Don’t Sweat The Sweater, Part 3

, , , | Right | December 19, 2017

(A national chain of department stores has moved into our area, and rather than building new stores, they purchased a regional chain and converted them over to the new brand. I begin working at the new store shortly after the change-over. In order to encourage the old store’s customers to shop in the new store, the return policy has been extended out so that customers who made purchases at the old store may return them to the new store up to a year later, even if the new store does not carry that item. Several years after the change-over, I am working in the misses’ department when I am approached by a lovely elderly lady.)

Elderly Lady: “Hello, I purchased this sweater at [Old Store] three years ago and never wore it. It still has the original tag. I bought it to wear someplace special, but then I got cancer, and almost died. I spent months in the hospital and never wore the sweater. May I return it?”

(This is far outside of that return policy, but the customer has been pleasant, and I want to help her out. I cannot process this kind of return myself, so I call a manager over. The elderly woman repeats her story about having cancer and almost dying, and wanting to return the sweater that she never wore.)

Manager: “I see the original tag here, and it doesn’t look worn. This is very much outside of our return policy, but I may be able to help you out.”

Elderly Lady: “Oh, bless you both! Thank you. You’re so kind! “

Manager: “Unfortunately, because this item is not in our system, and because we don’t carry this brand, about the best that I can do in this situation is look for a similar item on the clearance rack, and use that tag to make the return.”

Elderly Lady: “Oh, that’s fine, dear! Whatever you need to do. I’m just so glad that you could take it back. I bought it before I got cancer, and then I almost died, so I was never able to wear it.”

(The manager scans the tag of another, similar sweater from the clearance rack. The elderly lady continues on about her cancer, and how nice we are for taking the sweater back from her.)

Manager: *setting up the return in the register* “Okay, we’re all set here, and I can return the sweater and give you back $8.”

(The swiftness with which the customer goes from thanking us profusely to screaming at us is astounding.)

Elderly Lady: “WHAT?! What do you mean, you’ll only give me $8? This is an expensive sweater, young lady! Do you see what it says on that tag? It says $80!”

Manager: “Yes, ma’am. But as I’ve said, I had to get another item from the clearance rack to return that sweater, which was bought three years ago, from a store that no longer exists. Our return policy for [Old Store] merchandise only extended for one year after the change-over, and in cases where the item is no longer in the system, the policy is to get a similar item from clearance and use that barcode to help determine the return price. $8 is all that I can offer you.”

(The customer snatches the sweater back from the manager.)

Elderly Lady: “NO! This was an expensive sweater! I’m not taking $8 for it. I’ll give it as a gift to a friend!”

(We watched as she stalked back out of the store.)

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