Retail-Fu: Part 1

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(This is the first in a series of war stories and helpful hints from having worked at a big-box retailer as an operations manager. Please feel free to ask any questions or if you have a story that you could use help resolving! Become.com is on your side!)

The Old Switcheroo. We like to think that all employees are honest just like we like to think that all customers are. Unfortunately, we live in a world where consequences are often not felt until after bad habits are formed.

Giftcards have increasingly become the new gift to give. It is slightly more personal then cash, yet gives similar flexibility within a chain of stores. When you buy a gift card you should always check the receipt to see that the card number matches the number on the back of the card. It is all too easy for a greedy associate to use slight-of-hand to switch your chosen card with a blank.

So what happens? You take your $50 blank gift card and give it to a friend. They go to the store and attempt to use it only to find that it is “inactivated” and has no value. They probably never tell you because they are embarrassed or think you were playing a joke. Meanwhile the associate gets away with your $50 in store credit and buys a new pair of shoes.

Lesson Learned? Take the few seconds to check your purchase receipt to verify the card matches. There is usually a gift receipt that also prints to verify the amount for your intended recipient. Give this with the gift card so that your friend can give it to the merchant should there be an issue.

Daryl

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