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Saturday, December 27, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 11/29/2006

Receipts part of happy returns

It is here somewhere. I know it is. Maybe it's in this pocket. Just give me another minute. I'm sorry.

But the receipt for the sweater you want to return is not in that pocket, the purse, the car seat, the dresser drawer, or the kitchen counter.

Once more, you have lost a receipt.

It's a habit and not a good one. And as surely as you can't find the receipt, you will not get your money back or have the original price of the sweater removed from your credit card.

Instead, the cordial sales person who has watched a few hundred shoppers frantically look for receipts will issue you a store credit.

Store credits look like standard credit cards so it is as easy to misplace them as it is the receipt. One major difference between the credit and the receipt that you lost is that the store credit may be less than you paid for the merchandise you returned.

The smart computers don't compute what you paid for the sweater three weeks ago but what is is selling for at this very minute. And if you are a shopper, you know every store is up to the roof tops with sales.

If you paid $30 for the sweater, as you are positive that you did, and it's selling for $19 now, that is what is commonly known as T.L. or tough luck.

With shopping at its annual high volume the next four weeks, let's make a vow not to lose our receipts. I will try to be organized if you will. I learned my lesson twice in 10 days. The store credit from one store is for $20.13. I distinctively remember that the brown shawl cost $29.99. The store employee was sorry, of course, but not nearly as sorry as I am.

Then there was the case of the black plastic dangling earrings. Because I already had a store credit I used it to buy the earrings except the credit was $12 short. Once home I realized the earrings were worth about $5 and not the $24.99 I paid, so back they went. This time I had a receipt but that smart computer showed that I had used a store credit for most of the cost so guess what. Now I have another store credit.

I know what you are thinking. She takes too much back. Maybe so, but I prefer to think that I buy too much. The reasons for returning merchandise could be another column. It would be interesting to know if more women than men return things on the assumption that we have a right to change our minds.

Many years ago in Adrian, the A.B. Park department store invited customers to take merchandise home on approval. I can remember my mother and aunts bringing clothes home from Park's and trying them on. I am sure they kept as many as they returned.

Two Toledo department stores in a national chain place a sticker with the price paid on the price tag. There may be more stores with that service. It is a definite advantage when merchandise is returned because there is no question what you paid.

So how are we going to keep track of the receipts?

Never, never let the cashier put the receipt in the bag. Chances are high that you won't take it out of the bag and it's no fun going through the garbage.

Once the receipt is in hand, let's try not to drop it aimlessly in our purses or cram it in a coat pocket. Take time to organize.

I now concentrate and take a second or two to put all receipts, especially for wearing apparel, but also for gas or groceries in a see-through cosmetic case in my purse. So far, so good.



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