A few weeks ago, I got most of my Christmas shopping done.  I wanted to avoid the holiday shopping crowds, so I went ahead and got it all out-of-the-way.  I bought gifts for my nieces and nephews and some other family friends.  “Santa” also bought some toys and clothing for my little ones.  Of course, I am always on the lookout to save money, so I scoured the ads ahead of time to make sure that I was getting the best deals possible.

The Toys ‘R Us ad had a deal going on that I thought I should take advantage of.  Their offer stated that if I spent $75 that I would get a free $10 gift card.  I thought this was particularly awesome because they also had an art easel on sale for $44.99 that I had wanted to get my oldest daughter.

I headed to Toys ‘R Us with coupon in hand and bought the art easel and a few other small gifts for the kids and other family members.  My total came up to a whopping $137.11.  I had nearly spent enough to earn two $10 gift cards!  However, I only had one coupon and that just isn’t the way that it works.  Still, I was happy with the $10 gift card and it was definitely what had lured me into the store in the first place.  Shopping at Toys ‘R Us is pretty close to torture on a normal day, and I would have never gone there if not for the special opportunity.

Fast forward a few weeks and I told my boss about the art easel that I had bought my 3-year-old.  “Darn it,” she said.  “I have a practically new one at home that you could have had for free.  Do you want it?  Can you still return the art easel to where you bought it?”  My boss knows me so well.  Of course, I was going to take the free easel and return the one to the store.  That was a complete no brainer!!!!  Duh!!!!!!!!!!!

My Return to Toys ‘R Us

So, that is exactly what I did.  I headed to Toys ‘R Us to return the children’s art easel.  As the cashier started to issue my refund, she said something completely perplexing to me.

Cashier: “I can’t return the full amount because you got the free gift card.”

Me: “Huh?  But I still spent $75 even after returning the easel…”

I busted out my cell phone calculator.

Me: “Even after returning the easel, I still spent $92.12.”

Cashier: “Well, that’s our policy.  Sorry.”

Me: “Your policy is stealing?  I clearly paid $44.99 for the art easel and you are going to deduct the gift card from my refund….so now I am paying for the gift card that was supposed to be free.  Do you see that?”

Cashier: “Well, that’s corporate policy.  You can call 1-800-Toys-R-Us if you want but I’m not going to refund what you paid for it.”

The Anger Starts Building

I was pretty irked by this whole situation.  I had clearly paid $44.99 for the art easel and I had spent way more than $75 to earn the free $10 gift card….yet, here they were making me pay them back for the gift card.  It didn’t help that the cashiers working at customer service were indifferent and rude about it.  Yes, I was starting to get a little crabby….but it should be their job to try to fix guest problems, not just ignore them.  Even the manager went on with her duties and completely ignored me.

I called the 1-800 number as I stood at the customer service desk.  I finally got transferred to a person who could help me and she seemed to agree that I should get the full refund back.  We talked for a while and I could see the customer service employees getting agitated.  I was put on hold again and one of the cashiers motioned to speak to me.

Cashier:  “I’ll just refund your money.  I’ll override it.  You can hang up the phone now.”

Me: “That’s fine for you to go ahead and refund my money as you rightfully should….but I’m not going to hang up.  I think what you’re doing is wrong, and I’m going to report it to your corporate office.”

The cashier shook her head and rolled her eyes.  I decided not to let her blatantly rude attitude make this situation escalate any further.  Honestly, I always feel sorry for people who work in retail so I gave her a pass.  People who work in customer service get yelled at all the time for things that aren’t their fault.  I wasn’t mad at the employees who were only doing their jobs….but I am livid at Toys R’ Us for creating a corporate policy that I feel is misleading and dishonest.

Giving Toys ‘R Us Another Opportunity to Comment

A Special Message to Toys ‘R Us: I filed a complaint with your corporate office.  I left my name and phone number.  I told you that I would be writing this story today, and I even tweeted it to you and posted it on your Facebook page.  How do you feel about your corporate policy in this context?  How do you justify taking people’s money simply because they returned something?  Making stealing your corporate policy doesn’t change the fact that, in my opinion, it’s still stealing and dishonest.  You know, I can shop anywhere for cheap toys.  Hell, if I want terrible service and low prices, I can always shop at Walmart and even pick up something for dinner while I’m there.  You’re not special. Do you have anything to say for yourself?  If so, I welcome your comment below.