A Proud Moment to End 2011

31 Dec

Today, I end 2011 with a great sense of accomplishment.

When Grant and I registered for our wedding gifts, we chose, Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table and Restoration Hardware. Inevitably, we received duplicated gifts from everything except Williams-Sonoma (whose gift registry is fantastic, by the way).

With only 2 days left in California, without plans of returning for who knows how long, we decided that it would be best to return many of our gifts, so we could re-purchase them in AR, saving us from having to ship items that came to the wedding. After all, all of the gifts that came to the wedding, have been sitting in a storage unit anyway.

Packed up and ready to go on a reverse spending bender, I parked and walked up to Restoration Hardware’s amazing new Beverly store. A nice guy helped me into the store and after meaningless chatter, helped me with my return. He was really nice, and eventually handed me my store credit receipt. At the bottom of the receipt, I noticed a 20% return fee which took off $50 from my return.

Now, please understand that we ONLY returned these items, so we could re-buy them closer to home. This is not out of being ungrateful or disregarding of what people purchased for us, rather, it’s just the opposite. We want to be able to enjoy our gifts without having to ship them back home, incurring extra expenses.

So, back to the story… Apparently, at Restoration Hardware, there’s a 20% return fee, if the item you’re returning doesn’t have a receipt. At both Williams-Sonoma AND Sur la Table, they were able to look up the registry, and verify the price of the item at the time of purchase, so we were able to receive credit for the entire amount our friends and family paid. Not the case at the sophisticated and trend-setting Restoration Hardware (sarcasm greatly implied). I sank as he told me, thinking of the great importance for me to always include a gift receipt for weddings in the future; an expensive lesson learned.

I headed back to my car, tail between my legs, thinking and thinking and trying not to obsess, but being really bummed out! I just couldn’t believe that they didn’t have a more sophisticated way to handle their business when it comes to returned items from someone’s wedding.

That was when it hit me. There was a hand-towel AND a bath mat completely missing from the return receipt, which totaled over $115! I immediately went back inside and talked to the original guy who helped me. He apologized over and over, but ultimately, it was STILL going to cost me 20% of the total to get the credit back.

Here’s were the magic happened. I decided that after a mistake of that caliber, I had the right as a purchaser and as a bride, to want the full price for what was gifted to us, so I could re-buy all of the items without having to reach into our pockets. And I did.

After kindly speaking with 2 managers, requesting corporate information and the name of the guy who was helping me and the names of the managers, they finally agreed to return the full amount via store credit. That said, I maintained full awareness that the people helping me were not the ones to make up the rules and I made sure that they knew that I wasn’t angry with them. I also shared that I understood the realm of customer service, but that I was a consumer fighting for the right to keep what was given to me.

Here are my lessons learned: 

1. Always give a gift receipt with your gift, as you never can fully understand what people’s needs are going to be, or who may have purchased the same item without indicating it on the registry.

2. Always be kind to people in retail. You can demean, or insult, or be an outright bitch to people, but they will always have the right to stick to policy and not help you in return for your bad attitude. Being kind and understanding, while maintaining your position, helps people to help you, without resentment or frustration.

In total, I originally left the store with $189 in store credit. The second time around, I left with $365. That’s a HUGE difference and all because, for the first time ever, I abandoned my fear of judgement and kindly requested what I deserved.

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One Response to “A Proud Moment to End 2011”

  1. Granty December 31, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Nice!

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