August 19, 2009

Caught on Tape


If I were a Neanderthal, I would be a hunter-gatherer. My heart races whenever I step foot into a store like Marshalls, where inventory changes daily, half the stuff doesn't have a price tag, and nothing is where it is supposed to be.

Last week, I found what is perhaps my greatest treasure yet: a pair of navy wedge heels for $10. I found the shoes in the shoe department of all places...and they were even in a box!!!

After purchasing the shoes and taking them home, I realized that there was a good reason why they were so cheap.

"Those shoes are really ugly," my husband observed.

A few days later, I tried to take the shoes back. After scanning the shoes and my receipt, the woman at the return counter informed me that she couldn't refund my money. The product code on the receipt didn't match the shoes I had in the bag.

After a considerable amount of head scratching, we noticed that the price tag was missing half of its bar code. Rather than hunt down the correct bar code, the cashier who rang me up probably typed in a generic code.

The manager was super understanding. "People bring in bogus receipts all the time," he told me. To give credence to his theory that I was trying to swindle $10 from the corporation, he called the supervisor of the shoe department, who confirmed that she had never seen the shoes before in her life.

The manager smiled smugly as he hung up the phone.
"There's nothing you can do?" I asked.

"The only way to verify that you bought the shoes when you did and for what you said you did," the man told me, "Is to look at the security tape at your time of purchase."

Searching 8,000 hours of security tape to verify a $10 purchase seemed like a reasonable request and a productive use of everyone's time, so I agreed.

"This is going to take at least an hour," the man warned, clearly annoyed.

I told him to page me when he found the evidence. I would be digging through the clearance section of the housewares section.

As I made my way to the shelf of unfolded towels, chipped serving platters, and ceramic Easter eggs, I began to have a change of heart. The shoes weren't that ugly. The more I looked at them, in fact, the more I started to actually like them.

Fifteen minutes later, I stopped by the return counter.

"Tell the manager that I've changed my mind," I told the woman. "I've decided to keep the shoes."

46 comments

mommame said...

Funny post. They're aren't that bad, but you can always get rid of them on craigslist. Someone would come pick them up by noon.

hil said...

i like them. a wedge heel? a slight T strap? NAVY? i think you got a screaming deal. my only complaint is that you didn't wait until he found the footage of your heist, THEN said you decided to keep them. he would've pulled out what was left of his hair and pooped in his discounted, slightly irregular pants.

Babs said...

Funniest thing yet today! I love it! That was my first job. In his defense, people really do bring back the weirdest stuff and try to pass it off, for even less than $10. the worst is if it looked worn and smelled at arms length. but really? verified by video?? he better amp up his brush off skills, but then again you fell for it and went home with shoes. he was prob out back by the dumpster having a smoke break.

Emz said...

eBay them - Been selling for 7 years. Love Marshall's but I had a similar experience there as well but lucky me - I was accused of "tag switching". Apparently that's where you take a $9.99 tag and put a $7.99 tag over it and try to swindle them out of their $2.00. Actually, don't think I'd been more offended in my life {guess I didn't get out much} but wowza - where do they "train" these people?!

The Mother said...

I like those shoes. Especially the wedge heel. They're more stable and more comfy and they are hard to find. I'll take 'em off your hands.

Deanna said...

That was great! I wonder if the manager ever found you on tape? LOL! Maybe he's still looking. Serves 'em right.

Elise said...

haha...to each their own. I totally would have waited for him to find the security tape just to prove a point. So funny- makes me want to go buy something at Marshalls to see if they'd do that to me. I want to see who has the patience to go through the security tapes. HAHA

{Kiki} said...

Ha ha! You are not only the "meanest mom" you are the "meanest shopper". I used to work in retail. You would have been my worst nightmare. I think the shoes are cute. Take care.
-Kiki

Lynn said...

I can't count the number of times I've bought something because "it was such a good deal", only to realize that it so wasn't worth it. Why do we spend lots of small amounts on garbage items instead of investing that same amount into a few good quality items?

becca said...

LOL! I have to say, I used to work in the shoe dept of kohls, and that is probably the nicest pair of shoes that someone replaced (for the pair they stole) I have ever seen! LOL. You are soooo funny.

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer, Crazy Woman said...

Your blog is my new favorite. And I think they are cute, I like the wedge heel.

DV-Becca said...

I'll buy them off you for 10$$$

Jenglamgirl said...

WHAT DO HUBBY'S KNOW! SERIOUSLY such cute shoes. With navy tights and a grey tweed skirt and navy ruffled blouse... SO CUTE! funny story as usual, you rock!

Sarah@Neoteric.Traditional said...

I'm really picky about shoes, which is why I have so few, but I think those are probably cute on. Many things work that way. But if it were me, and I still had the shoes in hand I would have just left without saying a word. But it was probably a brush off because I'm pretty sure the receipt would have been time stamped so it wouldn't have been all that hard to look it up.

Nancy said...

Three words - Yard. Sale. Awesome.

Jan Russell said...

I'm glad you kept them! Just think of how happy it will make Dorothy from church, when she sees you in something sensible ;)

Stephanie said...

I honestly think those shoes are cute!

Viv said...

TJ Maxx just made my list of places to avoid at all costs. I was sifting through the clearance racks last weekend, my children were looking at toys located directly behind me. My daughter found a soccer ball. She picked up the ball and squeezed it to see if any air escaped (if you shop their clearance racks, you understand why) and was promptly yelled at by an employee to stop playing around. When my daughter looked up at me with watery eyes and asked if I would carry it to the register so that she could buy it, I said no. I put back my gathered items and asked to speak to a manager. Who simply shrugged her shoulders and said, "too bad about that," when I explained why they had just lost my business after 17 years. I just love management! Good for you!

Sara said...

I like them! In fact, I wouldn't mind having a brown or black pair!

Corey and Kim Nasfell said...

I was a customer service manager at TJMAXX for several years and I gotta tell ya, you could SERIOUSLY get that store in LOADS of trouble for the way they treated you! TJMaxx and Marshalls are owned by the same company and have the same policies. We never, ever, EVER batted an eye at a customer making a return such as yours UNLESS we KNEW that they were a bogus repeat return offender (which we had HUNDREDS of but we KNEW all of them because we caught them on a daily basis...we knew their names, their descriptions and even their accomplices' names). Even with ALL that said, if it was for less than twenty bucks it wasn't ever even worth the fight or drama and we'd still end up returning their crap (even if we KNEW for a fact that it was a switch). We'd warn them, let them know we were on to them, and let them go. In your case I am SHOCKED, literally SHOCKED, that the manager was THAT STUPID (especially after you insisted on them finding the footage)! I really, really, REALLY wish you would have made them find the footage because I had to do that a few times and it is literally nearly impossible! Anyways, the point to my story, is you should get on the Marshalls website and write one of your fabulous short essays about how you were treated like a criminal because they will get a major, MAJOR hit on their customer service score and then we can all say "Wahahahahaha!!" Then, return and report your success! ;)

I'm Kim by the way, and I LOVE your blog!

Kirsten and Sean said...

They are really not bad, from what I can tell. I think you should have waited to see the footage. THat could have been seriously entertaining to see yourself on tape, THEN decide to keep them! However, as entertaining and almost made up this sometimes seems, if I was in your position...I probably would have just taken the shoes too without a fuss., ha ha

Jennifer Jensen said...

LMAO!

Jo's girl said...

oh dude you are mean!
like every other girl my 1st jobs were retail. the rudeness of customers and their inconsideration was enough to make me never quiet college as a avoidance motivator. but I empathize with how miserably they are. and just the picking up after people?! makes my head hurt thinking about it. (I'm a rather tidy person and more than a little ocd in that department) so a place like marshalls or ross would give me an aneurism in minutes. I rarely shop at such places because I am cursed and never find anything remotely cute.
but that guy was a jerk and is probably only suited to work at such places -either that or telemarketing.

Deirdre said...

Love the story, but I'm amazed that customer service continues to go down the tubes in this economy! Even the discount stores' sales are down from last year, and I'm sure there are plenty of people who would be willing to fill that manager's job and do a better job. The customer may not be always right, but it's better to not treat them like a crook. Good for you!

Lainie said...

Aw, you should've waited longer ;)

Anonymous said...

I had a problem like that at walmart once, wouldn't let me exchange an unopened can of formula, with reciept. We had bought two and found out our son was allergic. It's not like I was returning the opened one, and not as if they weren't able to send it back, it was their own store version in the first place.

Retail is difficult, I worked it and I do know some people just change their shoes at the store and walk out with the new ones. But since their stores are like garage sale stuff you think they'd just be happy to move it.

Rebecca is Thrilled by the Thought said...

You are so funny! And that manager is completely ridiculous!

keeley said...

I think these are the cutest shoes! (And I should know; I'm an avid collector.. :) I'd be glad to take them off your hands for you!

Michelle said...

Awesome!

If a manager told me he had to review security tapes to confirm my purchase I probably would've flipped my lid. It is not your fault his cashiers can't ring up the purchase right.

Kohl's is awesome about price adjustments and returns. Last night a shirt I brought to the register rang up for $20 which at time of checkout I decided was too much and told the lady I thought it was only $15 but probably looked at the wrong sign. She said no problem, I can give it to you for $15 and did. Made me want to shop at Kohl's more.

Jennifer said...

Even if you DID have a change of heart, you should have made him go through that tape.. and not left that store until SOMEONE gave you your money back. For me, it would have been about the principal and I would NOT have let them have the satisfaction of making me look like some sort of thief!

thetallgrl said...

I agree. Those shoes are very cute. Love the T-strap! I'm 6 feet tall and appreciate wedges for their stability.

And the jerk at Marshalls should be fired. Thanks for making me laugh. AGAIN!

Katie said...

Don't you hate that when they don't want to do something . . . just makes me want to tell them to do it. I did that at a Mrs. Fields cookie joint, the woman cheated me out of $10 and I made her go through her whole role of tape to prove it.

Shop Girl* said...

I think they are kinda cute. And navy shoes that are half decent are SO hard to find... *sigh*

Brenda said...

I hate those stores! I hate the hunt, in fact. I thought women were supposed to be born with the hunt gene, but it must skip a generation.

BTW, the shoes aren't bad. And for ten bucks, who cares?

AlsoMean said...

Once you tire of them, they can go in the dress up box

Tricia said...

Oh my word. I seriously would have waited for him to locate you on the tape and THEN told him I changed my mind and wanted to keep the shoes. The entertainment value alone would have been worth $10. Too funny!

Lady Mama said...

Wow. That seems like a lot of fuss over $10. You'd think they would just give you the money and send you on your way.

Kath said...

I found your blog tonight, I love it but I have you beat... I've been telling my kids for 23 years that I am the meanest mom in the world, and if they need me to I'll prove it! I had a fun couple of hours reading :)

Lindy said...

On purpose of principle ONLY, I would've made them find me on tape first. :)

Jamie said...

I love the shoes! For $10 I agree you got a steal. Navy is hard to find in cute shoes.

Aimee said...

The shoes are cute! Love the wedge heel and t-strap!

Too Many Hats said...

That is hilarious! My dd has shoes very much like those and she loves them. My guess is that manager will never again offer to look through the security tapes - he obviously didn't think you would take him up on it. LOL

Renny said...

Marshall's is the devil. Big drama with them in my childhood. They swindled my parents out of hundreds of dollars and didn't even care.
I should go there often and demand they go through security tapes.

Deb said...

So have you been back to that Marshall's?

Just discovered your blog and love it. Think I failed the math test, though (numberphobic English major here).

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Were you nice? I've never had them be that difficult, but then again I'm pretty much a beast when I don't get my way... and they are ugly. Kuddos to your hubster!

mejaneyoucrazy.blogspot.com said...

I think that is so funny! My husband wouldnt know a good shoe if it hit him in the butt. However, my best friend just told me my shoe collection looks like I stole them from a dead old lady, and unfortuatly I like those shoes. ( sorry- that may not be a good sign).