There Oughta Be a Law

I have always loved Walmart.

Whenever I read people griping about how evil big box stores will drive out the mom and pop shops, I always add my two cents, and that is that I love mom and pop shops, but there is this thing called “supply and demand” and Mom and Pop have the same opportunity to supply what the people demand.

Now, they may not be able to beat the prices Walmart offers, but they can very well find another demand that they can supply better than Walmart. Like personalized service. Or free deliveries.

In our last small town, there was a Walmart Supercenter with a high tech pharmacy, and even though I found myself at Walmart at least once a week, I never did use the pharmacy there.

The prices may have been the cheapest in town, but we loved the mom and pop pharmacy downtown. They knew our names there. They called us whenever they got in a shipment of that gag-inducing nail polish used to coax children into quitting their thumb-sucking.

And they delivered.

That’s right. They would deliver packages to our door step FOR FREE. If the doctor called in a prescription, I could expect it on my doorstep in about half an hour.

I bet you never saw Walmart do that, didja?

So, basically I like to shop around at places that give me what I want. Low prices, great return policy? Walmart. Free deliveries? Mom and Pop Pharmacy.

That’s why I was in complete shock when my good ole Walmart would not allow me to return a pair of packaged, unopened Sponge Bob pajamas last week for a gift card.

Occasionally, I need to return an item to the store, and in the past if I have my receipt, they give me cash back. If I don’t have the receipt and they determine that the item came from the store, I get a gift card. Nicey-nicey, right? I mean, that guarantees that I will be spending AT LEAST as much as the cost of the returned item in the store. What more could they ask for???

Well, I’ll tell you.

Last week when I waited in a very long return line to get a gift card for those pajamas, for which I did not have a receipt, I was told that I had to leave the pajamas at the counter, GO TO THE LITTLE GIRLS’ DEPARTMENT to get a like exchange, and come back to the very long line to make the exchange.

And I’m all “Huh?”

Last month I got a gift card in an almost identical situation. Where’s my gift card?

I explained to the lady at the return register that the pajamas had been purchased at that very store the week prior and that I didn’t need a single thing from the little girls’ department thankyouverymuch, plus… where’s my gift card???

She then informed me that they changed their return policy this time of year to keep … you know … certain people from … you know … exchanging Sponge Bob pajamas for things they shouldn’t be buying. You know how some people are.

Seriously?

Walmart is now policing what their customers put in their buggies??? What are they going to do? Follow customers around the store??? So what if I want to get one of those plastic barrels of cheese puffs? Or an econo-can of Spaghettios? Or 10 cans of Cheese Whiz? Or some granny panties? Why does Walmart care what I exchange the pajamas for? What would Sam Walton think of this???

I tried my best to politely express the above sentiment in something other than a high-pitched, incredulous tone that only dogs can hear, and she reiterated my choice to exchange the pajamas ONLY FOR A LIKE ITEM or forget about the whole thing “AND I HOPE YOU HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS” she said a little too loudly as I picked up my ugly pajamas and turned to go. I believe she also bobbed her head and I may have mumbled, “Same to you, lady,” but I totally meant it in the nicest possible way.

Since it was the Christmas season, I did what any nice homeschooling mom would have done. I steamed about it the entire way home. And the ugly pajamas mocked me from the front passenger seat. They mocked me.

And I envisioned bread lines in Russia. And mounted police officers enforcing the exchange of ugly pajamas for a like item. And check points where purchases are examined by armed guards to ensure they are appropriate items.

Okay, maybe I am overly dramatic. It’s my spiritual gift.

Anyhow, when I got home I promptly looked up Walmart’s return policy on their official site and printed out a handy dandy copy so that I could take it AND the Sponge Bob pajamas back to the return desk for Round Two the next time I went to town.

*To Be Continued…

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Comments

  1. What? To be continued??? Really? I followed this whole thing on facebook and now that you have the whole story to share, you are going to keep me danging here? I’m on the edge of my seat. It’s 12:31 AM and I was just about to get off the computer and head to bed and now how am I am going to sleep? I’m going to toss and turn and have strange Walmart dreams. (BTW, I have 2 Walmart posts on my own blog – you can get to them by clicking Walmart in the labels section on the right side of my blog). How am I supposed to parent 3 very energetic girls tomorrow if I’m up all night, restless and on edge with suspense? Sigh. I guess I will just have to be patient and pray for God to graciously clear my head for sweet dreams. Sweet dreams, MyFriendConnie! Sweet dreams. :)

    (All of this was in a very light-hearted, yet eager, laughing tone of voice that is overlooked in the written word. Remember my sense of humor when I joked about the monkey bread video when you posted the link on Facebook?) :D <3 Kymberlie

  2. Oh, can’t wait to hear the rest. I had my own run-in with the laws that be at Best Buy. Post is slowing bubbling up as the angers retreats.

    • Ahh, yes the people from best Buy-my anger from having to make a like for like return for an item that never worked and they couldn’t see why I wanted a return….What a wonderful company they are. Haven’t been back since.

  3. I think thats crazy? What are people going to exchange PJs for that they shouldnt have?!? There is nothing that says you cant exchange PJs and go buy a video game or food. Or that you cant return food and go buy PJs. Ridiculous!

    • I’m sorry, I think you might be missing the point in wal marts policies a little. I’ve answered in a below comment why they do it. It’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. Inconvenient yes, frustrating sometimes yes, but not crazy.

  4. Now I am dying to know what happened! :) I am one of those people who gripe about Wal-Mart! I have become dependent on their lower prices and the time that I save by getting everything I need in one place that each time I get terrible customer service and I swear to never come back I find myself back in the store a month later. Ugh! Wal-Mart. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.

  5. Sadly, this policy is for those dead beat parents that get every charity possible to give gifts to their children and then bring them back to purchase beer cigarettes, and other items for themselves. I saw it all the time when I was a public school teacher.

    • Isn’t it sad how some people ruin things for someone else? I would have never even thought about people returning gifts from charities until you just mentioned it. You have to wonder what is wrong with some people?

  6. Actually, I’m sorry, I know it inconveniences you and others but I actually support walmart on this one.

    For the people like Leah who don’t seem to get why walmart would make this change at christmas, the issue is this, alcoholic, or cigarette addicted, unemployed parents who still have custody of their children. The children recieve gifts like this from relatives, or from christmas charities set up for families like this. The parents, instead of being grateful, take the gifts from their children, exchange them for gift cards, which they then use to buy alcohol and cigarettes.

    I know it’s frustrating and inconvenient for the rest of us, but to give those children half a chance to get something special for once that their own parents won’t provide, I’ll put up with the inconvenience.

    Give it a few weeks, get into the new year, and you should be able to exchange those PJs without an issue. Can it not wait just a few weeks? Yes, those parents can exchange in a few weeks too, but they’re less likely to, and walmart has to keep you happy as well.

    • Abba12,

      I think that you miss the point. I don’t shop @ Wal Mart much at all, but if the policy about returns is as Connie thought it to be (I’m sure that it is, given the fact that she printed out the policy), then it needs to stand. It isn’t Wal Mart’s job to police the public. And, if the store is so principled, then why would the passing of a “few weeks” be a factor?

      I think that’s where we’ve come as a culture. It is the few who seem to dictate policies for the masses. Politicians inflict laws on us because of knee-jerk reactions. Recently, I volunteered, as I do every year, to provide snacks to high school students during finals weeks @ the school where my daughter attends. I was shocked to read an edict that NOTHING could be made w/nuts. There went the festive peanut butter cookies w/Hershey kisses. Whatever happened to personal resposibility? When I was a kid, kids knew about their allergies, and while they might say that they couldn’t eat a particular food, they didn’t demand that the rest of the folks couldn’t enjoy it. Lest you think that I have no sympathy, my two-year-old grandson has bad allergies, but we just keep foods that might exacerbate his allergies away from him. His parents don’t expect the rest of the family not to serve foods to which he’s allergic.

      The irony is that even if your premise, as you suggested it, is true, there will always be some who will figure out a way to get around it. Let Wal Mart be what it is–a store–and not the morality police.

      • Seriously! It is not Wal-Mart’s job to make sure everyone is moral, nice, fair or good. It is their job to sell things and if they have a posted return/exchange policy, they need to stick to it.

        I don’t shop at Wal-Mart. I won’t. I would rather pay more somewhere else (and I usually don’t have to pay more, actually) and have better products, better selection and better service. Now, it turns out I also don’t get my life micromanaged because of not shopping there, too.

    • Did someone elect Wal-Mart the morality police?

      What’s to stop those people from coming back in a few weeks to get their booze or whatever?

      • Nothing, and some do, but many of them won’t be bothered, or the children will have gotten into the gifts and opened them, or they will forget. It’s a deterent for many of them, but some will always get through.

    • I understand the reason behind their policy, and it is so sad that parents would do such a thing. But, it isn’t WM’s job to prevent deadbeat parents from purchasing that stuff. Also, if they wanted to stop it from happening, why not stop selling alcohol and cigarettes? I know, the almighty dollar rules…except when they’re pressured to be a social responsibility enforcer. Sheesh…

      • So you would rather everybody miss out on alcohol than you having to wait a few weeks to return an item at christmas. No one can have wine at christmas or champagne on new years or a beer after work because a small few will misuse it? I get that a lot of christians are anti-alcohol but a lot aren’t and it is hardly socially irresponsible to sell alcohol. I suppose we should stop selling cars too because some people use them to hit other people or kidnap people etc.

        We aren’t talking about return of a faulty item here, it sounds like we’re talking about taking back an unwanted gift, that you have NO proof came from the store in the first place, for money. Entitlement much? You’re lucky they take it back at all without a recipt, unless it’s store brand you could have bought it on sale elsewhere and be trying to scam them.

        • abba12 : I’m not making any judgements on whether people drink alcohol. I’m just saying that I personally wish it wasn’t sold in the place where I shop frequently. I could very well shop somewhere else if i wished; that’s just my humble opinion. Certainly, if WM didn’t sell alcohol, etc., there are many others places to buy it, so anyone who wanted to wouldn’t be deprived by one store not carrying it. If WM doesn’t want people buying it in “shady” ways, they could end the problem by not offering it period, that’s all i was trying to say.

          Besides, a return policy shouldn’t change for certain times of year, or from store to store, etc. The policy should be the policy. I’d much rather they not try to control what their customers buy in the first place, but I don’t see any reason not to return something you are unhappy with, whatever the reason, as long as you are following the policy.

    • If that is REALLY the issue, this is a convoluted way of dealing with it. They need a year round policy of no gift cards accepted for purchases of alcohol or cigarettes! Cash only sales policy for those items! Easy fix!

      • Actually, gift cards canNOT be used for that purpose. The people posting that as a reason are misinformed. It has nothing to do with alcohol or cigarettes. Their all arguing about it and it’s not even the actual point. Oh well.

    • I didnt miss the point. I also dont like Walmart for many reasons which i will not list here.
      The same people who will return these gifts are the ones who can take them to consignment stores, list them on ebay, craiglists, the million facebook online yard sales that are available, etc to make money off of them. So really Walmart isnt stopping any of that.
      I think its disgusting that people would do that and would have never even thought about it. BUT its not going to stop those parents especially since they can go to kmart, target, etc and return the same gifts since most do not have a store specific UPC. Instead they are just inconveniencing those who do shop there.
      On another note, Tonight I took back a 10 pack of socks & a 20.00 brownie pan to our local walmart. I had no receipt and was given cash even though I explained I was just going to exchange for the next size up in my sons socks & for another set of pans since i already own the one i was returning. She said it was easier to just do a return. Asked for my license Id # since they track how many returns you make withour receipt & gave me cash.

    • I am still curious about Abba’s point the alcoholic and CIGARETTE addicted non working parents should apparently not have custody of their children.

      Really maybe an alcoholic under bad circumstances but anyone who smokes cant have custody of their kids– especially if they happen to get laid off.

      that is great. :0)

      And the Walmart POLICING “those” type people… really. not. cool.
      How on earth did they know that someone is or isn’t one of “those” people…. I am not against racial profiling in certain situations but this is WAY, WAY over the line. And over a product that they can with almost certainty still sell … and about giving her a GIFT card that she has to use in their store (which is a win- win)

      CRAZY.

  7. Gina DeBruler says:

    I agree…give it a few weeks and the policy will go back to normal. I didn’t think about the reasoning behind it. However, there isn’t anything from stopping those same parents from just selling their kids toys straight out or taking them to a pawn shop or consignment store. I would never, in a million years, do that to my kids! I guess I forgot that there are people who would do that to their own children and grandchildren.

  8. I enter Walmart about once a month. However, I can’t stand the way they treat their employees. I also have been told by Walmart that you can only exchange things twice a year without a reciept.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

  9. What’s up with Walmart lately. Their return policy is just like Target’s now. I had a similar experience at Target a couple of years ago. I asked for a manager…and they finally gave me a gift card for use in ANY department..not just the SWIM WEAR!

    Anyway..if you have a few minutes, please read my recent Walmart story! My Walmart has a regular practice of over charging! Here’s what I did…
    http://www.sacredmommyhood.com/2011/12/today-i-was-that-lady.html

  10. uh, yeah, good luck with taking a copy of “their own” policy. Didn’t work for me when I tried to use coupons. And the check out girl couldn’t get a manager to come help. Too busy or just avoiding?

  11. jeanine feldkamp says:

    i am on the EDGE of my seat for part 2!!

  12. I understand wanting to help kids who don’t get much ( or anything) for christmas, and I certianly know about parents who retune their childrens gifts and use the money for their own “whatever”, my step daughters mother has been doing it for years ( even told me her self that she does), It is frusterating and sad, their are ways to prevent that from happening ,like I will have her wear the cloths a few times before they go to her house, or open the packages at my house ( for toys when she was little), I know charlties can’t do that, but WM could create a charity gift reciept option, or something like that instead of trying to dictate to ALL of us what we can do with unwanted gifts from christmas! and as for “those” parents not waiting to exchange their kids christmas for their own “stuff” OH yes they do- again my daughter mom says she waits on purpose because some times a month or so later they will just give her cash!! I am a bit frusterated with WM policies in several areas- my son ( 9 years old) wanted to buy Daddy a knife for christmas, he had is own money and wanted to “pay for it himself” so he put all his stuff on the counter and the cashier refused to let him pay for the knife ( yes I politly told her it was for Daddys christmas), long story short she would not even let ME buy it stateing their policy wont allow her to sell a knife to a child, even thought I agian explained it was not for him, but for him to give to an adult- I still had to go through a differnt line ( after going back to get another knife because she ” had to keep that one at her register”) and assure the chashier that it was not for the children with me, but for my self or another adult!!!!!! Fact is WM policies don’t change anything, except how happy I am to shop there!

  13. Oh man, oh man, oh man! I can so sympathize! Been on BOTH sides of that issue and it’s not fun on either side! I used to work for Sears in their security department. I’ve had to deny returns to “customers” b/c the merchandise they had was not, um shall we say, legally acquired? Things like clothes are easily pilfered and are the things easily suspected that people didn’t purchase, but the items stolen from the store.

    Then there was the time I tried to return clothes to Walmart without the receipt. Just knowing while I was standing in line to return 2 pairs of pants that didn’t fit, they were thinking I took these from the store, they’re never going to give me my $$ back, I’m going to be “labeled” at Walmart. It doesn’t help that I have a “twin” out there somewhere who looks enough like me that I’ve had Walmart security follow me around the store, so now I really have a complex about making returns there! LOL

  14. God is using you to teach us. Sorry you have to go through it but thankful for your good spirit. I am looking forward to the rest of the story…

  15. NOW THAT’S FUNNY! :D (thanks for the laugh)
    P.S. oh, and thanks for starting a war of comments about Wal-mart. <:O

  16. wow, I also think it’s not up to walmart to change a policy only at christmas. I also agree that Best Buy is not user friendly. I was so angry at best buy that I started waiting on customers and helping them to find better deals in other places. They couldn’t get waited on either.
    The thing is, if the product did not come from that store it will not be in their system. The product had to come from there. If people are going to use these gifts from others to cash in then as someone pointed out, they will find other avenues to do it.
    I once had a neighbor who scoured thrift stores and garage sales with price tags on the items. She then proceeded to take them to the store for a refund. That didn’t sit well with me, and I’d never do it. I remember my family joking about it, and at the time it never occured to us that someone would actually do that. I remember our shock to see that.
    When I worked at Mervyn’s I had one woman buy her entire christmas dinner table, the dishes, tablecloth, napkins, decor, and then when the holiday was over she returned it all. Another woman came in, walked to the appliances, picked out an expensive one and brought it up to the register for me to return. I called security and management and they made me give the lady the money since I couldn’t prove it. I saw her walk in the door with nothing in her hands, that apparently wasn’t enough proof.
    Guess we all have seen all kinds of things happen, but the larger stores really shouldn’t be the morality police. Plus, I think they should spend a bit more on asset protection. Most of them don’t have good security in place, not like what people think at all.

    • I worked for Kohl’s and even with the cameras and security personnel stuff was stolen ALL the time! When I worked for Lord and Taylor, I had a customer bring back gloves from last season with a receipt (dated from the year before!). They were totally worn, but my manager MADE me take them back :( Seriously, and people wonder why prices are high and workers get paid squat? Yes, I know there are corporate giants eating the money, but those dishonest people don’t help it either! :(

  17. good luck on the printed policy. i had a manager tell me my printed copy came from WALMART DOT COM and that walmartDOTcom isn’t the same as WALMART. and their online policy doesn’t apply to in store. still scratching my head over that one. after a few chuckles w/ district manager the store finally let me “do it just one time.” to which i said, “NO, it is your company policy. i’m not doing anything wrong just b/c you don’t like or understand the policy.” Now I avoid walmart like the plague!

  18. I hope a manager was involved in the continued version!

  19. Dang it! I need to hear the rest of the story because this part of the story is making me very nervous about the way that I very confidently told my youngest that we could exchange the two Diary of a Wimpy Kid books that her Nina gave her — Nina managed to give her the exact two books that Megan already has (and Megan only has two of them. Imagine the irony.) — for two that she doesn’t have. This may not bode well for receipt-less me.

  20. In FL Wal Mart sells beer and wine, when we give charity gifts we X our the bar code so they can’t be returned.
    I returned a number of Christmas toys the other day and was issued a gift card, I then went to the toy dept. where the shelves were PICKED CLEAN,I couldn’t believe it. I then asked when they thought they would get another shippment in and they said my best bet was to wait for someone else to return stuff!!! That they wouldn’t be getting any more toy stock till after inventory??? What!

  21. Rebecca L. says:

    My daughter took a sweater back to Walmart on Monday that she had got from her Mamaw. The sticker tag was still on it, it had the bar code and the price stated plainly on it along with “Walmart.com” on it. It was also the “Faded Glory” brand, which is only found at Walmart. After standing in line for a while, they told her they wouldn’t take it back, it was not from their store. I have NEVER had this happen. I have bought things in another state and returned home to my state and decided to take it back and they took it. I realize not every single thing sold in every single store is in each Walmart store but it was ridiculous! I am taking it with me tomorrow to another Walmart store to see if we can get it returned (she just wanted a gift card, not money, so she could use the value on something else that she needed more). I am not going to be a happy camper if I am told this same thing. Wonder what people are supposed to do when relatives send them gifts from out of state for birthdays or holidays and they need to just exchange sizes? I mean it was VERY obvious that this sweater came from Walmart, not trying to be dishonest or anything!!!

  22. I avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible mostly due to how they treat their employees, their terrible return policies, and their discrimination against promoting women to management positions. They keep the majority of their employees part-time so they do not have to pay for benefits and often have them do extra work after they have clocked out so no over time is paid. (law suits have been filed over several of these issues). My daughter tried to return an unopened dvd but they would only exchange it for the exact same dvd. Unfortunately, they did not have the same dvd in stock so they gave her a gift card for the price of the dvd. When she went to use the gift card, she was told it was empty – no money had been put on it. One more reason I do not shop Wal-Mart.

  23. Wow. I totally missed all the angst for Wal*Mart . . . until I got to the comments. Whew! I got caught up in drama being a spiritual gift. Who knew?! That means my entire family is gifted! :o)
    Sorry for your frustration, Connie. I once stood in line to make a return & realized when I got to the front that I’d forgotten to stop at the little greeter station to get my little yellow stickers. Of course, I had to go back to get them & then stand in line again. Ugh. But then I couldn’t blame anyone other than myself for being a big dufus.
    Can’t wait to hear the rest of your story. Hope you were singing “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love” all the way back to the store. ;o)

  24. Oh, please stop shopping at WalMart. Seriously-as someone who used to work for a service provider of theirs-they are truly EVIL. They dictate prices to their vendors, service providers. If they (and other large box chains) are all that remain-they’ll have more and more control over the prices and selection you have in their stores. (and over return policies).

    Please think about your purchases-where they are made, where the $ you spend will end up, and what effects they make on others. I know I dont do this 100% of the time-but really, if we all did a little more there would be more options out there.

  25. Leave us with a cliff hanger?! Arrrgh. haha I have a love/hate relationship with WM, I guess. But I always return (no pun intended). I’ve been on their naughty list for returning items w/out a receipt and was put on “warning”. It was like 2 or 3 times and I was shocked to find out they tracked me! ME!!! harumph. Then I have a stand-up routine (almost) that’s become a legend within my family of how I set one of the photo lab employees straight. I really didn’t, and I was very gracious, but my alter ego told it an entirely different way once we were in the car. :)
    Can’t wait to read part 2. And I’m so very sorry you are stuck with Sponge Bob anything. lol

  26. Call the 1-800 Wal-Mart number to report it. There is also an online comment function. If they are not following their posted policy they need to be called on it. I had a big hassle with using coupons legitimately. I even pulled out their policy, that I printed online. It did no good until I called and “wrote” the company. I believe the problem at the Wal-Mart where I occasionally shop is ignorance (which is hard to deal with, because even the assistant manager that eventually called me did not know their coupon policies).

  27. That is just sad on many levels……

  28. LOL you gettem girl. I really don’t envy you the battle, that place is a pain!

  29. kimberly foster says:

    Ditto here! I’m not a fan of walmart so it didn’t help when I went to return a gift that was given to my son and didn’t fit. I expected a gift card since it was clearly their brand. Instead I was told since they couldnt find a tag on the jacket they no longer allow returns for gift card without a tag or receipt. I could not get a receipt from grandparents and needless to say, my son goes without a gift. Instead we are giving jacket to a homeless man on our community. Just another reason I choose not to give my money to walmart.

  30. Have any of you tried returning anything to Babies-r-us or Toys-r-us? I live near Chicago and that is where EVER!!! They changed their return policy without much notice and I was stuck with diapers, that only their store sells, that my son could no longer wear :( 90 days with a receipt and NOTHING after that or without a receipt. I asked for a manager who walked over told me that was new policy and walked away :( I called and emailed corporate, and was given the same response! I only wanted to exchange the diapers and I had the original receipt, which was past the 90 days when I tried to return them (how was I to know he would out-grow size 2 diapers so fast?). My shower was in April just before he was born-I tried to take them back in August :(

    I can appreciate Walmart’s policy as I have worked with children who’s parents are like that and really someone needs to step up for those kids even if it inconveniences someone, however, they should make it a “real” policy that from December through January that is what they do. I do like that Target has receipt look up. I typically use my debit card so I can always get my refund even if I lose the receipt.

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