Remember these jeans? I know. We’d rather not. But I was on a quest for baggy ankle length (relatively cheap) skinnies and I momentarily erred. I returned them with nary a blink; in fact, The Gap didn’t even need my credit card to return them because they had it on file, which gave me pause. In any case, I thought I had found my baggy ankle-length skinny, again at The Gap, with their straight leg, some-other-descriptive-detail jeans, which Sales Associate Hilary was super-helpful with. I bought them on sale and with an extra 25% discount for about $50.
Wordy, ranty post. I’m just warning you.
But here’s the thing. I didn’t wear them for a month (it turns out for exactly a month) and I have FIVE other pairs of jeans, not including the pair I just put in the giveaway pile. So I decided I didn’t need these extra Gap jeans I hadn’t even worn yet. Because obviously I don’t.
But here’s the catch. I (somehow) did not have my receipt for the jeans. This is rare as I am a chronic returner and never throw out receipts; A-Dubs calls me a Shopping Bulimic, which is alarmingly accurate. So yesterday, after a very productive, yet very trying, day that included a scheduled meeting with a colleague and a long, unscheduled lunch with another colleague, I decided (stupidly) to drive to the mall and return my unworn, still-with-the-tags-on jeans. Without the receipt but I was resigned to settling for a credit note if I had to.
You have 30 days to return things to The Gap. After that Sales Associates who were willing to search for your saved credit card via the computer will tell you they can do nothing for you. I left The Gap grumpy but then returned because I knew I was being fed a line to get rid of me–there is always something someone can do. I have worked retail. A lot. Usually as the non-manager underling unable to do a complicated return who is the first line of defense against an unhappy customer.
So I returned, because I was ONE DAY late returning the jeans (and there was a stat holiday during that time so I think I was on Day 30 anyway) and I asked if they could make an exception and I requested that I speak to the Manager. At which point the Sales Associate informed me, as she had not done so the first time I met with her, that she could issue me a credit for the current sale price of the jeans ($30 less than what I paid for them) despite the fact that the price tag was still attached to the jeans. I explained to her that I could produce a credit card receipt, if not a Gap receipt, to prove that I paid what I said (and what the tag said) I paid for the jeans. She said she had no way of knowing that I was telling the truth. Again I asked to speak to the Manager, whom she called.
The Manager was more sympathetic and friendlier than The Sales Associate and explained to me that there was little she could do because the computer system wouldn’t let her do anything. I suggested that there were probably manual overrides for the computer system and that if she needed to discuss the situation with a Regional Manager, I was willing to wait. She figured out a way to do the return. I have to wait for it to come in the mail, but it is for the full purchase price. I thanked The Manager and plan to write a letter to her boss commending her on her handling of the situation.
Here’s the thing. The Sales Associate was less than helpful, even skirted the territory of calling me a liar and she really did not have any proof that I wasn’t lying, I suppose. Still, why is assuming I am lying the first option? Though I think I kept my cool (even though I was seething) I know I was short and less than pleasant and, I’m sure of it, condescending. AND I was (technically) one day late returning the jeans, so she was justified, via her training, in refusing me help, even though she knew that The Manager could help me.
Now, I have a great job. It’s stressful. Very. But I have also worked at The Gap. For me, working at The Gap was a nightmare, with very poor remuneration and no benefits and little to no respect but I was a teenager at the time and The Sales Associate was not a teenager. I think that I pulled rank on her; she was not friendly or helpful but she has a super-crappy job, which I well know, and I no longer have a super-crappy job. Even though I was “triumphant” in my return quest, I was very unsettled by having to be a bitch about it, even though I knew I would have to be to get the staff at The Corporation Known As The Gap to do what I knew they were able to do. I resent this. I don’t resent the staff, who are only doing what they are corporate-trained to do, but I do resent the Corporation, who has put their employees in this first-defense position against reasonable requests.
I was super unsettled and ornery for the rest of the day and evening and I think it was because I don’t like having to be a bitch. But since when is being firm and reasonable and refusing to allow a Corporation to dictate their own version of reasonable to me, “being a bitch”? Since when is being firm and reasonable about anything “being a bitch”? This is a longer discussion that has more to do with things more important than shopping, but this post is already too long.
Finally, since I can’t have a post without a picture, let’s all admire my new boots again:
Yes, I am wearing them with my pyjamas.
I am going to enter these into Fashionable Academics Bad Ass Bondgirls Summer Boots Conference.
Are you submitting photos? You should! You have until Friday.