Why Bother With Returns?

You might be amazed to discover how common it is for people to make purchases only to decide later that they don’t want or need the item – but do not return them to the store. I was just talking with a friend about this very topic.

 So why don’t we make those store returns?

Many clients have items that they have never used, but have held onto them, only to give them to me to get rid of. This got me thinking – why don’t people return their unwanted purchases? This got me thinking about my own mom and her returns. When I was a teenager, my mom went shopping a lot. She had a career that required her to look nice and fashionable, so she spent a considerable amount of money on her clothes. However, once she got something home and tried to work it into her wardrobe, it didn’t always play out the way she had imagined. As a newly licensed teenager eager for an excuse to drive, mom made good use of that motivation. She was lucky though, not everyone has an eager teen to run their errands. And it was definitely worth it for her to have me run that errand, given the cost of her clothes.

But why didn’t she make the return herself? The same reason many others don’t make store returns.

  • Energy: For sure one reason was she was tired, as many of us are. She was extra tired though because mom is handicapped and it takes a lot of effort to walk (but it never kept her from shopping!). It seems so many of us are so busy that we just work to the point of exhaustion.
  • Time: Many people have schedules packed pretty tightly. If we aren’t working, we are taking care of some other commitment. These involve time and we only have 24 hours in each day.
  • Emotions:  I remember one reason my mom didn’t like to make the returns was embarrassment. She was embarrassed that she was making the return – since she made so many. I can relate, actually. In my line of work I make A LOT of returns all the time. Occasionally I feel embarrassed for the imagined perception the sales clerk has of me. (Notice I said imagined.) Frustration and anger might be other reasons as well. Frustration having to wait in line or anger that the items wasn’t satisfactory…
  • Remembering: Many times we just forget that the return needs to be made! It just gets lost in the shuffle of life.
  • Don’t Care: Sometimes people just don’t care. To me, this is the biggest surprise of all. I hear people say (clients and friends), “that only cost $10, that’s not worth my time.”
  • It’s been too long:  Nonsense. If it has their tag on it, chances are they will take it back. Some stores require returns to be made in 90 days, but a lot of times this is not set in stone. If it is clothing that is out of season you may have an issue, but other than clothing, I have had success with most “old” items.

Store returns are totally worth your time!

I’m here to tell you it is definitely worth your time, energy, and effort to make the returns. Here are my reasons why it is absolutely worth it to me to make returns.

  • Money: The returns I make free up funds to be spent elsewhere on items I want or need!
  • Neatness: Making returns reduces clutter in my home.
  • Eco-conscience: Making returns reallocates those items back into the general populous where someone else can purchase – and use – that item. One LESS item to be manufactured, used up, and disposed of into the landfill. (Yes, I really think that.)
  • Energy-drain:  I know, this probably seems a bit off the wall, but EVERYTHING has energy! Truly I NEED to return things to free myself from the grip those items can have on me. Think about it – they are things I DON’T WANT. My connection with it is a negative one because I feel negatively towards it, or at the very least neutral, but definitely not positive. If I felt positive, I’d want it and I’d use it.

How do I overcome the obstacles to making the returns? 

I literally schedule it in my day. It is an intentional part of my errands. It really doesn’t take me very long, and perhaps that’s because I go during the week. I NEVER make returns on the weekends. When I make a return during the week I am in-and-out quickly. It is a better use of my time to do it this way. Early morning is best, or later in the evening.

I have an area where I keep everything I want to return until I have enough to make my return trip worthwhile. I make sure I have my receipts when I put it in the area, but even if I can’t find my receipt many stores will be able to pull up the original purchase information if you have the debit or credit card you used to purchase the item. (They really are trying to make it easier on us!) Then I put it in my schedule. Sometimes it’s a high priority and gets done quickly, other times it’s a low priority and gets bumped to another day – but it stays on the schedule until I do it so I don’t forget about it.

If you have an eager teen, like I was, have him or her do it. You can bet when my son gets his license next year, he will be making returns for me. He won’t be as eager as I was, but all I need to do is promise him food and we’ve got a deal. Every teen has their price, and for my son it’s food.

So, go gather up all your returns, do your best to find your receipts, and put it on your calendar (on a week day). Then go spend that “found” money on something you REALLY want and LOVE!

What items do you have in your home right now that can be returned? What are you reasons for not returning them?