Confessions by YOU, that is :) And, well, maybe a little from me too…
My dear friend and blogger across the pond, Skint in The City, wrote a post recently on people who return clothes after they’ve worn them (25% of Britons, if you can imagine that!) and I thought it would be interesting to see how we fare here in the U.S. with it. A real-life poll by some of the best real-life people on this Earth – you guys ;) Who needs scientific polls around here??
So I’m going to ask you 2 questions now, and your job is to answer them as REAL and HONESTLY as you can. Even if it means swapping your name with the infamous “anonymous” ;)
Here they are:
- Have you ever worn clothes/accessories/bags and then returned them?
- Do you think it’s in bad taste to do so?
Remember, be honest ;) And of course it wouldn’t be fair for me to make you guys do this without doing it myself, so I’ll start this little game here…
Have I ever worn clothes/etc and then returned them –> yes. A few times when I was young (see below), but now only when I realized they didn’t fit right or had holes in them or something else that I didn’t know prior to purchasing them. I don’t ever buy something with the intention of wearing it out and then returning it later. Even though it is fun to think about, as most frugal people will attest to ;)
Do I think it’s in bad form to do this? Yes. Only one person gets anything out of this (the “shopper”), and it only screws over the company. The company, mind you, that you happen to like if you’re wanting to rock out their stuff on the town! Now it’s not even close to being as bad as actually *stealing* the item from the store, of course – more like shadily renting? – but you wouldn’t want it dug up the next time you run for office anytime soon… Which I’m sure you deal with on the regular ;)
Going down memory lane…
This reminds me of a time I still feel bad about years ago during my college days. I needed a new stereo cuz my old one had broken and we were set to throw a couple killer parties over the next few months (this was back before the invention of the iPod, mind you), so I headed out to Walmart and picked up the best one I could afford under my budget. Which, looking back, was funny because a) I didn’t have a budget back then! And b) I paid 50% more than I had wanted – $75.00 instead of $50.00. I never said I was good at money my ENTIRE life :)
Anyways, I found the one that gave us the best chance of
picking up girls throwing a great dance party, and went on my way expecting everything to work out just fine. And it did, for exactly 88 days.
Then I completely ran out of money, couldn’t pick up any extra hours at my TWO side jobs (I was always a hustler, but rarely a saver), and was scared out of my boots to report home and ask the Bank of Mom and Dad to cover me for the rest of the month. So I sat there on my bed racking my brain for a way to come up with $50, and right there across the room from me was that beast of a machine we called my stereo staring back. You now, those chromed-out, 5 cd-changer, big honkin’ pieces of plastic with 18 subwoofers popping out all alien-like type ones? They were never pretty, but they sure did the trick.
An idea then hit me like a lightning bolt. How long ago did I pick up that thing? Is it possible that I could still return it and get my $75 back?? I rushed around like a mad man hunting for my receipt – flipping beer cups and pushing half-written essays around (we did have computers back then – I’m not THAT old – but some of my teachers preferred we sketched them out first by hand to get the creative juices flowing), and lo and behind I found that magical piece of paper! It had been exactly 88 days since the purchase, with a return-policy of 90 days for all electronics. Whew.
I jumped in my zebra-painted ride (true story), hauled it back to Walmart, blew the dust off and rubbed it down for approximately 15 seconds, and made my way through the customer service line. I felt like the smartest person around!!
Until I got to the manager behind the register…
I explained as much of the situation as I could without getting myself into trouble (“I really liked it, but I need the money,” “I’ll come back later and buy it again, I promise”), and the guy just stared back in both disbelief and – quite frankly – utter disgust.
“Are you kidding me?”
(My face turns red)
“You’ve been USING this for almost 3 whole months now, and you now want to give it back? Because you made a wrong decision?”
“Forget it… mumble mumble….ridiculous college kids…. mumble mumble…”
“Here’s your gift card – go nuts.”
I felt like the biggest asshole in the world. Everything he said was true. I DID use it for all those months. I DID make a bad decision. I WAS a ridiculous college student!! What was wrong with me??
As small and insignificant as that event was, it’s quite obviously stuck with me all these years later. I wasn’t proud of what I did – even though I laughed and told all my friends how creative I was at the time (dummy) – but I definitely learned my lesson. Which, rather simply, was this: “Don’t take advantage of policies when it screws people over.” The “people” in this case, being Walmart. There was no way they were going to be able to turn around and sell that thing – it was clearly worn.
Whew… Guess that story was just bubbling to come out :) An extreme measure of using stuff and then returning it later of course – and I doubt it would work nowadays with companies being smarter and changing rules all around – but still. The point is, doing this stuff doesn’t help anyone except yourself. Do I still buy things and return them? All the time. But I don’t *go into it* with the plan of coming back later and returning stuff after getting what I needed from it. For what it’s worth…
But enough about me. What do YOU guys say about this? Have you ever intentionally bought stuff and then returned them? Please leave your thoughts below either way so we can read the different perspectives out there. I won’t judge you at all, I promise :) My hands are still dirty!
Happy Friday, y’all.
PS: Thanks again to Skint in The City for awaking my brain today. I need a good reminder of my dumb self every now and then ;)
[Photo by 2Stef27]
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!