First of all, no matter how well meant family and friends are there are many gifts that are well intentioned but just not items you need, use, want or like. You don’t need to let the giver know this. You can still be a gracious recipient. Smile, accept the gift, admire it and move on. Just to be on the safe side, do not rip through packages. Try to preserve the original packaging whatever it may be. If you are on very good terms with the giver you may ask for a receipt. I try to keep receipts just in case my family or friends are not in need of whatever I felt would just suit them to a tee.
No matter how hard you shopped for something, it may be broken, it may be missing a part, it may not be the right size, it may not co ordinate with the recipients decor and so on. I know someone who used to say “You have to like it to give it”. No, you have to try and make sure the person receiving the gift will like it. unless you know you share the exact same taste in items.
All that being said there are ways to return items. I suggest returning an item as soon as possible. The longer an item is out of the store the less likely it will be taken back. Some stores have excellent return policies. TJ Maxx and Marshall’s give you thirty days. Without a receipt they will give you store credit. They do cut costumers some slack around the Holidays as far as the time frame in which to return an item. Obviously, Christmas items will not be accepted back after the Holidays or if they are they will be it will be at the reduced or after Christmas sale price. Most likely they will not be returnable. This goes for any Holiday, Easter, Halloween etc. Target is fair about returns. Boutiques know their merchandise and may be very customer friendly since they have to compete with big stores. Most large department stores like Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s are very reasonable about returns. Nordstrom’s bends over backwards to accept items back.
When returning make it a point to be the first one in the store when it opens if possible. Most stores have Holiday hours. Going in early, being there first gives you the advantage of missing long lines of people returning things. When you go in early the salespeople aren’t worn out. They will, hopefully, have a good attitude. If you cannot make it early morning, try for early afternoon, after the morning rush is over and the salespeople have had their lunch breaks and with any luck, are refreshed. Another good time is about 1/2 hour before closing. The salespeople are tired and won’t argue with you and are just waiting to go home. They will just want to get transactions over with and get their day done.
One reason I try to shop certain stores regularly is so that the sales people and I build a relationship. This way if I do run into a problem with an item they are more than willing to cut me some slack. Of course, when you are returning something someone else has picked you don’t always have this advantage. You go wherever the item came from.
Be prepared. Try to have a receipt. Have the item in it’s original box. If it’s a non working item explain this. If it’s the wrong size you can explain this as well and perhaps ask for a simple exchange for a working version or size that fits. You must be sure that this is an item from the store you are returning it to. Most stores know their merchandise. Not all the sales people do since during the Holidays most are temporary employees.
Attitude: Do not go in angry. Nastiness gets you no where. A salesperson can make a return harder or easier for you. Being polite, pleasant and patient will work in your favor. Sometimes you just get a nasty employee. You are more than entitled to pleasant behavior on their part and you can always request the chance to talk to a store manager. It’s important for you to hold your tongue and be as nice as you can be. As the old saying goes you get more with sugar than vinegar.
The manufacturer: You can also try calling or emailing the manufacturer of an item. Often they will try to fulfill your needs. They may send you a replacement if you have proper information. They may just need the UPC off an item.. Manufacturers are more than likely to try and keep you satisfied. I’ve had very good luck with dealing directly with the manufacturer when an item is not working. You also save gas and the horror of dealing with the after Christmas store crowd.
Still stuck with it: Let’s say you have tried everything and you cannot return the item or you just aren’t inclined to go through all this . Don’t just toss the item. If you really hate it, don’t want it and have no use for it consider donating it to charity.
Re-gifting: Another option we’ve all heard of is re-gifting. That is not an awful thing to do, especially in this economy. If the item is perfectly acceptable, not broken and not horrendous don’t feel embarrassed to give it as a gift. Make sure you don’t re-gift it to the giver. Make sure all personal tags like to/from are removed. I’ve heard some awful stories about that happening. That could create some problems to say the least.
I know of one family that all open their presents together, then if one person doesn’t like the item and some one else does they swap right there. No harm no foul, no one is sensitive about it and everyone is happy in the end.It’s quite a good idea actually.
Giving: When you are shopping for someone try to keep in mind their size for one. Do not buy someone you can easily see is on the large side something too small. Don’t buy a petite person something they will swim in. Clothing is very personal. Perhaps, for someone overweight you can buy some wonderful accessories. Accessories fit everyone. Do not buy heavy people high calorie foods, do not buy them diet foods. Even if you know someone loves cats, frogs or whatever if you know everyone knows and they most likely have more than they need.
Gift certificates are always wonderful since it gives the recipient a chance to shop for whatever it is that they may need. Check your store policy before giving a gift certificate . Some stores have a horrible policy of deducting money from your gift card if the card isn’t used in a prompt fashion. The Children’s Place is known to do this.A gift certificate is not returnable but it certainly can be passed on to someone if you cannot use it, taking us back to regifting.Baby gifts: Gift certificates are great since a child is always outgrowing clothing or toys.
Garden Shops: Garden shops or big stores with garden areas like Lowes or Home Depot will accept plants back if they die or get sick if you have the sales slip. You usually have one year in which to do this.
Magazine subscriptions: You can always cancel a subscription and get the remaining money returned to you.
Books. Borders and Walden books will take a book back if it’s in absolutely pristine condition. They check carefully.
Avoiding returns: When you buy someone a gift try to think clearly. If someone is moving this is not the time to buy them anything that needs packing. A gift certificate is a much wiser choice. I’ve received baskets of foods just before I was packing up and leaving town. I’ve also received a live plant, same problem. I had to pass them on immediately.If someone lives in a tiny apartment keep this fact in mind so they don’t have to return your gift. Do not buy people pets. Christmas is an awful time to introduce a pet. Do not buy one for someone without clearing it with everyone involved before hand. My son bought me ducklings for my 40th birthday. Horrific idea. They missed their Mom. I didn’t want ducklings any more than I wanted another head. I do wildlife rescue because it’s raise and release. I was able to return them but had to nurture them while I waited to get back to the farm they came from. I had to find a feather duster to hang over them since they missed their Mom. I also had to deal with the fact that they would probably be food once I returned to the farm. Very difficult gift.
So, if you follow some simple rules in giving, receiving can be a perfectly pleasant experience rather than a stressful one.