Customer Service, Just the Facts, Speaking from Experience, Work

The Life-Cycle of Retail Returns

Have you ever wondered what happens to the items that get returned? Does it go back on the shelf? Does it get sent back to the vendor? Does it get donated? Does it get thrown out?

It depends on what the item is and how the vendor wants us to process their merchandise. What I hope to accomplish by sharing this information, is that you the consumer will make better choices in the future because you may be surprised to learn about how many perfectly new in box items get thrown out.

First, let’s start with food items. All food items that leave the store and get returned get thrown out. It’s not just the expired, moldy, stale items or the items that have been opened and you didn’t care for it after one bite. It’s also the food items that you buy in excess of for parties, BBQs, family dinners that are perfectly fine, unopened, or simply bought the wrong kind. That all goes right in the garbage. Do you really need that $3 for the pack of hot dog buns that bad? You know that you can freeze them, right? You could offer them to a friend, a neighbor, or donate it to your local food pantry.

While there is a lot of perfectly good food being wasted, it’s not as bad as all of the infant and baby products. All strollers, car seats, cribs, bassinettes, high chairs, beds, walkers, formula, baby food, diapers, pretty much anything that an infant or toddler would use or consume is an automatic garbage item. Yes, even if it is brand new in the box that has never been opened. Why? Liability.

What if the item I bought was not the right color, the item on the box looked teal, but when I opened it, the color is more of a powder blue. It’s new, never been assembled. It gets thrown out.

What if the item is the wrong size? They grow so fast and are in the next size up in diapers. Diapers, Pull-Ups, Little Swimmers all get thrown out.

What if I ordered the changing table online and I received one at my baby shower before my order arrived? The answer is still the same, it will get thrown out.

We know those baby products aren’t cheap, the store will still give you a refund. We just can’t put that merchandise back on the shelf.

When you’re putting together a Gift Registry for a baby shower, make sure that your friends and family know the importance of clearing any items they purchase off of the list to avoid duplicate items. If you are creating multiple Gift Registries at different locations Babies R’ Us, Target, Wal-mart, Sears make sure that you are not including a crib from each store, unless you do need more than one.

Thanks to social media, many areas have set up Buy/Sell/Trade pages to allow local residents the option to make personal sales with each other. If you find that you have a duplicate item that is brand new in the box and you don’t want it to get thrown out, why not list it for sale to recoup your money. Thus allowing another family the opportunity to make use of a perfectly good item that would have gone right in the garbage.

Food and baby items are the biggest contributors to unnecessary waste. Please consider an alternative before returning these unopened, perfectly good items to the retailer.

 

 

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