As a public service, I hereby present a handbook for the most important activity you can undertake this time of year.
Returning items to the store.
In Australia, they have a holiday devoted to returns. They call it Boxing Day.
Yes folks, I am a self-proclaimed expert.
Don't challenge me.
I have successfully returned used underwear for a cash refund.
Gross, but for those who appreciate a good return, inspiring.
Chapter One: attitude. Attitude is the key. Never appear overanxious. Clerks smell anxiety over returns like dogs smell fear.
Act nonchalant. The less important it seems to you, the more important it is to the store to please you.
Chapter Two: appearance. Dress well. If you appear to have money, you are a future customer. You'll come back to spend again if you leave happy.
Chapter Three: charm. Make them like you. You are almost timid but with a big smile. Complimentary toward the friendly clerk in the beautiful store you've been shopping at for years. They'll fall over one another to help you.
Chapter Four: accept cash substitutes. Lifting greenbacks from the register is always painful. Accept store credits or gift cards. Believe me, you'll be back in that store sometime and that gift card is as good as cash.
Chapter Five: it was a gift. If asked, tell them it was a gift. No one likes to see a disappointed child who received the wrong size or the wrong color or just something that wasn't right for him. The store will wants to erase that disappointment. If you purchased the item for yourself, you're not lying: it was a gift you bought for yourself.
Chapter Six: use a bag from the store. Bring the item into the store using a bag with the store label. If you don't have one, go get one. There's something about walking into Kohl's with a Kohl's bag in hand. It lends authenticity to the whole transaction. In this same vein, return clothes neatly folded or in store hangers, if possible.
Chapter Seven: win over the manager. Most store managers are way too busy to argue with customers. They can say "no" quickly to an overbearing complainer or "yes" to a friendly, loyal customer who just can't say enough good things about this outstanding retailer. Managers have the power to take back anything so play it smart: make that manager click his heels over the chance to please you.
So there you have it. Seven rules that will allow you to return anything without a receipt.
My track record goes back many years and is without blemish. It doesn't matter the age of the item, or the amount of use the item has received.
As you can see it all lies in your approach to the problem.
Use positive energy when you approach that formica counter and give the clerk and the store manager the opportunity to do something that they've been instructed to do through months of training: please the customer.
Many happy returns of the day.