Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A return desk for cards

I've mentioned several times here that I worked in a department store when I was in college. It was a pretty good gig as far as minimum wage jobs go, but there was one thing that frustrated me in particular.

The return desk.

I never worked there, and I was always grateful for that. But I would be summoned up to the return desk periodically for a question on an article that someone was returning. Frequently, my response to the question was something related to this: "Don't let them get away with it."

I found out quickly that all kinds of schemers frequented the return desk. It wasn't just the people who bought something and then saw that the item they bought went on sale three days later and returned it for the new deal. I could live with them.

It was the people who returned stuff that was:

A) Broken
B) Torn
C) Worn frequently
D) Not from our store
E) Probably not from our country
F) Possibly not legal
G) Unidentifiable

Most of the time, I'd weigh in, the return desk worker would handle it from there, and nobody got hurt. But sometimes the customer would be particularly obstinate and insist on seeing a manager. There was this one manager who would say the same thing every time, no matter what the item was, whether it came from our store or not, whether it looked like 3-year-olds had chewed on it or not. He'd say, "We'll accept that."

Incredulous, I'd walk back to my department with my world view shattered, usually carrying a freshly returned item that I couldn't put back on a shelf because it didn't look like anything in our store. I'd stash it in a cabinet somewhere and it probably sat there until they closed down the store for good years later -- no doubt from going bankrupt from accepting too many returns that weren't theirs.

OK, I see you're tapping your foot again. "What's this have to do with cards?"

Well, I got the above card from Section 36 recently. I recognized it immediately as a card that I had purchased from COMC a few months ago. Instantly, I felt a tinge of regret that I had purchased this card when it would come to me in a trade a short time later.

I had this sudden urge to return it. I know it probably cost me like 30 cents. I didn't care. I wanted to return it.

I have never returned a card before. Ever. I know big-time ebayers probably do it all the time. But I'm so out-of-touch in this area, and have almost never received a card that was damaged, that I didn't even know whether online card sites had return policies.

It turns out they do ("no, duh," you're saying). But since my original Classic Hershiser card wasn't damaged, I'm out of luck, according to COMC's return policy. If I was a first-time customer, COMC cuts you some slack, but I'm not one of those either.

I suppose I could be a pain in the ass and hassle COMC until they said, "OK, OK, we'll accept that." Like a certain manager I once knew. But I don't play that game.

I also don't return items that I discover are on sale three days later. (If it was a major purchase, I might consider it, but I've usually done my homework on major purchases). But I often wonder, are there collectors who return cards because they ended up with the same card a few days later? Judging by the amount of people that I saw in the return line who did that, I would think there would be. Do they ever get away with it? Because I sure have a lot of dupes that I would like to unload.

OK, this is just me being facetious. But, gosh darn it, it's frustrating to go out of your way to select a particular card for purchase and then another one just happens to pop up in your mailbox.

So to make that feeling go away, here are some cards from Section 36 that I received that I didn't have:

He also sent me a crucial need for my 2012 Allen and Ginter set quest:

Darvish didn't win ROY, you can let go of his cards now.

This means I am down to needing just the following A&G cards:

47, 312, 313, 321, 323, 328, 329

That's Buster Posey and six short-prints. I guess I'm not completing this set early after all.

So if you have any of those, look me up. I'll try to find something for you that you don't have already.

Because you can't return these things, you know.


  1. I only have the Posey and 313 (Pena). But if you want those two, they are yours.

  2. Let's do it up! I got some Sox somewheres.

  3. Glad to see that you needed a few of them, and they didn't all cause you angst!

  4. I bought a bunch of cards off of COMC before they changed shipping around. They are still sitting there waiting for me to pay the shipping. I have since received a few in trades and I thought about relisting them. It wouldn't exactly be returning them but it would be close.

  5. I had a girlfriend who would return stuff to Nordstrom all the time and it bugged the heck out of me. They would accept everything she returned... no questions asked.

    Those people bug me almost as much as people who pick up things off the rack... walk around a little bit... and then put it down in a different area. Guess my pet peeves are starting to show ;-)

  6. People absolutely abuse Costco's return policy. You know how many christmas trees get returned in January? Or hot tubs in October?

  7. I work a second job nights at a department store. We will take anything back, no matter how used or broken it is. There is also no time limit on returns. Bought it in 2002? Bring it in! We once took back a vacuum cleaner full of gravel. Apparently it didn't work anymore...

  8. I use ebay quite a bit and have never returned anything. I'm a complete push-over as a buyer and seller. I've even been sent the wrong cards, or as often happens wrong number ("you wanted all 3 lots of 9 Parvigio Wallachs?"). I just send an email asking them to correct it and let it go if they don't.

    As a seller I'm an even bigger push-over. I just refund the money and tell them to keep the card(s) in question. If I think it's total B.S. (one particular Hockey Jersey card $0.35 sale comes to mind) I may add some passive-aggressive snark to the message.

  9. Wal-Mart actually stopped selling Christmas trees for a while because so many got returned in January. That's not my favorite Wal-Mart return story though. Someone in the mid 90's brought in a thermos for a return. The company that made the thermos went out of business years before Wal-Mart even existed. But, the store made up a price and gave the customer store credit for the "return."