It’s Dec. 27. The official day for returning Christmas gifts that were problematic. If you’re a shopping amateur you might be thinking, “Hey, why isn’t Dec. 26 the big return day?”
It’s a very good question and it makes sense. After all, the stores are open and you’ve already been cooped up with your family for 24 hours, so wanting to flee your house with the excuse that you have returns to do seems logical.
But, any experienced shopper will say that there is a grace period between receiving a gift and returning it. Not only do you need time to digest the return — will it hurt the gift-giver’s feelings and, if so, is it worth hurting their feelings? — but also it’s best practice to wait a full 48 hours, giving the relative that gave you the gift time to head home, before you gleefully make the return.
I’d like to state right now that I hate returning anything. It’s not only a hassle, but it seems to bring out the personality flaws in not just me, but in mankind. The worst are the people who fall into these three categories: the debater, the clueless and the gift grifter.
As my last public service for 2017, I will do my best to profile these people for you, so you can avoid any line that seems to be inhabited by these returning renegades.
The Debater: This breed of returner is the reason the line at Best Buy is stretching into the parking lot. The debater’s Q&A with the cashier is a black hole of minutiae.
We get it. Your main thrill in life is hearing your own voice dispute rational thought. And there’s no better place to show off that you think you’re a genius than in the return line at a retail store. Because nothing says, “I’m a member of MENSA” than challenging store policy due to how you feel a misplaced comma on the store’s website means the return policy is now open to interpretation.
The Intentionally Clueless: Really, you’ve made it to the year 2017 without realizing that the barcode of the item you’re returning lets the store know if it did indeed, come from their chain of retail outlets?
The cashier is not trying to rip you off. The barcode doesn’t lie. Accept the fact that the gift you got wasn’t from Target and that you’re now going to have to endure the pain and suffering associated with having to do a return at Walmart.
The Grifter: We’ve all been in line behind this super sketchy person. There’s nobody who works a return like a gift grifter.
They always want cash back for full retail value. Never mind that the item has been on the clearance aisle since Halloween. They swear they got it before then except they’re lacking any sort of gift receipt.
The grifter also can get very animated and segue into scary town when denied for what he or she is asking.
You know a grifter is a professional when they try to return a gift card for its dollar value. It’s like a car accident on the highway.
You don’t want to watch what’s going down, but you find that you can’t take your eyes off the action. I find this drama usually ends with a call to the manager and security.
Now go forth returners. You’re armed with knowledge that will hopefully not only up your returning game, but expedite it.