I seem to have had a lapse in judgement today. I realized that the girls needed brown shoes that they could wear to church and other places. I remembered that I had a store credit for a local Richmond-based shoe store. I had bought a pair of shoes there ~3 years ago and because they were from "the back room" they wouldn't refund my sale but gave me a store credit. I don't shop in that store very often because I don't normally have pleasant experiences there and I feel that they are expensive. I had forgotten about the credit for several reasons. 1) I don't shop there very often, 2) I had gone in there a few times and didn't see anything that I wanted to purchase, 3) in that time period we had bought a new house, sold a house, and had a second child, and 4) they didn't give me anything (a receipt or gift card) for the credit. They said it would be tied to my account which was accessible by my phone number. I don't recall being told about any expiration, but I could have forgotten.
Steve found a coupon in a neighborhood mailing for $20 off of a $100 purchase at this store so I suggested we go there and look for shoes. I needed a new pair of shoes for work. I have had the same pair for several years and now my feet ache at the end of a shift. Steve needed a new pair of casual brown shoes also. He had worn his out so that the stitching was starting to come loose.
We get ourselves together and head to the shoe store. We get there and you have to sign in with the children's department for someone to help you. We sign in and we wait. It must have been close to nap time for several kids because there were several fussy children. It was finally our turn and unlike an adult shoe store where you show them the shoe you like and see if they have it in your size, the saleslady measured Natalie's foot then asked us what type of shoes we were looking for. She then proceeded to go into the back and returned with four different pairs of brown shoes. She was very nice and helpful and Natalie tried on all of the shoes and told us which ones she liked best. We decided on one pair and then went to try on some shoes for Megan. The same scenario, she just went in the back and returned with two pairs of brown shoes that were available in Megan's size. We decided on a pair and proceeded to the register to go pay.
I realized while we were sitting there that we didn't pick-up the $20 off coupon - yes I was buying two pairs of children shoes for $100!?!?!!? I figured I would get the credit and then come back later and use the coupon for me. The lady couldn't find the credit for me. She was very patient and looked in the computer twice and couldn't find it. I was frustrated and mad at myself. They also only had one register working and the fussy kids from earlier got in line behind us and the parent's were getting frustrated with waiting in line. I told the lady to just ring up the shoes and I would check with them when they weren't as busy. I bought the shoes and then we headed up to the adult section.
I found a replacement pair of brown shoes for me and when I tried them on they felt so comfortable that I must have lost my mind. Steve had taken the girls outside because they were going stir crazy after an hour in a shoe store and I forgot that I was suppose to wait and come back because of the coupon. (I splurge and buy quality shoes for work - it is worth every penny when you stand for long periods of time.) The saleslady who was helping me with my shoes took them over to the register and when the cashier went to ring me up I again asked about the store credit. She couldn't find anything either. I bought my shoes. The more I thought about the missing store credit the more upset I got.
I was so upset that when I got home I went on-line and found the exact shoes I bought for myself for $25 less. I am taking my shoes back next week. I then started thinking about how not having my store credit available any more was in a sense stealing my money. I decided to look more into the shoes I bought the girls. The saleslady had been very nice and helpful, but now I knew the size to get. I asked Steve if after nap time could we go to Target and look for shoes for the girls. We did - and do you know what? I found 2 pairs of brown shoes and 12 pairs of socks for less than one pair of the shoes had cost at the other store. I agree that they may not have the same quality, but they are kids shoes. They will outgrow them in a few months. I may still keep Natalie's expensive shoes. They had a good sole that she can run and play in and not slip. The Target shoes are dressier and will probably get scuffed the first time she wears them. I am also hoping (if I keep them) that the expensive shoes will fit Megan in a few years.
I am now planning on looking to see if I can find the bank statement from when I remember buying the shoes I returned. I really just want to have a dollar amount for the credit. I am going to write a letter to the store manager explaining the situation. I do accept part of the responsibility, but I feel that not giving a customer some sort of receipt or paperwork to show a credit is not a good policy.
At the end of the day what did I learn from this experience? First - try to avoid impulse shopping. I need to do my research first so that I know what is a reasonable price for what I am looking to buy. Second - make sure that if I am going to use a coupon or sales flyer that I have it with me before I leave the house. Third - if I don't have something in writing (such as the store credit) check it out before I invest an hour or more in the store. I probably wouldn't have purchased all of the shoes if I realized the credit was gone. Fourth - Make sure I know the store's return policy before I purchase anything. If I had realized the policy 3 years ago I probably wouldn't have bought the shoes I returned and I wasn't able to get a refund.
Thankfully, I can return the shoes from today's fiasco next week and I will be able to get the amount refunded to my credit card. I have only lost the time invested and have hopefully learned a valuable lesson.