I’m a terrible shopper. For me, shopping is not unlike multiple choice quizzes or the SAT question that starts with a train leaving Chicago at 10 a.m. I may or may not know the answers but always overthink the problem until I inevitably get everything wrong.
Most of my shopping excursions involve at least one extra trip for returns, but sometimes I don’t discover my mistake until after I’ve worn them, and by then it’s too late. Except … I’ve recently learned about 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed. Of course, I’ve heard the expression, but I had no idea how it really worked in the retail setting.
I went to Atheta because I saw some really cool hybrid cargo pants in the catalog. We used to call these stretch pants. They weren’t cheap, but I was prepared to splurge. In retirement, I find myself drawn to stretchy, multi-purpose clothes suitable for golf, hiking or even a meal out.
Again, I always overthink things. I tried on the size 6, and the clerk said I needed the 4. I thought the 4s were too tight, but she said they would stretch. Although I like a slim and sleek fit, I have a history of buying clothes that are too big for me.
I got the 4s home and decided I made a mistake. Drove back to the mall (30 minutes) and explained my dilemma. I tried on both sizes, and they confirmed I need the 4s. The clerk said we stand by our products. If at any time you think they aren’t right, just bring them back.
Came home with the same pants I left with and tried them on again. I decided to wear them for a long walk today, and the 4s felt tight all over and pinched at the waist. The pockets weren’t particularly functional because the fabric was tight across my body.
I’m not one to abuse return policies. But sometimes products don’t live up to their promise, and I kept telling myself – they said it would be OK.
I went back to the mall for what was now my third trip. The clerk recognized me and said, “Oh, they didn’t work?’ I said no, and I feel bad, because I wore them. She said don’t feel bad, that’s our policy, and she happily exchanged them in a flash.
Now I have pants I like but what an ordeal. All self-induced. I would not want to use the satisfaction guarantee very often, but now I look to see who else has it, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see Ulta has this policy as well. Sadly, that means the hair product graveyard in my bathroom was completely unnecessary.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.