Collected Wisps of Thought

{January 16, 2008}   Brookstone

Here is a ridiculous story for you, and a good reason not to shop at Brookstone for gifts…

My mother bought a light-up dog leash at Brookstone for my dad for Christmas. Unfortunately, shortly after she bought it, we found out their beloved dog had kidney failure and wouldn’t live very long. This was devastating news and obviously made the dog leash gift an inappropraite one.

Mom took the leash, still wrapped in the Brookstone gift wrap to the nearest store. When she bought the leash she had no reason to think she’d have to return it since she didn’t know their dog was dying, so she didn’t keep the receipt. She explained the situation to the manager of the store and showed him the package, still gift wrapped (so obviously she couldn’t have nabbed it from the store and taken it up to the register). The leash, once unwrapped was still sealed and the package has Brookstone stamped all over it, as all their products do, so there was no question it was their product.

They refused to let her return it.

Mom went home and dug through her credit card statements and found the one with the Brookstone charge on it for the exact amount of the dog leash. She took the leash in to the store, again explained the situation, yet they still refused to take it back even with her credit card bill in hand.

They gave her a 1-800 number which she called from home. It took a half hour on the phone, but finally the customer service people went into their files, found the record of her purchase and wrote up a form which they faxed to her so she could take it back to the store.

She did so. The store manager refused to take the return because it wasn’t an “original” form.

At this point, my mom was furious and so she refused to leave, and made them go in the office and call customer service back themselves. The manager kept her waiting at the counter for over half an hour. Then he came out and said they’d give her half the cost of the leash. Mom said that was not acceptable and made them go back in and call again. (Go mom!) This time they kept her waiting nearly forty-five minutes. 

The end result was that they finally took the return, but they definitely lost several customers in the process. This is an example of a small thing that could have been handled with compassion and efficiency (ie: good customer service) but instead was handled with an eye for the bottom line: money.

But you know what? Even if my mother had walked away and they’d made their $40 on refusing her return, they still would be losing out in the long run since we will not shop there again, and will warn everyone we know that if you’re buying gifts you want people to be able to return should they not like them, then Brookstone is not the place you want to shop.

It’s sad when rules and greed come before compassion and care.

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