I am against paying retail. Hence my motto, “Friends don’t let friends pay retail.”
However, sometimes even I have to go to a store and purchase something new. Hey, it happens to the best of us.
Let me assure you that when I do this deed I also ENSURE that I know the store return policy and keep my receipt, packaging and tags. If I am not 100% satisfied with my purchase, I return it.
I am amazed how many times I see items at yard sales, thrift shops and swaps that are brand new with their tags still attached. I always wonder about the economic condition of the seller. Are they wildly wealthy? Did they lose the receipt and figured they couldn’t get their money back? Or did they think it wasn’t worth the trouble?
I doubt anyone that is wildly wealthy is reading my blog (but if you are and want to make a donation to me, I am a willing recipient.) As far as returning items without a receipt; many stores will give you store credit if you speak kindly and carry a big smile.
It’s the idea that it is too much trouble to return an item that I want to address here. Part of being a bargainista and living debt-free is being willing to go to some trouble. One of the fastest ways to ruin your budget is to buy things that are convenient. You can pay four times the normal price for carrots that are peeled and cut. Is it REALLY that much trouble to cut up carrots?
So, yes, you DO have to go to some trouble to return things, but here are some tips to make it easier.
- If you know from the start that you are buying an item that you might want to return, purchase it from a store that has a great return policy and is close to you. For instance, when I purchased a portable air conditioner, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work well in my space. I bought it from a Costco store that was only a few miles away instead of buying it online or at a Sears across town.
- If you are unsure about an item at the time of purchase, make a notation on the receipt of the item you just bought. Write “red striped blouse” or some other description on the receipt so that you can easily identify it. When you take off the tags, tape them onto the receipt in case you need to return the item. For an item that came in a box (like a printer or vacuum) tape the receipt to the manual and warranty information. Hold on to the box for at least the length of the store return policy. Each store is different, so you have to check. It is usually noted on the receipt.
- Keep a box or bag in your car with items you want to return so when you find yourself a few blocks from where you purchased your unwanted or unworking item, you will have it in the car along with the receipt. This way you don’t have to take a special trip to the store just to make the return or exchange.
If all of this is still too much trouble for you, then drop your item off at the nearest thrift shop (get a receipt for tax purposes) and some lucky bargain hunter will find it and wonder about why the previous owner didn’t return it. Oh, life is a circle.
What is your personal return policy?