Even the well seasoned Dillardâ€™s manager was taken aback by this one. A customer brought in a pair of moderately expensive dress shoes, expressing a desire to return them because they just werenâ€™t quite right. As the manager processed the order she checked inside the box to be sure that the shoes in the box were the shoes the matched the box â€“ past experience dictated that follow-up on returns. The shoes were the correct ones for the box, but the customer had another issue. The shoes had masking tape on the bottom â€“ masking tape that was dirty. When the manager returned to the customer she said, â€œYou forgot to remove the masking tape from your shoes.â€ The customer responded, â€œI only wore them once. Thatâ€™s all I needed them for.â€
From Neiman Marcus to Saks to Dillardâ€™s and back, managers have to stay one step ahead of customers, er, lessees, who buy, er, lease for free, dresses and now shoes for one use with premeditated intent to return the merchandise. Stores now place tags strategically so that the dresses cannot be worn without cutting them off and there are no returns if the tags are cut off on formal wear.
Dear reader, lest you think that the problem is limited to women and formal wear, talk to your Ace Hardware or Home Depot manager about the folks who â€œbuyâ€ a special tool, try to use it once, and then return it. The hardware/home improvement stores are left with opened packaging and used goods by buy-it-temporarily customers.
Oh, the costs to the stores. Oh, the costs to others who must pay the higher prices that result from returned goods and special tags. Oh, the tangled webs we weave with masking tape. We call them merchants because they sell goods; they do not lease them for free.