Musing on food and cooking ...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why Do You Need to Know? Or: Heather Continues Her Crusade Against Idiocy in Retail

So, Friday night, I had to return a couple of items of clothing I purchased that I had decided I didn't like. All of them were brand new and still had tags attached. I still had the receipt. They had been purchased less than seven days before. Should be no problem, right.


My first transaction went well. I needed to return a pair of women's Dockers to Marshalls, as they had been marked incorrectly on the size. I went to the line, waited not three minutes, and the very helpful sales clerk offered me cash, although I had paid with my debit card. Afterwards, I tooteled around the store, picked up a hunting-cabin-warming gift for mia madre and a bottle of snooty BBQ sauce that looked interesting, and went off to my next return.

I drove down the street to the Avenue, where the woman at the counter said to me, in a snotty voice, "You have a return?" Yes, please. I was still in a good mood from my Marshall's visit. In fact, I was feeling disgustingly cooperative. She yells loudly to another clerk, "I got a return!" Ok. The other young clerk comes over to take care of my transaction. Her first words? "I need your phone number." Um, why? "The computer says I need your phone number in case corporate needs to call you to see if this is really a return." Um, the product is right here. I am returning it. Ergo, is it not a real return? "I have to have your phone number." Well, I don't want to give you my phone number. I don't want to be put on some telemarketer's list. The clerk calls the manager. "This lady won't give her phone number." I explain to the manager that too many times companies like the Avenue have said they needed my phone number only to sell it to telemarketers and that I chose not to provide my phone number to anyone except close friends and family and my employer and my doctor. "Well, we need something so that if corporate has any questions about our performance they can contact you." Now I feel this is a line of bullshit, but I give them my work number because otherwise, we are just not moving forward toward getting me back my $30. Then:

"Ma'am, I need your home address."

Excuse fucking me? You do not need my home address for me to return an unworn garmet with receipt and original tags still attached.

"I am sorry. I do not wish to provide you with my home address. I don't want my home address sold to junk mail outlets and I especially do not want you to have my home address stored in your computers in conjunction with my credit card information. I was the victim of similar practices at TJX and DSW. Then they got hacked, and it cost me a lot of money and time to get my identity back and repair my credit."

"Well, ma'am, I am afraid that we will not refund your money unless you give us this information."

Now, nowhere in the store is this information posted. No where does it say that if you want to return an item, you must provide all sorts of personal information just to get your money back. No where. It doesn't say this on the receipt either.

So I was left with a choice. Give them my personal info to get my money back or walk away from the money and suck it up. Sadly, I needed the damn money.

I gave her an old address. I knew it was all a damn ploy to get my email so they could send me crap and sell my address, because I heard the manager say to the clerk, "Just keep hitting no. Make sure you hit no, or she will get mail." I informed the manager that I would never shop at Avenue again, and would inform everyone else.

Sadly, however, the Avenue is not the only retailer who is behaving in idiotic ways. I recently attempted to make a purchase at a TJ Maxx where the sales clerk refused to ring up my purchases unless I gave him my telephone number. I dropped over $100 worth of merchandise on his counter and walked out the door. The manager was about having a fit. The same thing when I went to the grocery store and was about to sign up for one of those grocery savings cards. Those dorks wanted to photocopy my driver's license. Photocopy my driver's license! So I could get 10 ears of corn for a dollar! Um, hell no!

So, retailers. Heads up. YOU DO NOT NEED THIS INFORMATION. You need my money, and if you continue to act like this, you aren't going to get it anymore.

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