I might have already written about this story here, but a little over a decade ago I saw a dude refuse to leave a customer service line at Walmart the day after Christmas until they agreed to refund him for a dozen or so bottles of perfume that were NOT purchased at Walmart. It was just his refusal to cooperate, listen to reason or back down in any way that eventually broke them. He went through two or three cashiers, a manager and eventually the store manager. The store manager asked him what the perfume was worth, typed a special code into the register that denoted “giving some fucking asshole $100 so he will go away” to the higher ups and was able to satisfy the “customer.”


potter and daughter podcast logo hijink ensue

When my Patreon reaches $2000/month I’m going to release a new podcast where upon I interview my 7 years old daughter as she reads through the Harry Potter series. It’s called Potter And Daughter! More details HERE.

I learned a few important lessons that day. The first was that Walmart does have the power to return ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING. It was shortly after this that they instituted the “show us your driver’s license if you don’t have a receipt” policy, but that just means that you can only pull shenanigans a few times a year before they get suspicious. I also learned the power of stubbornness. I didn’t think it was a virtue, but it was definitely power. I mean, the guy was clearly a lying fuckhole trying to defraud the store. That much was abundantly clear. He knew what he was doing, THEY knew what he was doing and he KNEW that they knew what he was doing. Still, he stood there INSISTING that the world conform to his will. He demanded that reality reshape itself to match his desire just by standing there and repeating the same lie over and over and over. Again, I did not think this was a good thing to do, and I did not plan to incorporate this tactic into my own dealings in the future, but it was certainly educational to see how it played out and to extrapolate how this might and DOES play out all over the world every single day.

The other thing I learned is that I probably shouldn’t be too nervous about trying to return the Playstation that I ruined while attempting to solder on a mod-chip that would let me play burned games. Compared to the other guy, I might as well have been there to deliver back rubs and blowjobs for all the employees. Subsequently, I did NOT try to modify the brand new Playstation that they gave me. I learned my lesson.

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  2. Haha, not at my Hellmart. We deal with crap like that all the time. Nothing is more enjoyable than the utterance of the words, "You've already been told the return policy, if you cannot remove yourself from this area the police will be happy to do it for you."

  3. I wouldn't be surprised if Walmart has a "safety override" button on their registers. I work at a pharmacy and we have one for methheads trying to buy pseudoephedrine whose ID doesn't pass and they get violent. Of course, after they get their meth-making pills, we call the DEA.

  4. Marks & Spencer used to be like that in the UK. You'd see still strung-out party girls trying to return dresses on a Monday morning which looked like they'd been through a thresher whilst insisting they hadn't been worn. M&S would take 'em.

  5. It's always mentioned in business books that Nordstrom has this policy. I've never been in one, let alone tried to return something, but I've read a lot of business books 🙂

    • Trust me, they will. I'm a Nordstrom customer, and they'll take all manner of things back.

      Oddly, and I'm sure anyone here that's worked retail even for 10 minutes knows this, you just want to get the raving idiot in front of you out of your store, and keep your sanity.

    • Yes, they will. I live in a city with a Nordstrom and a Nordstrom Rack (the "outlet" type version of the store). I've seen items for sale at the Rack location that aren't even sold by Nordstrom, like store brands for other retailers. I confess that I did take advantage of this generous policy exactly once, but the Doc Martens I returned were actually sold by Nordstrom (even though I didn't buy them there) and had only been worn once, and not involved in any feline fecal adventures.

  6. The point in my life at which I had the realization that Wal-Mart would take anything for "return", no matter how clearly it wasn't theirs, was when I found a KROGER-BRAND frozen pizza sitting there in a Wal-Mart freezer, happily snuggled in with the other, similarly-sized pizzas.

    I also get the impression, based on what I see on the shelves, that I could bring a broken pane of glass into Fry's, claim it's a big-screen TV, and they'd happily re-stock it with a generous $2 discount.

    • Just purchasing stuff at Fry's typically requires an argument of some sort. I can't imagine the returns process.

  7. has this sort of thing All. The time. Usually the cashiers know damned well what's up and often refuse to get a manager but when the shouting starts the manager shows up anyways, and just about inevitably submits to the will of the "customer," because, I don't know, otherwise the person will start shouting all over Twitter about how Walmart (or whoever, it seems to happen all over) doesn't honour returns or something?

    I don't know. I honestly don't get it. The employees aren't allowed to stop shoplifters headed for the door, or even to accuse them of shoplifting in some stores (even when they actually see them actually do it), or, heck, it seems in a lot of stores these days they aren't even allowed to tell the customer that they're closing!! Like, once the customer is in the store they're allowed to clean up, and shut down all (but one) register, and even turn the lights off, and they will hang around going, "Is there anything we can help you find?" but a lot of stores seem to have the policy that unless the customer specifically asks, the employees aren't allowed to say "Hey, we're closed. Can you please take your purchases to the till and then get out?"

    Sometimes they'll follow the browsing customer around for like an hour or more before they finally leave (usually without buying anything, it seems). Seriously, I get that you don't want to lose a potential sale, but really? You can't even say "Hey, actually, we're officially closing in like thirty seconds so could you please head over to the till with your purchases now?"

    It all seems counter-productive.

    • I can vouch for all of this. I worked at two retail stores in my youth, and both had those policies. Nothing is "shoplifted" until it actually leaves the store, and all we could do once it was gone is call the cops and file a report with a description. I once saw a manager go as far as following a thief into the parking lot and call the cops while in earshot of the thief then read them his license plate number. Both store also had the "follow people around and make them feel uncomfortable if they hang out too long after we close, but NEVER tell them we are actually closed" policy. I once stayed at work over an hour after close as the ENTIRE STORE waited for once person to quit milling about.

    • Australian stores don't seem to conform to that policy.
      "Attention customers the store will be closing in 15 minutes" and the suggestion to grab what you want and head to the register.
      Then after 15 minutes they kick your arse out and lock the store.

      • Yeah, they do that here in Canada as well. Not sure what would happen if someone just hung around after that and refused to leave. I don't think it happens, though, it being Canada.

        Hey, how do you get twenty-three Canadian guys to get out of the pool?

        "Come on, guys. Outta the pool."

    • Not Always Right (and it's spawn NA-Working, NA-Learning etc.) and the graphic designer vent Clients From Hell have dropped my faith in humanity tremendously. Good for laughs though.

  8. I'm just so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so glad I'm no longer the person who has to DEAL with the annoying fuckhole anymore.
    I've argued with people complaining that they could only get credit for open video games. I've argued with people claiming their Barbie CAME WITH chihuaua bite-holes in the feet. I've argued with people claiming they can't read signs in English (while speaking English to me, and reading the sign right next to it with no problem). I've argued with people claiming they would get so much better customer service in New York. (Then why the fuck aren't you in New York instead of here?!)

    The customer is wrong – or lying – 98% of the time.
    Yes, I can make an exception for the 4-year-old who didn't know better than to open his brand new Mortal Kombat on Christmas morning because his dad is a douchewad and his mom had no idea that his dad would give a 4-year-old such a thing.

  9. I remember being stuck in the customer service line at Best Buy listening to a dude try to get them to compensate him for his time. He had apparently purchased something for his entertainment system that didn't actually work with his setup. This was somehow Best Buy's fault. Returning the thing that doesn't work the way he thought I would completely understand. BUT. He wanted compensation for his time driving to/from Best Buy, his time installing the thing, his time uninstalling the thing, and driving to/from Best Buy to return it.

    Ended up with two cashiers and a manager all telling him No over and over and over. I'm not entirely positive what they finally said to get him to give up but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a threat of calling the cops. He was getting really loud and nasty near the end.

    So, he did finally give up and the manager looked at all of us in line and said "So you're all going to behave right?" And we all laughed.

  10. I used to work at one of Canada's major department stores, Eaton's (est. 1869). Their return policy was ridiculous, people would return old soiled underwear. If you did a wedding registry there, you could return item for CASH, that were on the registry, without any receipt, or proof that these items actually came from Eaton's. Meanwhile, their competitor, The Bay, only gave store credit for Wedding Registry items unless you had a receipt.

    My sister-in-law asked me to look at some items she received, because she couldn't find them at Eaton's, and she wanted that cash. These were perfectly new Corningware casserole dishes, but with older packaging. I'm sure she just ended up regifting them for someone else's shower or wedding.

    Anyways Eaton's return policy was one of the many factors that contributed to this wonderful chain going bankrupt in the late 90's ( and my being downsized out of a job during the bankruptcy protection period). The Bay, however is still in business.

  11. I used to work returns at IKEA. Oh man have I seen people try and return some f'd up stuff. The thing about IKEA is that their return policy is super strict and not what American are typically used to dealing with. IKEA will process a return without a receipt ONCE for a customer, as in one time and that's it, and all returns require an ID. IKEA also has a policy that they will not accept returns on items that have been assembled or are missing packaging, unless there is something wrong with the item. Now, we would typically end up taking the partially built item back if the customer pitched a loud enough fit, but we would only refund 60% of the price and then sell it in the as-is section. Basically, I've told lots of people NO who were expecting us to be like Wal-Mart and just take anything back.

  12. People like that are A) Why I am leaving front-end to move to a sales floor position and B) Why every time a CSM or my ZMS asked me if I wanted to train on service desk I looked at them like they had gone completely mad and just laughed.

    Worst story? We had a guy threaten to shoot one of our girls working service desk because they wouldn't cash a payroll check without ID. Like, we had to have a manager follow him at a distance to make sure he didn't come back while we waited for the police to arrest him. Hell to the no thank you.

  13. I suppose the closest I've gotten to this, now that I think about it further, is the time I bought a small dehumidifier from Walmart and – I still don't know how, if it was something I did or a defect or what – the transformer block on the cord just melted down. It was maybe a month old, and it scared the crap out of me. I took it to Walmart just to ask them to send to the manufacturer in case there needed to be a recall or something, but I must have looked pitiful, because they returned it for store credit without me even asking. I mean, I return a lot of stuff – I just returned 5 unopened bags of kitty litter to Walmart (and yes I bought them there; I was trying to stock up for possible discontinuation of the hard-to-find kind my kittymonsters liked, but spoilers: not only was it not discontinued, but the brats suddenly decided they don't like that kind anyway any longer), but I try really hard to make sure everything is just as I bought it. I worked in retail on and off for years and I don't wanna be That Guy.

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