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Local stores busy with post-Christmas returns, exchanges

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by Melissa Wilson

SBJ Staff

Not pleased with the ABBA Gold Greatest Hits CD you found in your stocking Christmas morning? Does the designer suit or Kansas City Chiefs jersey you requested not hang right?

Before you give up and ask for a lump of coal next year, realize most stores will work with customers with or without receipts after the Christmas season. Many expect to be inundated with returns and exchanges from the day after Christmas until the middle of January.

"We're lucky to not have as many returns, but we do quite a few exchanges and fittings after Christmas, especially this year because Christmas was on a Friday," said Steve Forrester, of Steve Forrester Men's Wear, 2750 S. Glenstone.

Golf & Tennis World owner Barry Dickeman said the personal attention Golf & Tennis World, 4108 S. National, tries to give its customers cuts down on the number of after-Christmas returns and exchanges.

"We've done about 20 or 25 returns and exchanges so far ... we mostly try to help people as best we can when they're shopping in the first place; we don't send them out the door with just anything to give as a gift," Dickeman said.

The day after Christmas is the most popular day for returns and exchanges, despite bumper-to-bumper traffic on streets and shoulder-to-shoulder traffic in shopping centers.

"Most people always want to take care of that (return or exchange) right away," said Michael Vincent, manager of CD Warehouse, 1938 S. Glenstone. Vincent said the most common reason for a return or exchange at CD Warehouse is the customer received duplicate copies of the same compact disc. "For a refund, we ask that the customer have the receipt, and that the CD is in the same condition it left the store in."

Vincent said most customers simply want to exchange one album for another and rarely want a cash refund. If the customer doesn't have the receipt and can't find a recording to exchange the gift for, store credit is given and the customer can choose another CD at a later date. He added that gift certificates may be a way to avoid returns or exchanges if a gift giver is not certain that the recipient wants a particular CD.

Many stores make special concessions for holiday returns and exchanges. Forrester said that while refunds are rare, he will usually give one if the customer prefers a refund over an exchange or store credit.

"In this kind of business, where not only the market area is small, but the niche is small as well, you really want to make sure the customer is happy. Unless it's just something unreasonable, which I've yet to have, we just do it (give the refund)," Forrester said.

Forrester said the most common reason for a return or, more often, an exchange, in his store is because an item was the wrong size. Forrester said he also does second fittings and alterations to solve this problem.

CD Warehouse also makes special concessions for the holidays by allowing a return or exchange past the usual 30-day period. "We write the date of purchase on receipts, and if the customer mentions that the CD is a Christmas gift, we'll make a note on the receipt to allow an extension on the 30 days," Vincent said.

Golf & Tennis World takes each return or exchange on an individual basis and does not have established criteria for returns or exchanges, although Dickeman said he usually does not allow a refund on an item purchased with a gift certificate. He said most returns or exchanges are made because an item was the wrong size, although some are for other reasons.

"I had a lady bring back a set of golf clubs because she didn't like the color on the shaft, so she picked out some she liked better and exchanged them," he said.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Steve Forrester does second fittings and alterations to suit his customers after Christmas.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Joe Livingston, at right, a 3 1/2-year employee of CD Warehouse, assists Brian Trivitt with finding a CD.[[In-content Ad]]

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