Thursday, May 8, 2008

"I don't wanna grow up, I'm a ToysRUs kid..."

Store: Toys R Us (Vancouver Broadway location)

I really hate putting a dollar value on friendship, which is why I'm never sure what's an appropriate amount of money to spend when it comes to a gift registry, whether it's for a wedding or a baby shower. And since I'm of somewhat limited means (not exactly starving, but not rolling in the hookers and blow either), I tend to forget that that I can't start living like I'm not.

So, needless to say, I ended up spending a bit more than I budgeted, and upon my significant other's reminder of the fact that I'm not rolling in hookers and blow, I took one item back. This is where it gets interesting.

As expected of registry gifts, it's typical to include a gift receipt. So, I politely ask the guy behind the counter if he can update the gift receipt to show the items purchased.

Of course, the purpose of the gift receipt is to tastefully and graciously allow for exchanges of gifts without getting into the awkward discussion as to how much was actually spent. You don't want to be seen as a chintzy scrounge and you don't want to make a huge show about blowing a large amount of money on a gift to make it look like you're expecting something in return.

Guy Behind the Counter: "Uh, I can cross it off the gift receipt."

And most of all, you REALLY don't want the gift recipient to know the details about how you obtained the gift, and really, a person's income level and ability to pay for stuff is not really something that you discuss out in the open. And as much as I like to think that I'm on equal terms with my friends, it's safe to say that we're not. He's financially prepared to deal with the responsibilities that come with raising a child. I am not. And really, he does NOT need to know that I had to return one of the items.

Upon hearing the clerk's suggestion, I immediately counter with, "Don't you think that's a little bit tacky?"

After a bit of back and forth, the clerk tells me that he can do it, and it involves refunding every single item purchased and then ringing it through again. But, it'll take "a long time." "What's a long time?" I ask. It's apparently about ten minutes.

Guy Behind the Counter: "Do you really need a gift receipt?"

I look at my watch. It'll take at least ten minutes to get to my next destination and I have to be there in twenty. And I gotta go to the bathroom really bad.

I take my refund and I leave, but I actually say "thank you" as I go.

Maybe the guy is having a bad day, but couldn't he just THINK a little bit before suggesting that I give my friend a gift receipt that clearly shows that I had to take one of the items back?

UPDATE (May 10th): The day of the baby shower, I have a little more time (relatively speaking) to get a proper gift receipt and I return to the Toys R Us location, this time to speak to a manager. They honour my request without any question, even though I'm pretty eager to tell them the story about what happened and assure them that I'm not mad at them per se, although I do think that they should be aware of what's happening in their store. And, it happens to take significantly less than 10 minutes. And icing on the cake: it turns out that two if the items that I previously purchased actually went on sale the day I returned. Turns out that the first guy being too lazy to process a return properly and reissue an updated gift receipt was a blessing in disguise...that netted me back $10 plus tax.

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