Getting a refund can be a sensitive issue, particularly when you don’t get one.
It’s true we hadn’t noticed the sign on the counter about “choosing wisely” when we purchased the day before.
“Under no circumstance, ever, will you get your money back,” was the guist.
We had limped into that shoe shop desperate for relief. The partner had blown a wheel and the arches needed support. Not a condition to be trifled with, as anyone who’s had foot issues will tell you, repeatedly.
The shoe shop had presented as a kind and caring ray of hope, crossing low-end orthotic aspirations with higher-end designer brand mystique. The attending shoe person had been all ears and eyes to the plight as footwear was tried on. A particular range had seemed to help what was, and remains, a real sore point.
A purchase was made at a pretty inflated rate for what was essentially a dressed-up thong, and we headed home. Little did I suspect there would be a feel bad chapter to this feeling better story. Next day it was suggested I take those shoes back because the foot wasn’t feeling better although it certainly looked on trend.
Unfortunate as that was, I figured that, given we hadn’t worn them much (at all), and we had the receipt, and we’d had something going on with the shop assistant the day before, we might be able to arrive at a humanitarian solution.
My mood drooped sharply on taking in the sign because I’ve done Legal Studies 101 and recognise a get out of jail free card when I see one. But I resolved to give it a go, reasoning that the shoes had been purchased under a certain “duress” the day before and that that duress had been a shared concern at the time which I didn’t initially want to suggest they’d exploited but increasingly did as it became clear that it didn’t seem to concern them anymore.
The shop assistant, sensing what was coming, passed me on to her boss who man-splained the “no chance” refund policy with great compassion. “If there was anything I could possibly do to help, I would,” he said. “But store refund policy, which gives me the discretion to make an exception if I choose, prevents me, unfortunately, in this case, in exercising it – as in all cases, because you’ve paid.” I took him up on that, suggesting there was something he could do, actually, seeing as he had the discretion, and that was to give me a refund.
That didn’t go down well and so we proceeded to engage in debate about first year contract law, the exercise of discretion and fair go mate; it becoming clearer and clearer the more I pressed him to make an exception the less he intended to. Which got us nowhere, except standing in front of customers expressing callous disregard for each others’ feelings and money.
It was a bleak scene in refund history, from my point of view, obviously – the law being pretty black and white if you want to ignore the grey areas. So I walked away, confident I’d taken the high moral ground, knowing deep down the retailer could not have cared less.