Despatches from the retail front line

It seems a long while ago now and I should have written this last month, but I didn?t want to tempt fate. But, was it me or did returns seem to be less of a problem this year?
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Traditionally we would open the doors after Christmas and have a stampede of returns, both faulty and duplicate. I was dreading this year, with no Woolworths on the High Street I could see us getting a share of their returns, but it just didn’t happen, this is the first year in many that we haven’t seen a Chad Valley toy come back as a duplicate present.

Normally we have several members of staff on hand to cope with this but there was never more than one person required and even then there were many times when there was no one to see to.

I was only called on once when a clearly destructive child was bent on breaking the head off every action figure he could get his hands on. Only after the third came out of the pack and he displayed strength beyond his means to snap the neck of yet another Power Ranger, did I manage to convince his mother to buy some Duplo so he could at least put his handiwork back together.

Even the normal surge in refunds around the middle of January as the Credit Card bills drop didn’t seem as bad. The best thing about the lack of so many returns, is not having to try and prise a credit note from the suppliers

So why the lack of returns? Is it possible that that for once , the public, watching their expenditure, didn’t get caught up in the buying frenzy of previous years? Is it possible that they looked at the list and said “enough is enough”?

When couples were shopping maybe even “the silent one” found their voice (I’ll leave you to decide which sex) and spoke up as to why they had to buy more than necessary or why the “heck are you buying that for little Britney/Zacks (third cousin twice removed), you haven’t seen him for years and he never says thank you,” etc etc.

So is all this a bad thing? Well, let me put it like this, certainly retail sales seem to be holding up well considering the current climate. With less “swapsies” (if the Government can invent words so can I) there was more money going into the till than going out and sales of product that was exchanged for hard, cold, cash instead of a swap for little Britneys/Zack’s unwanted “duplicate”.

It has been said that toys always sell. Maybe with less expectance on Christmas sales where a higher proportion than we dare to think of comes back into circulation, wouldn’t it be great to keep it sold and to take that hard, cold, cash.

You never know, might even make the Credit Insurers happy.


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