But I Don’t Return Merchandise

Last week I picked up a pair of shorts that were much smaller than the label indicated. At the time of purchase I did not realize this, the next day when I tried them on I did. I quickly deduced that even if I were to lose all muscle and flesh, and just be left with my bone structure, the shorts would still not fit properly. They were a lost cause (even reattaching the button was not an option, they were that small). The tag lied and I fell for it. This raised a dilemma. Should I return the shorts?

This might seem like an obvious question to you, but for me it was not. See, as I pondered this question I had to factor in this: I had never returned a piece of merchandise in my life.*

After some deliberation I reached the conclusion that I would return the shorts because it was the sensible thing to do. And so this evening I found myself sitting in my car holding a pair of shorts and a receipt, trying to convince myself to walk into the store and do the sensible thing.

I couldn’t.

In the parking lot I called my sister to ask a question I had been meaning to ask (completely unrelated to returning merchandise). I read a chapter in my car owner’s manual. I filled out paperwork for a purchasing card transaction I had to file from work.I just couldn’t get out of my car.

I put my key back in the ignition, thinking my streak of never returning an item would live on. I’m leaving.

But I didn’t. I summoned all the resolution I had, walked into the store, and returned the pair of shorts. That suddenly the streak died.

Now I can no longer say I have never returned an item. I do not intend to change my purchasing habits in the future. At this pace my next return will be sometime around 2042.

*My lack of returning things is due to my belief that purchases should be thought out well enough to eliminate the need to return things. I am usually very careful to avoid buying things that don’t fit, and I do not return things after experiencing buyer’s remorse. Having this policy in place ensures that my purchases are deliberate and not excessively impulsive (and if they are impulsive I know I will have to live with the results).

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