For most of us, the gift-giving Holiday has finally come and gone. In its path, it leaves a variety of food leftovers, shreds of gift wrap strewn across the floor, and toy & electronic boxes to carry to the curb or dumpster. The Holidays also leaves behind a bevy of gifts that may be unwanted, don’t fit, or are the wrong version of the item. Here are a couple of quick tips learned through experiences in the after-holiday return lines.
If possible, have a receipt. Remember that it’s the thought that counts from the gift giver, so if there’s something wrong with it, or the item will not be put to good use, it’s always best to have a receipt when heading to the store. Some lucky gift receivers get gift receipts, which are just as good. Having either the receipt or gift receipt will streamline the process, and provide added convenience when it is your turn at the returns counter.
Know the store’s return and exchange policies. This one can occasionally be a challenge, especially since some stores change their return policies for the Holiday Season. Knowing the store’s return policy will help you know when their reasonable time frame for Holiday returns expires. The return policy should be posted, especially if there are exclusive Holiday terms.
Don’t try to return items the first few days after the Holiday. Unless you are headed out of town on a safari, or there is another imperative reason to return items immediately, try waiting a couple of days. This will greatly reduce your time in line, and most likely, your frustration. Although wait times can vary by store, the lines immediately after the Holiday will always look daunting, and you never know when a customer will present an exchange/return enigma to an employee.
When all else fails, ask for store credit. If you don’t have a receipt for an item, or you are past the reasonable time frame for the return, most stores will gladly issue you a store credit on an item. Be forewarned: the store credit may be offered at a reduced rate from the current retail price. This point aside, most stores are willing to offer in-store credit on merchandise, as it keeps the revenue from going elsewhere. You may have to show your state identification, so they can trace occurrences. Recently, I was able to return items to a store that were way beyond the normal policy, and received a store credit for the full amount, which is exactly what I had hoped for in order to purchase a different item.
Returning or exchanging gifts during the Holiday season can be a challenge. These simple tips should help you save time and aggravation, as well as provide the best possible return situation. The best option, always, is to research the store’s return policy. But every now and then, you will find yourself in the not-so-ideal situation. However, if you have a plan & can get the store to agree, you should at least be able to strike some common ground. And, your time will be better spent in other places than the return line.