Do you become anxious when returning something to the shop?



My friend had recently bought a small pressure cooker and he did not notice a small, insignificant (insignificant is my judgement not his) dent at the bottom. His wife, observant as always noticed the dent and brought it to his attention. He immediately packed the cooker and kept it for return. His wife felt it was no big deal, but my friend made it a point to return the cooker as he felt a new thing that had been paid for should not be accepted if it can be returned and replaced.


The childhood dread

That set me thinking that there are many of us who dread the idea of going back to a store to return things. I used to suffer this anxiety as a child when my mom would send me to a shop to return something I had bought wrongly. I would take all the parameters of the thing to be bought (size, numbers, quantity, brand name, alternative brand if the original she wanted was not there, the correct price for it etc) but still would have tripped up somewhere on one of the items bought. So trudge along to the shop with great reluctance and hoping the shopkeeper would not make a fuss of it and wondering why adults at home had to be so stiff about something so insignificant. Most times the shopkeepers would accept the return without blinking. The fear was only in my head. As we grew up, it became easier to return things that we did not like, did not want or were a wrong purchase.


Hundred reasons for not returning, one for returning

But I realized that there are still adults around who dread the ‘return it to the shop’ journey. Left to themselves they may never return it. But if they are forced by a parent, elder, friend or most importantly the spouse, they wish they did not have to go through the ordeal. The thing they have bought may not be of the right size, right quantity, the brand they wanted, may have a defect in it or any of the other myriad valid reasons for returning it. What causes the reluctance? Most shopkeepers are decent enough to accept a return. In fact, many stores do have a return policy. You can return it in seven days or such. Often today many shops are impersonal too unlike in the olden days. So it is not even a person to person transaction. And by experience, most such transactions do go smoothly. In spite of all this, why do some people dread the idea of returning something to the store?

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