I had something like this happen to me at Walmart about a year ago. My daughter needed some black leggings and we bought a pair at Walmart. When she got home, she opened the package and found a ripped up pair of leggings that someone had obviously switched out at the store. When I tried to return them, I was pretty much accused of switching them myself. I ended up in tears at customer service. It wasn’t the money; I felt as if my integrity was being questioned. I’m one of those people who obeys the speed limit, never steals extra straws from McDonald’s, etc., lol. It was humiliating!
About 10 years ago I had moved my family into our first rented house, from the condo we’d lived in for years. It was two days before Thanksgiving. The landlord had taped a card to the front door, welcoming us to the new home. Inside the card was a $50 gift card to Shaws, the local supermarket.
Since I had spent every dime I had on relocation costs, and wasn’t getting paid until the end of the following week, the $50 was going to be incredibly helpful towards stocking the fridge and having a decent Thanksgiving meal.
So, having spent most of the day unloading a rented moving truck full of our stuff, I took my daughter (4 years old at the time) to the store to use the gift card. I was cold, filthy and miserable from loading and unloading stuff all day, I just wanted to get in, get my stuff and go.
So, not having an extra dime to my name aside from the gift card, daughter and I shopped just under $50 worth of items (which, in 2002 got you a LOT more than today). Busy, busy grocery store, since it was two days before Thanksgiving. Load it all up on the belt, cashier scans everything, probably 8 people behind us in line, all registers full. Cashier goes to swipe the gift card - denied.
Tries again - denied.
Tries again - denied.
Looks at me suspiciously (disheveled and looking like a hobo from working all day) and calls manager over. They call the hotline, run the numbers manually, all sorts of tricks - nothing. Says to me - “this card wasn’t even registered when it was purchased” - insinuating I’d stolen it and was trying to get free stuff. I try to call landlord to find out where/when she bought it, so maybe they can contact that store and verify the purchase - nothing.
“Sir, when gift cards are purchased at our stores, they’re activated before the transaction is complete - this card was never activated. Where did you say you got it from again?” and on and on. I’m tired, grubby, now getting that hot feeling in the back of my neck, everyone looking at me within 4 lanes on each side - all wanting to see the “thief”.
I finally said, “I’m sorry, just forget it” and started leaving. My daughter starts crying - “DADDY, WE CAN’T GO WITHOUT OUR GROCERIES!! WE WON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO EAT! DADDY DADDY!!”, etc...
Heard someone in line mutter - “jeeze - even gets his kid in on the scam...what a loser”.
Most humiliating moment of my life.
I bought some windshield wiper blades at Walmart. Upon taking them out of the package I discovered they were in worse shape than what I was replacing. Someone had returned the box with their used wipers inside. I chalked it up to experience and am very diligent now about checking the packaging on anything sold as “new”.