The Nightmare Immediately After Halloween

, , , , | Right | November 14, 2017

(I work at a seasonal pop-up store that sells Halloween decor and costumes. Because we don’t want everyone to return their costumes right after their parties, we only accept returns up until the 20th of October and exchanges up until Halloween. However, managers can override the return policy at their discretion, such as if an item was marked down for damage, or the customer was being super nice. An older woman walks in.)

Customer #1: “Hello, I’d like to return this costume. I bought it for my granddaughter and it didn’t fit her.” *the costume she bought was $45*

Assistant Manager: “We can’t do returns, only exchanges. We do have that costume in a larger size if you’d like to exchange it.”

Customer #1: “No, I want to return it. Why can’t you do it?”

Assistant Manager: “Well, as it says on your receipt—” *she picks up the receipt and points right under our logo* “—we can only process exchanges past the 20th. It’s the 26th.”

Customer #1: “Well, I didn’t see that.”

Assistant Manager: *points to a placard on the register* “It’s also posted at all three registers.”

Customer #1: “You really can’t do a return? I need a return.”

Assistant Manager: “Sorry, we can’t.”

Customer #1: *looks to me, a lowly minimum wage cashier, for pity*

Me: “Sorry, all we can do is exchanges. Why don’t you look around the store and see if there’s something else you want?”

Customer #1: “No, I want my money back.”

(The customer huffs, shoves the costume back in her bag, and walks out. This part of the story is pretty normal, as people come in ALL the time trying to return things. The story gets a little more interesting though when another customer comes in… with the same costume and goal.)

Customer #2: “My wife came in and purchased this lovely, lovely costume for our granddaughter. And sadly, it didn’t fit at all. So, I want our money back.”

Assistant Manager: *once again goes over our policy, slowly and in detail*

Customer #2: “I don’t care. Give me my money back.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, we can’t. Like she said, our policy states—”

Customer #2: “I don’t give a d*** what your policy states. I. Want. My. Money. Back.”

Me: “We can only do exchanges, not returns. You can buy anything of equal or greater value in the store and get what you paid taken off.”

Customer #2: “I want my money back. It’s illegal not to give me my money back. I ought to call the police; it’s illegal to do this. I want to speak to a manager.”

Me: “Certainly, sir, I’ll page her right now.” *I pull out my walkie* “Could I get [District Manager] to the front, please?”

Customer #2: “That better be the d***ed manager. I don’t want another cashier telling me I can’t have my money back!”

Me: “She’s the district manager, sir.”

Customer #2: “Good. She’ll give me my d***ed money back.”

District Manager: *with the store manager in tow* “What’s up?”

Customer #2: *points a finger at both myself and the assistant manager, recounting his story and demanding his money back, again*

District Manager: *explains the store policy to him a third time*

Customer #2: “You cannot do that. It’s illegal to keep my money when I want it back. How about I call the cops right now?”

District Manager: *without missing a beat* “You go right ahead and do that. Our policy—”

Customer #2: *pulls out his cell-phone* “I’m calling the police. Your policy is illegal.”

District Manager: “All I ask is you step aside so [My Name] can ring up other customers.”

([Customer #2] obliges, grabbing his costume and walking outside to, I assume, get better reception and wait for the police. We never find out what the police think of our “illegal” practices though, because the next time we look outside he and his wife have disappeared.)

District Manager: “You know, I would have given him his return just to get him out of the store until he threatened to call the cops.”

Me: “You have more patience than I do, because the first time he threatened that I was going to tell him I was refusing him service and he was trespassing on private property.”

(The kicker? He left his receipt, meaning that if he came back or went to the store across town that’s in our chain, he couldn’t get an exchange or return at all. I wonder if that policy is illegal, too.)

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