IT’S MY LIFE

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Parenting - TRIC KEAR­NEY

YES­TER­DAY, I ster­ilised my kitchen, or at least cleaned it mag­nif­i­cently. While do­ing so, I found a re­ceipt in a jug, put there two weeks ago and in­stantly for­got­ten. It was for run­ners I’d bought for my daugh­ter’s birth­day. She seems to have rare feet as once again they were the wrong size.

De­lighted with the prospect of get­ting my money back I broke into song, only to re­mem­ber shoe shops’ strange pol­icy, no re­turns with­out the box. Un­for­tu­nately, that box was in the pro­ces­sion of a pupil in my daugh­ter’s class. Tempted as I was, it would have been wrong to rip out their project and re­claim it.

The too-small run­ners would just have to join: The shirt which doesn’t fit, but I’d pulled off the tags; the shorts I must have been blind buy­ing; the top I imag­ined would look like it did on the stick model; the ex­pen­sive jeans I’ve to be poured into but live in hope one day they’ll fit; and nu­mer­ous other re­jected goods never re­turned.

I’m not sure why I’m slow to re­turn goods, but some­times, even when I do, things go badly.

Take the present I’d bought for a friend’s new baby. What was he wear­ing the day I vis­ited, only the very out­fit I’d bought? I said noth­ing and de­cided to re­turn it, but only af­ter driv­ing it around in my car for weeks.

I’m not sure why I’m slow to re­turn goods, but some­times, even when I do, things go badly

Fi­nally, I handed it over with the re­ceipt. The as­sis­tant looked at the out­fit.

“I’m sorry, this is not in a saleable con­di­tion,” she said. My red face lit up the queue. ‘Why not?’ ‘Look at it,’ she said, in a not very cus­tomer friendly way. I noted it was a lit­tle creased. ‘But the tags are still on,’ I said. ‘That’s not good enough. Sorry I won’t be giv­ing you a re­fund. NEXT.’

I skulked out. Min­utes later I was hav­ing a full-blown con­ver­sa­tion with my­self, de­mand­ing to see the man­ager and be­ing suit­ably out­raged. I mut­tered my way around the shops un­til a lit­tle later who did I spot en­joy­ing a cof­fee in a café only, Miss Shop As­sis­tant of the Year.

I folded the out­fit beau­ti­fully and raced back to the shop.

‘I’d like to re­turn this,’ I said, ‘I have the re­ceipt.’

‘No prob­lem,’ said a lovely lady and mo­ments later I left, cel­e­brat­ing my great win.

Un­for­tu­nately, I lose more than I win. Even know­ing my con­sumer rights doesn’t work for me.

Last Christ­mas my chil­dren bought me a pair of walk­ing shoes. Less than two months later there was a large tear in both in­soles and sticky gel ooz­ing out. Surely I can re­turn them, I thought, they’re faulty af­ter all.

I rocked up to the counter and pro­duced my faulty shoes. In the com­pany of shiny new shoes, they looked con­sid­er­ably older than two months. I pointed out the goo ex­plain­ing they were a Christ­mas present and al­ready use­less.

‘Have you the re­ceipt?’ ‘No. They were a present.’ ‘Were they bought by credit card?’ ‘No.’ ‘Sorry, with­out proof of pur­chase you have to send them back your­self to the man­u­fac­turer.’

‘But you spe­cialise in th­ese shoes. I am telling you they were bought here.’ ‘Sorry.’ ‘It sounds like you’re call­ing me a liar?’ Si­lence. Shov­ing my gammy shoes back in the bag I left, more than a lit­tle cross. There was only one thing to do. Send them back per­haps? Of course not. Those shoes now sit ooz­ing goo, in the com­pany of my many other non-re­turned goods. In­stead, I took ac­tion and boy­cotted the shop. In­cred­i­bly, months later they have yet to no­tice.

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