Wednesday, July 21

Right of Refusal

Anyone living in Italy usually finds out the hard way about the overall ‘No Returns’ rules-one of the few rules that actually gets enforced - with a vengeance.  Basically, a good rule of thumb is, “You buy it – you own it” – even if it’s defective [just try telling that to my mother who is notorious for picking up dozens of new outfits just to bring them home and try them on & bring most back to the store– talk about a carbon footprint - if that happened in Italy, they'd be charging 8 euro per piece just for the administrative hassle].   
There’s actually probably a very good reason for this; I often imagine that in Italy, people would pull a reverse-42nd street on the storeowners:  You bought a fabulous Bose stereo, returning it with the insides taken out.

But, along the way, the chains and multinationals finally extended a proper ‘returns policy’ to the hoi-polloi; so it’s becoming more common to do the deal. It all started with Ikea, who, back in the day, launched a huge advertising campaign touting the fact that you had 30 days to change your mind!  Regardless, you still could not get a credit card credit – and I still don’t think you can – anywhere – unless of course you have a blessing by the Pope and Saint Francis himself.

So it came as a surprise when a friend (who calls himself my wandering reporter) tried to return something at Ikea.  He was told they would do just a store credit.  Not being a store he usually frequents, he then employed the Rule No. 1 of living in Italy, “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”  He explained that he rarely comes to Ikea, couldn’t find anything to substitute (he couldn’t??!! – typical male) and, to his surprise, the guy at the counter said, “Well, you didn’t hear it from me, but maybe we can make an exception.”

He was as stunned as he was pleased.  But, like a journalist, he pressed as to the ‘why’ of their change in policy (to which I’d say, ‘don’t look a gifthorse in the mouth’).  Basically, it’s a store policy, right?  Why make an exception for me?  Because I’m a nice guy? 

And in that is one of the beauties of Living in Italy – someone is always willing to make that exception – I’ve managed many an overweight bag over the moving beltway with no charge -- just as long as the proprietor’s away from the till.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently encountered the same problem at an H&M in Rome. They won't give you your money back, just store credit EVEN if the return policy that's posted up in the store is very vague. H&M all over the world follows the money-back policy, Italy doesn't.