What the OP is explaining can be summed up with the simple phrase “entitlement class”. There are a whole lot of people who think they deserve whatever it is they feel they deserve. These entitlement class heroes identify someone or some organization that “has more” than they do and then hammer them with confrontation until they get their way. The current government administration incubates these kind of people. Walmart has very little to do with it.

    • Kuri says:

      “The current government administration incubates these kind of people.”

      And said people would still be around if it didn’t.

      Plus said programs that get abused, plus the type of people who abuse them, have been around longer than the current administration.

  31. j4bles says:

    > DVD store

    Don’t think your potential customers will have to worry about your policy too much longer….

  32. annelise13 says:

    This man would’ve pitched the same fit at Walmart if this was the exact same situation – they don’t take back things that they don’t sell.

    The fact is, most people have grown to believe that if they chant “the customer is always right” and threaten to go to Walmart, they will frighten the store into doing what they want. Unfortunately all they have to do is get away with it once, or know someone who claims to have, and they will continue to do it for the rest of their lives.

  33. Guppy06 says:

    He volunteers when he bought the item and what for even though you didn’t ask? He was trying to flood you with useless information to keep you disoriented.

    You pointed out that you don’t even sell the item and he “went off on a tangent?” “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

    He went to the cash register to make as much of a nuisance of himself as possible? “Pay me and I’ll go away.”

    He wasn’t stupid, he was a con artist trying to catch you in return fraud. The air of stupidity is part of the game; getting you to assume that he has no idea what he’s doing keeps you from thinking about the situation too much. It’s about making sure you only respond emotionally rather than rationally.

    I suspect that, if you told him that you would need to see his driver’s license and to write down his name and address in order to allow a return without a receipt, he’d have either conveniently lost it along with the receipt, or suddenly remember where he “really” bought it and left in a hurry.

  34. A.Mercer says:

    From my days working in fast food, when a customer trots our the phrase “The customer is always right” is when the customer knows that they are completely in the wrong.

  35. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Figured I may as well type out the “Walmart Effect” that I’ve done once or twice here…from previous jobs I’ve had lots of contact with companies that are suppliers to Walmart. Here’s how Walmart has become a major dragging force on American society:

    1. You have a small company and you make widgets. You make a high quality product and you’re making money, but you’re not exactly Proctor & Gamble.

    2. Walmart calls up – says they like your product and they want to purchase half of your production. You have a big a$$ party and start shipping to Walmart.

    2a. You and your employees start occasionally shopping at Walmart…just seems polite, seeing how as they’re your biggest customer now.

    3. After a while, Walmart calls up again. They want 70% of your production, but they’re going to need a better discount. You say “no problem” and slice a few % points off…and hey, they’re buying 70% of our production now, so no big deal.

    3a. You and your employees slowly start to shop at Walmart more regularly. You know, their prices are cheaper most of the time…

    4. A while later, Walmart rings. Now they want 80% of your production, and a bigger discount. You look around, cut some corners on the product, cut wages, hours, and benefits…everybody takes a hit. But hey…you’re selling everything you make, so it’s all good, right?

    4a. You and your employees are shopping at Walmart more than any other store. Those rollback prices are great! And all your employees really need to stretch their dollars now…

    5. Walmart calls again. They want 90% of your capacity, but they’re demanding another big cut in cost. You balk, telling them that you’re stretched as thin as it can get…Walmart informs you that you can either accept their offer, or they can buy their widgets someplace else – and if Walmart suddenly stopped buying 80% of your production, you’d be bankrupt in a week. Now you have 2 choices: you can either tell Walmart to stuff it, and effectively shutter the business…or you can find a way to capitulate to their demands and keep the company alive.

    5a. You elect to keep the company alive…by shifting all manufacturing to China/Mexico/Korea/wherever. All your employees get fired except for administrative staff. Tough decision to make, but it’s a global economy, right? It’s just the way it goes.

    5b. All your former employees shop exclusively at Walmart now. With foodstamps.

    …now having said that, as we all know economics dictates that we should be letting that kind of basic assembly line work go anyhow, and move everyone up the career foodchain. But…Walmart does indeed have the effect that I just described, and you can verify that with countless companies across the board. Think about that the next time you see another “Rollback” sign at Walmart…sure, you saved another ten cents on a pack of underwear, but it may also mean that another American factory just got shut down.

    Interestingly, there are some companies that have the balls to stand up to Walmart and tell them to stuff it. Snapper, for example – a long-lived, highly respected lawn mower manufacturer…legendary for it’s reliability. Walmart wanted to sell Snapper-branded mowers…so the head of Snapper went to the Walmart head offices to talk to whatever SVP of Purchasing or whatever it was…and ahead of time, he’d already done the analysis – there was no way they were going to prostitute their product the way they’d have to to be able to sell to Walmart at the price they demanded…so his answer was already “no.”

    He walks into the SVP’s office…to find it populated with leftover odds-and-ends of stuff Walmart carries for office furniture. Including lawn chairs. *That’s* how much Walmart pinches pennies. He politely listens to the SVP’s pitch, and then informs him that, regrettably, Snapper will have to decline their offer, because there’s no way they could meet Walmart’s demands without utterly sacrificing the quality that the Snapper brand was built on. SVP suggests that Snapper could simply re-brand mowers made somewhere in Asia, for exclusive supply to Walmart…and again, Snapper guy refuses – it would ruin the reputation that Snapper has. SVP points out that plenty of other name brands have done so…

    Snapper guy says “I know.” And walks out.

  36. bhr says:

    Anyone find it ironic that the guy quoted in an article about Walmart making people “Stupider” wrote the following “Even tho I been taking?”

  37. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    Well, I used to work video rental, shortly before the studios cut deals with rental companies to restrict rentals to 30 days after the DVD release… I can only imagine things got worse afterwards, considering that people would see signs at Wal-mart telling them to reserve a soon-to-be-released DVD, and then come to us and insist that “Wal-mart has it, you need to rent it to me.”

    Even when we showed them the “upcoming new releases” printout we had, and showed them that the title would be out next month they’ll swear they “Saw it at Wal-mart so you have to have it.”

    I feel bad for the rental store jockeys that had to deal with those same people when the movie was actually up for sale. Because they were precisely the sort to not understand the simple explanation of “I’m sorry, Warner Brothers/Disney/Paramount/Whatever is making us wait 30 days after the DVD release before we can have it available for rent.” :/

  38. El_Fez says:

    Clearly Walmart is making people stupid. Why return a DVD claiming it was from Christmas? Return the DVD claiming it was a Valentines Day gift for your mate. If you’re going to lie, at least use a lie that will get you what you want!


    • Guppy06 says:

      Saying he only bought it ten days ago would have been clever.

      The last thing a con artist wants to do is appear clever.

  39. mbd says:

    Why did he not suggest that he take the item back to Wallmart? In fact, I would have suggested he take his business to Wallmart and never come back.

    We are all assuming that the store has a clearly posted return policy.

    As to the customer who tried to return something the store never sold, if it had been me, I would have explained that to the customer once. Explained the return policy once. If he was still making a scene I would have called the police over the attempted fraud.

  40. jiarby says:

    In 1983 I was working the returns desk at a giraffe-flavored toy store and someone came in to return a Barbie doll with no receipt. I looked the box over and found a price sticker (remember those!) from the toy store in the mall (KB).

    She just didn’t understand that she didn’t buy it from us, and continued to insist that she DID buy it here, even after being shown the mall-store sticker.

    Finally, my mgr says to just take it to get her out of the way.

    • lostdisk says:

      See, that is the problem… People will just take the return at all sorts of stores, because they just want to get the person causing the seen to leave. Because the return was accepted one time at one place, this gives the person the idea that it should be accepted all the time everywhere!

  41. rockelscorcho says:

    Is Wal-Mart making people dumb, or simply, do dumb people tend to shop at Wal-Mart?

  42. hennese says:

    Forgive me if this post was already made… but…. If Walmart takes everythign back without a reciept, why doesn’t this dude just go to walmart and return what he stole..err.. bought to begin with?

    • lostdisk says:

      Because smaller stores then to sell things for more money. If he returns an item to Wally World, he might only get $10 for it, where at a smaller store he would receive $20!

  43. milk says:

    This reminds me of the countless stories my mom has told me over the years as an employee at a grocery store. A customer will complain that Target or Wal-Mart has something cheaper. Obvious solution: go buy it at Target or Wal-Mart then. If you want to make a purchase and not be held responsible to an utterly reasonable return policy, shop at Wal-Mart. Better yet, do what I’ve done in the past: return an item bought elsewhere to Wal-Mart when you lose the receipt.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Returning an item to a store where you didn’t buy it, knowingly, is return fraud. Its unethical and illegal.

  44. JReedNet says:


    Too many grammar and spelling errors — didn’t read

  45. chicagojim says:

    I have a pic I took with my phone that shows a DVD rack at Walmart. Front and center is a DVD with a K-Mart sticker on it. Priceless . . .

  46. FrugalFreak says:

    stupid=failure to be competitive?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Stupid = allowing someone to return an item for refund to your store when they didn’t even purchase it there. Stupid also = not getting that.

  47. Outrun1986 says:

    I don’t see how one store having a better return policy than another is “Walmart is making people stupid”. There are stupid people everywhere. We live in a world where you may get hundreds of paper receipts per month, is it really necessary to save them all? Saving them all can lead to hoarding and clutter. Its your store and you have a right to have any policy you want if it is an independent store. Hopefully those policies are clearly posted. If you are a store owner then you probably don’t want customers like this one anyways, as they aren’t doing your business any good.

  48. pot_roast says:

    Costco must be making people stupider too, because their return policy (also commonly abused) is here all the time.

    Oh wait, but then we couldn’t have another thread bashing Walmart. Herp derp…

  49. Bodger says:

    Idiocy predates Walmart. There are bampots and there always have been and there always will be.

  50. maxamus2 says:

    How is this remotely making people stupid? This may be about the worst article I have ever seen on consumerist. You basically post a rant by an employee that has some bad customers, big deal.

  51. ancientone567 says:

    If you want to return an item without a receipt then you have to say it was a “GIFT”. This is the reason you don’t have a receipt. You also have to make sure Walmart sells that item. Their own store policy states that gifts without receipts will be given store credit. So take your gift card and go crazy! It works every time because it is their store policy. Read the policies and know what you are doing please.

  52. Kuri says:

    Sounds more like an entitlement problem than a Walmart problem.

  53. kataisa says:

    Walmart isn’t making people “stupider”, it’s part of the culture cog that breeds self-entitlement.

  54. DanGarion says:

    Next time just suggest that he take it to Walmart and return it there.

  55. JohnDeere says:

    money makes people evil…..

  56. wwwww says:

    If they customer keep saying that Walmart = no receipts required, just tell the customer to go return the item at Walmart! Problem solved! :O

  57. AngryK9 says:

    Most people are just stupid in general.

  58. xamarshahx says:

    the customer is not always right! i used to laugh when idiots would say that to me.

  59. britswim04 says:

    Wal-Mart has a pretty generous return policy for most retailers. I worked at a Best Buy in Fayetteville, AR (down the street from Wally-HQ in Bentonville) and BBY’s 30 day return policy and restocking fees confused the hell out of people.

  60. hikari07 says:

    While I don’t think Walmart has anything to do with this, I do have to wonder if Walmart themselves is the idiot… I don’t understand why they don’t have the capability to look up your receipt if you present the card it was purchased on. Lowe’s does this. I’m pretty sure Target does too. Implementing a system like this allows for more reciepts matched up with returns… unless they’re doing this to force more usage of store credit.

  61. Sad Sam says:

    Nordstrom also has a very liberal return policy, they handle each return on a case by case basis. I was able to return a mother of pearl ring that I had for several months that ended up cracking. They still carried the ring so they accepted the return and sent me a new one (since the store I was at didn’t have it in stock) and didn’t charge me anything for shipping either.

    Nordstrom also has awesome customer service and helpful/happy people. I had a sales guy running around for me in the shoe dept the other day, b/c I only had about 10 minutes to complete my transaction, I bought two pairs of shoes, the third pair they shipped to me, again at no cost b/c the poor guy couldn’t find the match to one shoe.

  62. DarkPsion says:

    It isn’t just Wal Mart.

    I used to work at a True Value Hardware store.

    Wal Mart’s house brand is “Great Value”.

    I lost count how many time we had to explain to people that you can’t return something you did not buy here. I remember one customer who actually did return an item. The boss tracked them down and told them to come back and get their item and return the refund.

    Another was Ace Hardware products, people would argue that they were the same as True Value because we were both hardware stores.

  63. tmbggirl says:

    Honestly, I don’t have an issue with such a policy. I try to take some personal accountability/responsibility and keep receipts for items I might need to return. I also put gift receipts with items I purchase for gifts whenever possible and give those with the gift, so the recipient will be able to do a smooth return if needed.

    Where I work, we will take back certain items without a receipt, especially if the item is defective. (Defective is easier – we keep the broken item and swap it out for one that isn’t broken). If we know that the item has been on sale, we will refund the sale price to the customer. Without the receipt, we do not know what the orig. price was, and giving full price back in store credit on an item that was bought on sale is *technically* a loss.

    Some items we will not refund at all because it would be a health and safety violation (food, otc medicine), or because they are easily read before returning (magazines).

  64. ecvogel says:

    Customers pull crap no matter what. Did you explain Walmart has a 90-day return policy and with reciept it has to be on the reciept and if no reciept that you have to have the form of payment, and the item has to have been purchased from them? Did you tell the customer it is thier responsibility to educate themselves on the return policy? You seem to be more than far for going over the return policy.

    I was at a Borders and heard a one end convo on the phone, the customer kept trying to trick her to say opened packages can be returned. She kinda did say it but retracted and kept repeating un opened. I later went down stairs and this lady got this employee upset at the registers claiming she called a bit ago and saying someone said opened dvds was ok. I almost opened my mouth to stick up for borders. Maybe next time this happens I will.

  65. Bog says:

    Here’s your sign: “No returns or exachanges without receipts, no execptions.”

  66. raytube says:

    They don’t put movies for smart people in those $5 bins!

  67. LabGnome says:

    It might not be stupidity though. Some people abuse Walmart’s return policy on purpose by returning items they did not actually purchase.

    I have had ‘friends’ return gifts they did not like for example to Walmart with no receipt just because they would rather have the money or credit. Had a friend that got 5 extra of an item (and was not charged for it) through the online store and they ‘returned’ the extras for credit (after they told him to keep it when he asked if he should send it back).

    So, maybe unethical but not stupid generally. Now in this example, getting angry because another store won’t do it? Yeah, I would call that stupid.

  68. soj4life says:

    Walmart is not making people idiots, it only attracts them.

  69. Anna Kossua says:

    This guy is wrong to blame Walmart. He’s also wrong to think the customer is stupid; he’s trying to rip off the store. He is right, though, that he shouldn’t have to accept the return, especially when they don’t even sell that item. I was kinda hoping he was going to say “but sir, we’re a DVD shop. You’re trying to return a canned ham.”

    I’m glad Walmart has that liberal return policy. The electronics they sell tend to break WAY more frequently than other stores, in my experience. I’ve bought and returned about 5 or 6 coffee choppers, a couple of cameras, blenders, and laptop cooling pads. Most failed within a period of a day to 3 or 4 months later.

    Electronics I’ve purchased at Target hold up much better. However, after spending about $75 on one from Target that failed after the 30-day return window, I’d rather gamble with Walmart, knowing I can return it instead of being stuck.

  70. apember says:

    I do not know this for sure, but I suspect that the reason that Walmart has such liberal return policy is because Walmart is going to charge the cost back to its vendor. I have heard that Walmart will even require vendors to issue credits for items that came from a different vendor. Large stores such as Walmart and Home Depot have tremendous power over their vendors. If a vendor does not like the way they are treated by the super stores, the super store will just find a more compliment vendor. With a situation like this, why shouldn’t Walmart be willing to take anything back.

  71. oops says:

    I guess I just don’t understand why so many people dislike Walmart. If you’re one of them, just don’t go there. Personally I like that I can shop at one store and get most everything I want in one place, and generally at a good price and quality.
    In my opinion, I feel that in most ways Walmart gets it right. Good price, good quality and good service. If Walmart feels that taking returns without a receipt is fair, it must be, or else they obviously wouldn’t do it, and they’d be out of business like so many others that haven’t treated their customers right.

  72. oops says:

    I guess I just don’t understand why so many people dislike Walmart. If you’re one of them, just don’t go there. Personally I like that I can shop at one store and get most everything I want in one place, and generally at a good price and quality.
    In my opinion, I feel that in most ways Walmart gets it right. Good price, good quality and good service. If Walmart feels that taking returns without a receipt is fair, it must be, or else they obviously wouldn’t do it, and they’d be out of business like so many others that haven’t treated their customers right.

  73. darthwaveous says:

    My guess the OP is someone who doesn’t speak English as their primary language. The point they are trying to make is valid too bad the grammar took away from the actual message.

    I always thought that was a dumb business policy that actually encourages shoplifting. A friend who is a police officer told me drug addicts often boosted items from Walmart and other retail chains and easily took them back to Walmart to get a cash refund.

  74. Mr. Kelly R. Flewin says:

    What boggles my mind is that they permit returns. Now if it was UNOPENED with a reciept, that is different. If not, I’d say hell ^$#% no, because where’s the proof you didn’t just make a copy of that disc and want to return it. That very reason is why every game store and shop does NOT take returns. Hell, Even WAL-MART has it clearly listed they don’t do returns on electronics that are opened and even then, it’s 14 days with reciept only.

    Listed 4 times at the Customer Service desk… even in huge block letters to boot.

    • chelan78 says:

      There could be a clear policy that says, “If it has been opened and you want to return it, you must show that it was somehow defective before you opened it. Receipt or not, within 14 days or not, we have no legal obligation to accept any returns for non-defective merchandise. We accept unopened merchandise as a courtesy only and reserve the right to charge a re-stocking fee.”