Mother of the Bride Spot

Random thoughts on being a Mother of the Bride...although since we are now past The Wedding, perhaps this would be better titled Random Thoughts On Life In General...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gifting and Returning

The MC received a gift card which they wanted to put toward paying off a credit card from Marshall Fields -- a credit card they used to buy some things on their registry they didn't receive. Sounded simple enough, right?
They couldn't mail it in. They couldn't do it by phone. They couldn't take it LS Ayers and have it done there. It HAD to be done in person. And it had to be done by February 1 when Marshall Fields will be bought out and changed to Macy's.
Well, guess what. There IS no Fields in Indianapolis. So -- MOB to the rescue. They'd mail it to me, I'd run up there and take care of it. Easy.
Bob and I went up there last night to take care of it after getting the bill and the card in the priority mail. "Oh, I'm so sorry," the lovely young thing said when we presented it. "This had to be done by January 29. We have no way of entering it."
Oh come on. You must have SOME way of doing this. Can't be all that difficult.
Two sales associates and a supervisor hung around the cash register trying to figure it out. "I know!" said one. You buy something for $100, and return it, and then we can do a return credit.
OK. We "bought" a cute girl's dress and a necklace for $101.89. I gave them $5.00 and the gift card, and got $3.11 in change. Then we returned the outfit, I got my $1.89 back, and they scanned the receipt to apply to the credit card.
Didn't work.
Finally the supervisor went to her office, reappeared with 2 $50 bills which she handed me, I handed the sales associate, and she applied the cash to the bill.
How easy, you think. But it ISN'T all that easy. The department stores are making out like Enron with these gift cards. First of all, if a gift is returned to a store, you can do an equal exchange or get an in-store credit -- in the form of a gift card. If you get a gift card as a gift, you can make your purchase but in most stores, if your card is $50, and your purchase is $48.02, the $1.98 is left on the card. How many people are going to come back and buy something else, applying the $1.98 to the next purchase? Probably not too many. So the store has now a "free" $1.98 credit. Or, the customer buys something that costs more than $50 -- store has made out again.
We were at one of my favorite stores in Indy -- Van Maur's -- which has the nicest women's lounges and places to nurse your baby of any store I've ever been in -- but I digress. The MC had a "gift card" for $37 which was for something they had had to return. Truth be known, there isn't much in Van Maur's that can be purchased for $37, but Chris found a great sweater for something under that. There was $1.06 left on the card.
"I'm sorry," the man said politely, "but I can't give you the change."
Against store policy or something.
"Well," said Chris. "What can I purchase in your store that will be $1.06?"
"Er, well, um, we don't have anything for that much."
"Exactly," said Chris. "So, may I please have my money?"
"It's against store policy."
"But you don't have anything I can buy for that amount of money, and I'm not likely to come back here again in the near future."
The man gratefully waved us off to customer service -- who, after much hasseling and hemming and hawing allowed as how THIS TIME ONLY they would Break The Rules and give Chris the $1.06 which rightfully belonged to them.
As long as they promised to never do it again.
No problem, said the MC. They wouldn't ever be shopping there again.
Shopping is one of my favorite sports -- but returning gifts can send one over the edge.....
The MC could regale you with a few more stories of their wedding presents....
"Regifting" seemed to be a popular theme this year.
Just a suggestion though -- if you do it, it's really nice if you remove the previous gift card!
But that's a story for another post.


At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what does MC stand for?

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...married couple...she has a thing for abbreviations :)

At 1:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does the new MC have a blog of their own?

At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a stores-changing-hands gift card nightmare myself. We got a gift card as a baby gift, for a big name company with no local stores. I spent time browsing their web sites, dawdling dawdling - and then the company filed for bankruptcy. A few weeks later, I tried to use the gift card to make an online purchase - and got informed that I had to do it in person. Months later when I finally had the time to drive an more than an hour to the closest store, they told me they were no longer accepting those gift cards, and I had to file a claim with the bankruptcy court. And of course I lost the form and figured it wasn't worth the hassle since I'd probably only get $1.98 in the end anyway...


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