Unfiltered Story #183948

, , , | Unfiltered | January 23, 2020

At the time of this story I had worked for this company for about 7 years. In that time many things had changed, including the style of sticker we used on our paint cans to show what type of tint had been used in it and how much. When I first started in 2006 the stickers were square, but they had changed (I think in 2009) to round ones, and this situation takes place in 2013. A woman walked in to the returns counter with two 5 gallon buckets of deck and fence stain (totaling about $200) that had clearly been tinted (which we don’t take back anyway unless we made a mistake with the color), and it had square labels.

Me: “Welcome to [Store Name], how may I help you?”

Customer: “I bought this stain, but I got too much and I need to return it.”

Me: “When did you purchase it?”

Customer: “Oh, a couple of months ago. I know I won’t be able to get cash, but could I get store credit?”

(Big red scam flag.)

Me: “Well ma’am, since we haven’t used square stickers since about 2009, it’s extremely improbable that you bought it a couple of months ago. Also, I’m terribly sorry but we don’t take back tinted products anyway unless there’s something wrong with the color.”

Customer: “The color was wrong, I just didn’t have time to come back in until today.”

(HUGE red scam flag.)

Me: (After checking the stickers to make sure they didn’t happen to be leftover from when we *did* use square ones and seeing the date they were tinted) “Ma’am the date on this sticker is from 2008, that was 5 years ago. Even if we did make a mistake back then, it’s not possible for us to refund you or replace it now.”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just take it from me and sell it to someone, or give it away, or dispose of it? I just need to get rid of it.”

(There isn’t a flag big enough or red enough to convey that she’s attempting to pull *some* sort of scam, so I thought “Yeah right, and open ourselves up to you being able to accuse us of ‘stealing’ your stain? No thank you.” But what I actually said was:)

Me: “Unfortunately ma’am we can’t sell it or give it away to anyone because we have no idea what the chemical composition would be like by now. We also can’t dispose of it for you because stain is classified as a hazardous material, and we can’t accept anything hazmat that isn’t already considered part of our inventory.”

(This wasn’t *exactly* the truth, since we constantly accepted things like burnt out fluorescent bulbs or empty spray paint cans from customers as we’d much rather pay to dispose of it for them than get fined if the EPA found those things in our dumpster, but at least she left without any fuss! We made sure she had help loading her car back up too, because we also didn’t want her abandoning the stain in the parking lot and using that as a method to accuse us of ‘stealing’ it from her.)