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Carpenter's Column: The fine print of our return policy

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Our business model is predicated on customer satisfaction. However, we realize that there is just no pleasing some people. So, we have developed a liberal return policy and publish it on the back of every receipt in small faint letters, just like this one.

We will issue a refund in the form and amount paid (including sales tax) in the currency of the customer’s preference (U.S. legal tender excluded) or we will issue a merchandise credit at the customer’s choice when each of the following conditions has been met.

Customer can sing all six verses of “Silent Night” over the store public address system in sixty seconds or less.

Merchandise bears no fingerprints or DNA belonging to customer or anyone in customer’s immediate family.

Merchandise must be accompanied by an affidavit bearing the names of three persons unrelated to customer confirming that customer does not now nor has ever worn flannel to a midnight mass.

Customer must pass a sobriety test that will include solving two pre-calculus problems and dropping into a freestanding plié while stacking a gross of canned peas at the end of aisle nine.

Customer submits to a polygraph test to confirm the truth of customer’s claim that customer does truly despise Ye and customer really doesn’t know why cousin gave a copy of his CD “Donda 2” and that said cousin hates customer almost as much as “White Elephant” gift exchanges.

Customer presents a note from gift-giver endorsing the return of item or items. In the case of apparel returns, note must also include an apology from gift giver for exhibiting such abominable taste and total disregard for the styles preferred by customer, as well as an apology for the fuss and bother associated with returning items to this store.

All returns must be new, unused, and contain all original packaging and accessories. The picture on the box should have been sufficient to determine whether gift is appropriate. Opening the package, without regard to the minimum-wage personnel who will have to repackage it and make it presentable to the next poor schmuck who buys it, is inconsiderate.

Some items cannot be returned if opened, including pocketknives, doors, Virginia baked hams, piñatas, salted nuts, cat litter, and collectibles such hotel desk pens, lint, and pre-masticated gum samples.

Some objects are subject to a 15% restocking fee, including elephant nose cozies, digital fingers, portable turkey ovens, and electronic hair pieces. Other restrictions may apply and could prohibit accepting returns from left-handed females, males wearing moo-moos, golfers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents; no returns on weekdays ending in “y;” select clothing returns subject to proof of life.

Holiday and seasonal merchandise on clearance at the time of return will be refunded after midnight.

Refunds for purchases made by check may be substituted with an invitation to the store’s Christmas party next year.

Thank you for shopping with us.

Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you.

Keep this receipt.



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