One More Reason To Hate People

This is a problem I’ve been reading about with increased frequency.  A person will buy some thing, then fill the box with something else and return it, getting a refund and keeping the original thing.  In the cases I’ve been reading about, it’s hard drives.  A person will buy an external hard drive, open the case, switch out the large hard drive with a small hard drive (working or even not working) and return it to the store.

What happens is the store looks inside the box (maybe), sees everything is there and puts it back on the shelf for someone else to buy it and discover they got a tiny hard drive instead of what they thought they were getting.  That customer brings it back to the store and the cycle repeats.

This is very lucrative for some people, for people that lack morals, anyway.  But this happened to me on a less lucrative item, although no less infuriating.  I purchased an outdoor LED security light.  It wasn’t super cheap, in the $30 range.  I got it home and when I opened the box, inside was your typical two-light incandescent light mount, probably under $15.

Now, I am faced with a bunch of bullshit.  First is the wasted time and travel to return and replace this item.  Second is the thought that the store doesn’t really know that I wasn’t the one that made the switch and am trying to pull the scam off myself.  Third is the thought that the store may not actually take any action on this and put it back on the floor to repeat the cycle.  Clearly, something must be done here.

It’s easy to put the blame on the store, and I’m mostly in agreement.  I can understand the customer service part of no-hassle returns and wanting to make the customer happy, but they still need to verify the item being returned is the same as what was purchased.  And I think anything returned should be flagged with a label indicating it is not “new stock”.

And while this sounds great, reality says there’s actually very little stopping thieves from doing whatever they want to do.  How about the stories of people using self checkout to buy expensive things and ringing them up as bananas?  How about the rule that “loss prevention” is actually not allowed to engage with a suspected shoplifter?  Just keep on walking, they can’t stop you.  They literally can’t stop you.  And when shitty people learn this stuff, they just do it.

I had the thought that night that if I had used self-checkout, the mismatched product would probably have been caught because it would have a different weight.  The register would have said something like incorrect item in bagging area.  That’s great, but you know what really would have happened?  The clerk would have just overridden the register and I’d be on my way with the wrong item anyway.  Again, it comes back to the store, but they’re just doing whatever it takes to make the customer happy, because self-checkout problems are a sure-fire way to piss people off.  If you’re making the customer do the work, you had better make it easy for them.

But let’s just make it clear, customer service is a poor term when the customer is not even a customer, but only a thief.

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