Shopping Smart

5 Items You Should Definitely Be Returning

By | Thursday, October 06, 2016



Here’s a fun fact about me that you probably don’t already know: I am the ~queen~ of returning things. I save every single receipt from every purchase I make, and I leave tags and price stickers on everything I buy until I actually use them to make sure I can return them if I change my mind. Sometimes, even if I do use them, I return them anyway, so I keep literally every single receipt until the little dollar-spot cup I bought from Target is overflowing with crumpled receipts and I have to do some sort of clean-out.

The amount of rolled-up paper kept in that cup is totally worth the clutter, because I love returning shit. I love when I realize that the sweater I bought a month ago and never wore still has tags on it, so I can prance over to the store, get my $30 back, and tuck it away into my savings like a reward for reversing a bad shopping decision.

But there are a few other things that I have spent my life not even thinking about returning, until I learned from a few people in my life (one of them being my mother, the other ~queen~ of returns) that I can and should be returning these things, too. Here are five things that you should definitely be returning. If you haven’t been, get on that!

1. The $13 fast fashion dress that didn’t fit you right.

I often think it isn’t worth my time to return whatever shitty, ill-fitting item of clothing I mistakenly purchased during a bout of bad self-esteem. But the truth is, that five-minute drive to the mall is so worth the two excellent benefits of returning a cheap item of clothing. 1) Although you may not be getting a ton of money back, you’ll have $13 more than you did before. 2) You prevent your closet from becoming a cluttered wasteland of clothing items that you don’t give a damn about. See? Totally worth it.

2. The apples that went bad the day after you bought them.

I always forget that you can bring back food. I probably forget this mostly because I hate the thought of having to return to the grocery store. But if I can get past that fear, so can you! This way, you can get your money back on the items that went bad right after you got them home and ended up nearly wasting your hard-earned cash.

3. The expensive shoes you bought that started squeaking a few months after your purchase.

This one is probably store-specific, but I feel extremely inspired by my ballsy-as-heck boyfriend who just did this. He had purchased a pair of shoes a few months back that began squeaking every time he walked. He needed them for work, and was bummed that he spent so much on a pair of squeaky shoes, so he brought them back to the store and just gave it a shot to see if they’d give him a new pair. He said they didn’t hesitate to replace his squeakers, and now he walks around at work squeak-free, and he didn’t have to spend an extra cent on a new pair of shoes.

4. The foundation that ended up being the wrong shade, mascara that clumped up, and the bronzer that made you break out.

No more sending unwanted, expensive beauty products into bathroom-drawer purgatory, waiting to be used again (someday, maybe). My mind was highly blown when my mom told me a year or so ago that it is perfectly okay to return (used) beauty products. As long as you aren’t an asshole who takes advantage of their generosity, Sephora has an amazing return policy. I cannot even tell you how much money I got back by digging for old Sephora receipts and bringing back products that I had tried and ended up not being able to use. I returned eyeshadows that I didn’t end up liking, foundation that ended up not matching my skin tone, and a mask that broke me out.

It felt so damn good to get that money back, and not have it go wasted on products I wasn’t able to get use out of. In addition to Sephora, every single drugstore product I’ve ever brought back to CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc. has been graciously refunded.

5. That “lifetime guarantee” item that you bought a thousand years ago.

The most famous story told in my house is the story of my mother being a total badass and returning an L.L.Bean coat she bought for my father over a decade ago. She called them and told them the zipper broke, and asked if the coat could be replaced, as per their lifetime guarantee policy. Even though it was 12 years later, and the coat had been discontinued, they found a comparable model for sale and sent her one absolute fucking free. It was amazing, my mom is a goddess, and you should all do this shit too. Lifetime means lifetime, so take advantage of that.

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at!

Image via Unsplash

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