10 Shocking Stories About Returning Clothes
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No Shame1 of 11
By Tiffany Tse
Ever tried to return an old, gross piece of clothing you've already worn? We've got news for you: The salespeople will talk about you behind your back! Read on for ten horror stories from retail associates who've dealt with every kind of return attempt in the book.
Pissed Off2 of 11
"A woman bought an outfit for her 3-year-old son, and asked if he could put on the outfit in the changing room and wear it out. After several minutes, she came back and said she wanted to exchange the pants for another pair, claiming she'd just noticed they were stained. I was about to allow it until she handed me the pants—they were wet, not stained, and reeked of urine. Her son had peed himself and she wanted to exchange his urine-soaked pants. I denied her request, and she spent 15 minutes screaming at me before she left."
—EJ, assistant manager
Shoe Thing3 of 11
"I once had a customer come in with a shoe that was over 20 years old. The brand isn't even around anymore. I called my manager because I didn't recognize the brand, but because the department store where I worked had a lax return policy, we gave her all her money back. Keep in mind she definitely wore those shoes every day for the last 20 years!"
—Aja, sales associate
Sew Obvious4 of 11
"A customer came into my store to return a jacket, but seemed like he was in a huge rush. I wanted to accommodate him so I quickly did the return and he left. Later on, my manager scolded me in front of everyone—apparently, I hadn't noticed there was a giant rip in the lining that had been stitched up very poorly. My bad."
Yellow Streak5 of 11
"When I was in college, I worked at a lingerie store. What sounds like a 'sexy' job really isn't, especially after this incident: One day when I was working the register, a woman tried to return a pair of panties. I checked to make sure they were unworn, but to my horror, I saw streak marks! I hid my disgust and apologized for not being able to return them. She tried to convince me—though on what grounds, I'm not sure—that I should return them, and she ended up talking to my manager, who did not allow her to return them either."
—Wendy, sales associate
Prom Queen6 of 11
"A high school girl came into my store trying to return an evening gown. Our manager had warned us to expect a lot of dress returns around prom season, and to be extra careful and check the items before accepting them. Within seconds of looking at the dress, I saw questionable stain marks and a rip at the hem, not to mention it smelled of alcohol and cigarette smoke!"
—Monica, sales associate
Bag Lady7 of 11
"When I was working at a big department store, a customer wanted to return a designer bag. I was doing a routine check to make sure it hadn't been worn, unzipping all the compartments, when I opened a side pocket she must have forgotten about. Inside I found loose change, mints, business cards and birth control pills! Needless to say, she walked out looking very embarrassed."
—Sara, sales associate
High-End Hustle8 of 11
"Customers often don't realize that associates at all the high-end clothing stores know each other. We had a younger client buy a printed dress and try to return it at our store, but the item was clearly worn. She said thanks and left, then asked where our Rodeo Drive location was. We knew she was going to try and return it there as well. Of course she did, and they said no too because we'd warned them. Moral of the story: Don't buy high-end clothing if you're planning on returning it!"
—Claudia, assistant store manager
Wise Up9 of 11
"A customer returned a blouse from a brand that wasn't sold in my department. I noticed that the brand did not match the tag or the price point of the item. Many shoplifters purchase lower-priced items and re-ticket them with tags of more expensive brands, so they can make money off the return. Then they'll return the item in a different department, assuming the sales associate won't recognize the brand or pricing. Very sketchy! Luckily, loss prevention staff is quick to catch them, so this doesn't happen often."
—Anonymous, sales associate
Family Affair10 of 11
"There was a family that would come in with a trash bag full of clothes so old that I had never even seen them. They had stapled the price tags on the back of the shirts, and the tags were so faded I could barely read the numbers. Because it was our store's policy, we had to give them store credit. They'd buy brand new clothes for free and do the same thing in the future. Long story short: Wash all your clothes before wearing them! You have no idea what they went through before you purchased them."
—Krissy, sales floor rep
Small World11 of 11
"I once had a customer try to return a dress that I knew had been worn, so I politely rejected her. She cursed me out and raised a huge fuss in the store, but I remained firm. 'Why the hell not?' she yelled. 'It's in perfect condition!' It's true no one would have been able to tell she had worn it, except I had gone to the exact same wedding where I saw her in the dress. Case closed."
—Shelley, store manager
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