As a busy wife and mom, I, of course, want the things that I buy to work the first time (or in the case of perishables not go bad right away). A lot of times, I actually NEED these things to work. That’s why it is so frustrating to buy an item, get it home, and realize that it doesn’t work or that it’s already bad. I NEVER want to turn around and go right back to the store. Once I come home from an outing, I actually don’t want to go out for a few days because usually my outings are purposeful and involve going to multiple places already. When I am done, I want to stay done for a while!
Are there times that you just feel like it’s not worth bringing something back to the store? There are plenty of times that I have felt that. Like right now I have expensive raw milk cheese that was moldy when I bought it a few weeks ago, and I still haven’t returned it. The co-op is just too far away from me to justify going back for that one thing. I just keep cutting the mold off and eating the cheese, so now I won’t return it. Or the Himalayan Pink Salt Grinder we got at Costco that cracked within the first few weeks we bought it. The grinder is functional, and we are still using it months later, but I probably should have just returned it right away.
Neither of those items is a big deal, and I am not going to return them, but good stewardship sometimes requires that I return an item. Sometimes we buy an item and it works for a few months, and then stops working. Then it’s time to go search for the receipt and make sure we are still within the time frame of returns. But after making the return, it always seems worth it.
Good companies don’t want their name to have a black mark on it, though, and it is our job to tell companies when they sell a product that isn’t living up to its claim. When I have had issues, I have been pleased with the companies I’ve contacted and felt like they have worked with me.
Last fall I called the hair product company, Goody, because I had purchased a few hair clips that were made from cheap plastic and broke within the first few weeks of owning them. I knew the quality wasn’t the same anymore because I had some hair clips from college and possibly high school that finally broke. I didn’t wear them every day, but I wore them frequently over the years. That demonstrates quality since they lasted over a decade or really closer to two decades. Anyway, all I knew is that my old clips lasted a long time, and these new ones didn’t. I called the company and got a hold of them right away. I told them what happened and how I thought the quality of plastic they used is now cheaper, using more fillers. They got my name and address. They asked me to send pictures of my broken clips. I didn’t know what Goody was going to do, but four days later in the mail I got a set of three great quality hair clips.
I thought Goody did a great, prompt job of resolving my issue. I just hope they will up the quality of their plastic for all of their goods. And it took less than ten minutes to call them and send the pictures!
We have a much bigger return to share with you. When we had our second child, our youth ministry blessed us with a baby shower and a monetary gift to buy a double jogger stroller. I picked out an expensive, low-end jogger stroller (if that makes sense) at the time since I knew I would use it a lot, and the stroller served my family well.
After about three and a half years of aggressive (but not abusive) use, my Schwinn Double Jogger broke, and my jogger wouldn’t fold up and collapse anymore. I thought I would call the company to try to buy some parts from them. When I called the company I was pleasantly surprised to learn the jogger was under a five-year warranty; I just needed to send pictures of a destroyed jogger stroller, and they would send me a brand new stroller. AMAZING!!
It was weird though. Jonathan took a saw to the stroller. Talk about weird! He felt like a mafia hit man sending the Polaroids of a completed job. Strange!! It felt odd seeing my jogger destroyed, being without a stroller for a week and wondering if they were really going to send me a new stroller, but they did. They lived up to their word!Almost a year later I actually had to call Schwinn again for a broken plastic part that also helped it collapse. I really didn’t want to get another brand new stroller (because I didn’t want to get out of my groove), but they told us to destroy the stroller again, send new pictures, and they sent us another jogger stroller. In about a week we had a new jogger stroller. Needless to say, we got our money’s worth out of that stroller. We literally got three for the price of one! I am really glad I made the calls.
Of the food items I have returned, the only produce that I can think of bringing back to a store were strawberries (a few times) and Organic Spring Greens once, both from Costco. And I only returned the strawberries when they were greatly molding the next day, even after being refrigerated. When I buy strawberries, I always expect to find at least one bad one in the bunch. That’s completely normal. But if I am going to pay $6-8 for the Costco 4 lb. pack of strawberries, I want the family to get more than a day out of them. The Costco 4 lb. pack of strawberries usually lasts about two days, but if we can’t even make it to day two, then we have a problem. So back to Costco I went. I have never had problems returning produce to Costco, and I almost never bring a receipt to Costco since they can find the item purchased by using my card. Bringing the receipt does make it easier and more efficient for Costco to make the return, though. As far as the Organic Spring Greens go, sometimes I just get tired of having a few wilted molding pieces of lettuce ruining the whole bunch.
Jonathan tells me that we have also returned yogurt to Safeway that molded well ahead of the “use-by” date, as well as a chicken fryer that smelled funky, also well ahead of the “use-or-freeze-by” date. In both cases Safeway was very cooperative.
I want to clarify that I am in no way saying you should take advantage of a store’s grace and keep returning item after item for no good reason. And people remember you, too. I worked at Kmart at the customer service desk before, and believe me, people remember you. Almost twenty years later I still remember someone bringing in a VERY nasty bra, that had obviously been used for months and maybe even years. Please don’t bring items back to stores with normal wear and tear.
Returning faulty merchandise provides companies and stores valuable consumer feedback on the quality of their goods. It also helps you get a better product while making better use of your money. In most situations returning broken merchandise is exercising good stewardship of what you have.
Have you had good experiences returning faulty merchandise? Do you only return really big items? Have you had some bad instances returning items?
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