What’s Wrong With Me that I Can’t Return Stuff To Stores

Question: Dear Luise: I have a hard time returning items that I have bought. It’s something that has always been difficult for me. Sometimes the clerks are terrible but not always. I would rather throw something away, even a costly purchase, than go through the misery I feel inside trying to drag myself to the returns desk. I haven’t talked with anyone about this because I feel embarrassed. I know someone who buys clothing to wear to a big event, planning all along to return it. This person goes to really costly stores where they treat people like her like royalty. The day after the wedding she makes up some excuse and heads back to the store full of false indignity and it works! Not me! Why? Betty

Answer: Dear Betty: I for one feel proud that I don’t do that. You should, too. There may be such a huge mark-up in that store that they can afford to treat the frauds well, but don’t think for a moment they are fooled. There’s just no proof.

Sometimes returning merchandise is very hard. Some stores and web sites deliberately make it difficult, knowing that a lot of people will just give up. It’s a personal decision each of us has to make regarding how much stress we want to endure.

However, if every return brings fear and trembling then you need to look deeper. The fear of rejection and disapproval may be deep-seated and have nothing to do with returning unwanted or unsatisfactory items. It may be about self-worth, or the lack thereof. If the whole issue is huge for you, you may want to work on the underlying cause with a therapist.

If it hasn’t reached those proportions, I would suggest you select stores to buy from that have liberal return policies and get some positive feed-back. I would also suggest that you look at your buying skills, if this happens too often. Do you buy on impulse? Maybe you need to slow down and be more aware of what you select. Try going home and thinking about it, if that’s the case.

Also, do you have a friend or family member that can return things easily? If so, why not ask one of them to accompany you for moral support? Or maybe you could go along with them and watch to see how they do it. It’s a skill. You may need a teacher and some practice.

Start out by declaring that you will never toss anything again out of fear. Then, don’t go back to any store where you aren’t treated well, and talk to a supervisor if that happens again. Get some wins under your belt and some support. Blessings, Luise

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