I went to Best Buy today to return a couple of DVDs that I'd decided not to give as Christmas gifts after all. I didn't have the recipts anymore, but they were both marked with Best Buy stickers that had both the price and the name of the movie listed. Nevertheless, it was a major problem in exchanging them.
First, I was told that they could be returned without a recipt, only they would have to look up my history on my Discover Card. I didn't realize Best Buy kept records based on my credit card purchases, and it was kind of creepy finding out. Regardless, looking up the DVDs took a long time. I waited, and waited, and waited. While two different people were supposedly helping me, they also took phone calls, helped several other customers, and chatted with other employees.
Eventually, I'd had enough waiting, so I asked one of "customer service" people what time it was. He said it was about 11:45. Shit. I'd been standing at that counter for 35 minutes! I was supposed to take my mother-in-law to the doctor at noon, and now I was going to be late. "It's going to be just a while longer," I was told. "We found one of the movies, but we're still looking up the other one." You'd think I had a customer history a mile long (a theory my wife would probably readily accept), but I don't purchase that many things there. I finally gave up. I asked for my DVDs back and said I'd come back in a few hours to try again.
After finishing up at the doctor's office, though, I didn't return to Best Buy as I'd claimed. Instead, I went to Wal-Mart. I peeled the price stickers off the DVDs and brought them to the customer service counter. I had bought the DVDs on sale from a different store and had no recipt, yet within 60 seconds, I was handed a store credit for their full price with no questions asked.
There are a lot of reasons I hate Wal-Mart. But the ease with which customers can take advantage of them is one of the few for which I love them.