Men and women have to shop differently. Men only enter a store to buy exactly what they have researched and bring it home for good. Women browse, buy many options and return what they don't need later. It's Radio Shack's fault (or Best Buy or Fry's or Home Depot). Here's why.
My daughter, Paige, and I ran a short errand to Blockbuster last week to return Disney's The Little Mermaid DVD. Paige thought we were going inside, but I just threw the overdue DVD (not "own-it" overdue, thank goodness) in the "Quik Drop." I picked Paige up and scurried down the strip mall's promenade to my secret destination: Radio Shack.
With Paige struggling to not slip down my winter coat, I rushed to the cashier and announced I had a return or exchange for a satellite signal booster (RS brand). How it went down:
RS Goon: "Yes sir…"
Me: "Yeah, I want to return this."
Paige, dropping out of my grip to the floor: "Dinosaurs, Daddy!"
RS: "Do you have your receipt?"
Me, chasing after Paige before she mangles the remote control velociraptor : "Nope."
RS: "Do you know when you bought it? Like in the last week or month?"
Me: "Yeah, no, I can't really remember, sorry."
RS: "Maybe I can look up the ticket, if it was recent. What's your name and phone number?"
I give up the info while coaxing Paige over to the badly stocked drawers of electronic component parts. I search for 470 mF 35V radial capacitors for my CMoy headphone amp project.
RS: "I'm sorry, sir, but I'm not finding it, do you have any idea when you bought it?"
Me: "No. So you can't take it back?"
RS: "Not unless we can find the receipt." To Paige who's standing behind me with her own cap, admiring a remote control convertible Mustang GT, "You can fit your Barbies in there." What two year old has Barbies? Don't make small talk with my kid.
I take back the coaxial booster: "Alright, forget it. Let's go Paige."
Just so you know, I bought the booster over six months ago, and I'm not sure it was even from that Radio Shack. So I'm kind of a jerk for trying to return it. But, shouldn't I be able to? It is a Radio Shack branded product, after all. The booster is mint in box and I don't think they would have any problem hanging it back up on the shelf to sell again. All I wanted was store credit to pick up some capacitors.
So men (or I) can't shop like women (or my wife). I can't walk into a store, try everything on, buy half of it, try it on again at home and then return what I don't like within the 30-day policy.
Since I've moved into my house in the suburbs I've had to buy lots of plumbing supplies, TV cabling and other connectivity products. When I'm at the store I go brain dead and I never know whether I need a 5/8 or 1/2 inch p-trap. So I buy both, thinking I'll return the wrong one. I currently have three plastic shopping bags full of pipes and faucets in my workshop that I need to return. They've sat there for months beyond their return grace period.
I can only hope that Home Depot, Lowes or Menard's treats me like a customer who's continued business they appreciate, unlike Radio Shack.
P.S. Because I'm a sucker who owns a Radio Shack brand soldering iron, I have to shop for a screwdriver tip tonight, ugh.