Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Slope Barnes & Noble Tosses Mom, Makes Child Cry?

While this isn't as juicy as last years Park Slope Barnes & Noble Strollergate, it struck us as interesting when we saw the email relating the treatment of a Park Slope Mom with child at the Slope B&N. The story concerns a mother who tried to return a duplicate copy of a book called "I'm Dirty" that her son had gotten as a gift. It is believe to have originated at Barnes & Noble, given that it came in B&N wrapping. To make a long story short, the store manager, identified as Matt, is to have refused to exchange the book without a receipt and swap it for a book that was exactly the same price ($16.99). Instead, he offered a $13.00 credit. We'll pick up the narrative with the email that originate via Park Slope Parents and was brought to our attention by a loyal reader:
[The manager] added that B&N is changing their policy and will soon prohibit exchanges of any kind without receipts. When I complained about the policy and stated that I would just buy "I Stink" (without using the credit) and return it if I found a way to exchange it elsewhere, he refused to sell me the book and insisted that I leave the store (this had never happened to me before at any store so needless to say I was really surprised). At this point my almost 3 year old son started crying and we left the store (had I known how this encounter would go, I would never have tried to exchange the book with him there).

I now find myself regretting the ridiculous amount of money we've spent at B&N (most recently for a pile of holiday gift cards for my son's babysitter, our eight nieces and nephews, and other family members, as well as books for my son). I find their return policies unfair and wanted to make sure that everyone's aware of them BEFORE deciding where to shop.
There have, apparently, been many responses, most of them expressing extreme distaste for the Barnes & Noble, whose children's section is a de facto neighborhood play space, and some including some understanding. Here's a sample of one:
The store manager refusing to sell you the book and then asking you to leave the store is just plain insanity, however, I would be insane if I managed that particular Barnes & Noble as well. I can't even imagine what it's like to watch your stock get ruined day in and day out by all the uncaring nannies and parents that use the place as a playground and snack bar. Of course not all nannies and parents abuse the store, but many definitely do. I've seen it countless times and have bought plenty of books as gifts which I've had to bring back once sticky finger prints / tears were later discovered on inside pages.
Definitely an ugly scene in the kid's section at the Slope B&N.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her scheme of buying another book and returning the original book makes no sense. She'd still end up with one copy that she'd have to attempt to return somewhere else without a receipt.

Exactly what she started with.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Matt Farrell said...

I'm guessing there's more to the story than we're told. I've returned books there without receipt on at least two occasions, and I had no trouble either time. I believe their corporate policy states that, in the absence of a receipt, they can only give you cheapest price they've sold the book for. So if that book was on sale at some point, the sale price is all that you'll get.

They don't have to take returns without receipts, you know.

1:50 PM  

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