May 21, 2011

The Daily News heaps bad PR on a dress shop for refusing to give a cash refund for a $1200 prom dress.

The store's policy is only to give store credit for returns, but supposedly an exception must be made because the girl's boyfriend died.

What do you think?
The store is right to stick to its policy. It's best to apply the same rules to everyone.
The store would have been nice to make an exception, but not doing so doesn't belong in the news.
It's good that people learn that this store failed to do something compassionate.
The store was morally obligated to give the refund and deserves public shaming.
  
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61 comments:

George said...

SHAME!!! SHAME!!! SHAME!!!

obladioblada said...

$1,200 for a prom dress? You've ,got to be kidding me!

Trooper York said...

What's the matter? You don't believe in the rule of law?

Patrick said...

Why no option for "it's ridiculous to pay $1200 for a dress you're gonna wear once?"

Trooper York said...

They didn't mention that the girls name was Kloppenburg.

edutcher said...

We're talking about a dress ($1200!!) that would have been worn once.

If the store's policy was clear, then they have the right. I doubt the family is sufficiently impoverished to be needing the money.

We also need to remember the Daily Dirt is the Lefty tabloid in Gotham, so they're playing Defender of the Little Guy here (although how many little guys can blow $1200 on a prom dress?).

Henry said...

(*) No one should pay $1200 for a prom dress.

I see I'm not that only vote.

Was the boyfriend the guy planking on his roof?

Kev said...

(the other kev)

And the dress shop should also have given her a pony. Everyone should get ponies.

Trooper York said...

Look the dress was probably altered and changed to fit. You can't sell it to someone else. If the policy is printed on the reciept and posted on the wall then the store is totally within their rights to stand by their policy. A deal's a deal.

Renee said...

What if the boyfriend was in jail?

Or just dumped her?

I wouldn't want to go to the prom if my boyfriend died either, but I'm with the store on this.

Fr Martin Fox said...

What about the store? What are they supposed to do with the dress when they take it back?

The store could have said this: we'll take it back, and we'll give you $X from the sale of the dress."

I'm sorry the girl's boyfriend died, but it's not clear why the store should eat this.

EDH said...

she tried to return her prom dress to Freehold's Diane and Co., which is featured on Oxygen's "Dress Coutoure".

The store did have an existing media profile, so that made the story more news worthy.

Notice how the Daily News put the period outside the quotation mark.

Joanna said...

"In response, a mother of one of Jackie's friends set up a Facebook page boycotting the popular dress store – which now has more than 9,700 fans."

Bad PR? I dunno.

Wearing/returning garments is a problem for retailers, and I can only assume it is a huge problem for fancypants dress stores. Anyone think this was the first (or 101st) time this store heard a tragic story when someone attempted to get a cash refund? When news spreads about a store that's strict with their policies, shoplifters and scammers tend to choose other targets to hit. Win!

Trooper York said...

Look they were willing to give her store credit even so. She could have got another dressy dress to wear to events and stuff. I am sure they had $1200 of accesories she could have used if she couldn't stand to look at the dress.

Trooper York said...

There is a story I always tell whent this comes up in conversation.

The New York Post went to Macy's and Lord and Taylor's and said "Why don't you advertise in our paper like you do the Times?"

And they said "Your readers are our shop lifters."

Henry said...

My answer is whatever Trooper York says.

Beta Rube said...

I agree with Henry. Trooper is the oracle on this one.

G Joubert said...

Come on, grow a brain, store. This is a PR nightmare. How often does it happen that the boyfriend dies after the dress is bought but before the prom? It's not like this is a regular and frequent abuse. If I were the girl I'd stir up maximum public controversey, then put the dress up for auction on ebay, where it'd probably fetch far more than $1,200, "for the boy's family." Maybe that's what she's doing.

Titus said...

I can pinch a loaf in my dress and Target will take it back.

Trooper York said...

Look it is simple. They spent a lot of time with this girl. They fitted the dress. They altered the dress. They laid out money for the dress. They knew the policy when they purchased it. Circumstances change. The couple could break up. They could change their mind. Even so they are not refusing them the same policy as everyone else. They will probably have to eat the cost of the dress but with store credit she can buy what ever else in the store that strikes her fancy. It's not the stores fault. A deal is a deal.

If they refunded everyone they would be out of business before you know it.

And for all of the people on the facebook page...they were not customers of this store and you would be better off if they never came in.

It's that simple.

Trooper York said...

It's not a PR nightmare. People come to you because they need the clothes. If they are unique as it seems that they are then this will not mean uh gotz to them.

Returners are the bane of a stores existance. I mean Target can afford it because they are paying three dollars a dress from China. But a small shop can't do it. Shouldn't do it. And they won't do it.

Titus said...

I was kidding Troop.

I don't shop at Target for my dresses...and I would never pinch in one if I did.

Trooper York said...

Dude I know you shop at Barneys.

Trooper York said...

G Joubert said...
Come on, grow a brain, store. This is a PR nightmare

Wait a minute. Who said they were Puerto Rican?

Trooper York said...

If J-Lo were awake she would say that was racist.

Pogo said...

This is the real reason why Kloppenburg won't give up the Supreme Court fight.

She bought a $1200 victory party dress, and the store won't take it back.

Henry said...

@Pogo. Brilliant.

Titus said...

Bitch, I do shop at Barney's.

I love Barney's.

Pogo, hope things are going ok with the wife.

Steven said...

If you had $1,200 to spend on a prom dress, you have enough money to not need a refund, or enough stupidity that you were going to wind up parted from your money anyway.

Pogo said...

Thx, Titus; you're kind to ask.
She's on the mend. Pain is better. No stroke; a blessing.



The girl should have auctioned the dress herself to raise money for a donation.

G Joubert said...

I say the store would come out way ahead if they magnanimously and ostentatiously refunded the $1,200. Win-win.

JAL said...

Hi Pogo!

Can we party yet?!!??

Did they / are they going to do a graft?

Glad Mrs. Pogo is doing better.


On the dress, I'm with Trooper.

That being said they could make an exception ... but still, one could be very creative with $1200 of store credits. (Christmas for a couple years.)

Auction them to raise money for preventing whatever killed the boyfriend.
And yes, $1200 for a high school prom dress is insane. Completely, utterly, insane.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, Pogo! Great news!

Big Mike said...

As of 10:00 PM there were actually 17 people who voted for (D)?!?!?

WTF!?!


If any of you 17 are on this thread may I politely ask what's wrong with you people?

Fred4Pres said...

Trooper explained this previously.

Sorry, but life goes on. She will need a dress for something else. Maybe she should use a partial credit for a black dress for the funeral.

Fred4Pres said...

Pogo, I was worried about you. I am glad there is good news.

Synova said...

People who won't bend these sorts of rules are cowards. They are weighing their reluctance to have to deal with the annoyance of "but you did it for so-and-so" against the ease of a firm rule that lets them off the hook.

Of course they have the *right* to do this. They have the right not to take returns at all if they don't want to.

But they *do* take returns, so everyone saying how they can't take the dress back isn't right about that. They do take dresses back. They just want to do a store credit instead of returning the money. There are good reasons for doing that. Probably the main one is to keep people from buying something to wear once and returning it afterward for a refund. If they only have the option of store credit they are less likely to do that since they're stuck with a pricey dress no matter what.

But this seems a whole lot like that hotel that had a "rule" about no guests under 21 that ended up excluding a newly married couple where the husband was deploying to Iraq in a week.

These aren't laws. They're rules that are arbitrary to begin with. And the only reason not to make exceptions when exceptions are appropriate is weighing the inconvenience of making the exception and potential to have to say no to others who feel entitled against whatever human tragedy or hardship is being presented to you.

This girl didn't wear the dress to prom and then want her money back.

The Army guy who married his childhood sweetheart before deploying to Iraq wasn't getting the hotel room to have a party with lots of underage drinking.

By all means, send the request up to management, to someone who has the authority to make an exception. But if the answer ends up being "no" don't expect any one to agree that the consequences of making that exception would have been too hard on you.

Pogo said...

Thanks, Ann. We just came back from her first walk in a week. One hallway. Heaven.


A special thanks to Trooper York, for the prayers and the advice. She appreciated what you suggested I say.

@JAL: No surgery was needed, thankfully. Just warfarin. Man, it feels like a year.

LilyBart said...

Who would spend $1,200 on a prom dress?

Patrick said...

Glad to hear it Pogo.

Greg's Blog said...

I am assuming the dress had to be altered or maybe even specially purchased for the young lady. The store should not be expected to incur the full cost. After all, the owners have a business to run. I say it would have been nice to accept the dress back and give the young lady a full refund. But, they didn't and that's that. This should stand as a valuable learning experience for the young woman. A deal is a deal is a deal. Welcome to the world.

Big Mike said...

@Pogo, thanks for sharing the good news.

Joanna said...

Even if the dress weren't altered.... A dress is not a microwave. People purchase clothing according to season, and retailers sell clothing according to season. If a dress is put back on the rack after being out of the store, it is very likely that the "selling window" has passed for this specific item and that it will never be sold for the original price.

Who buys a $1200 prom dress? Here's a better question: who buys a $1200 prom dress right before the prom?

Earth Girl said...

The year was 1970 and my wedding was set for October. He was killed in an accident in September. The bridal store refused to give me a refund. I remember that their actions compounded my grief, primarily because they did not even acknowledge my loss in words or tone.

It never crossed my mind to make their actions public! In fact, I think this may be the first time I ever shared this memory.

fivewheels said...

I have to ask the insensitive question: If you've just suffered a tragedy, is getting a refund for the dress really a top priority? That's what you have to run to TV stations to talk about?

If she really couldn't bear to look at the dress in her house, as the story says, she could try donatemydress.org for girls in need.

ironrailsironweights said...

Sometimes it's proper to follow the rules, and sometimes it's proper to do the right thing. This is an example of the latter.

By the way, I would imagine that the store's markup on the dress is enormous. They could very easily afford to make a refund and resell the dress at a lower cost.

Peter

Synova said...

I don't think that $1200 is probably unusual for a prom dress. Granted, people who pay that are completely nuts. But that's not out of line with what is raked in on yearbooks, rings and graduation invitations, party and cake either.

Sure it's a scam, but parents tend to think that their child really *ought* to have this rite of passage done right. Someone who could afford the $1200 dress probably got one for $1600. Not everyone shops for a cocktail dress at a discount store and calls it good. I would, but that's me. Rent a limo! Saw a Hummer-limo today, and it was probably for someone's prom.

I'm not disagreeing that it's completely outrageous to spend that much, but I also don't have a boat-load... or a Hummer-limo-load of sympathy for the people who make their living selling the notion of going into ruinous debt for special events. And they do.

fivewheels said...

The other thing that I think breaks in favor of the store is that they can't be in the business of checking every story. You put a policy in place so you don't have to.

Otherwise, really, you do get people coming in, wearing the dress for their occasion, then returning it with a sob story. Is the store supposed to say, "Give us a couple of days to check the police report"? Or be a compassionate sucker on the spot every time?

Also, FWIW, googling tells me that according to the store, the girl's mother tried to return the dress before the death.

Joanna said...

My favorite part of that link:

After his death, West became demanding and verbally abusive about the refund, Gambale said, adding that on Saturday she still didn’t know the girl’s date had actually been killed.

“So, what do I do? Do I give money back to every other girl who wants to return a dress?’’ Gambale asked. “I will not give her money back, especially after what (Jackie) did -- the harassment, the negativity that she’s caused. If every single person on Facebook, instead of writing comments, would have donated a dollar, you would’ve had a million dollars by now.’’

Titus said...

Wonderful news Pogo!

Keep the faith guy.

I am thinking of you and your beloved wife.

Paddy O said...

Wonderful to hear, Pogo. I pray the recovery continues smoothly and swiftly.

clint said...

Quick question for everyone thinks the dress merchant should have given the poor (rich) girl $1200 for her grief -- how much should the bank next door have kicked in? Surely banks have lots of money lying around?

Aridog said...

Pogo said...

Heaven.

Great news. And, yes, what Trooper York said about expressing your love and affection at a time of crisis was spot on. No one said it better.

Freeman Hunt said...

That's wonderful, Pogo.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think it's rude to make a big deal about the dress while the funeral is going on for the dead boyfriend. The kid just died, and now his name is all over their local media in association with this silly spat over a dress. It's disrespectful to his family. Take the store credit and drop it.

Triangle Man said...

Pogo: Glad to hear things are improving.

Titus: Anyone who watched Will and Grace knows you love Barney's.

Freeman: Right on!

Trooper York said...

Thank God that you wife is better Pogo. I am sure she will make a full recovery.

MadisonMan said...

Prom was here last night. Daughter's dress (too short IMO) was $180, on sale, at Macys. What kind of maroon would pay $1200 for a dress? I'll tell you what kind: the kind who thinks the world revolves around her and thinks that she deserves a refund when life hands her a lemon.

Pogo: Great news about your wife. Hooray!

Shanna said...

They do take dresses back. They just want to do a store credit instead of returning the money.

Exactly. There are certain categories of clothing that tend to get put in the no refunds pile, fancy dresses are a big one because people wear them only once and return them. Everybody knows this.

However, I personally hate store credit only return policies and have in the past refused to shop at a store for years because of it (I heard later they changed their policy but I still haven’t been back). I don't even return things very often, but when I do there is a good reason and if I have a receipt I expect to get my money back. The store has to decide if that potential loss of customers is an acceptable risk.

I think it's rude to make a big deal about the dress while the funeral is going on for the dead boyfriend.

I agree with this. The guy just died and you’re quibbling over money, when you obviously have some since you dropped 1200 on a prom dress which normal people don’t do. I think my prom dress was 100ish at Ann Taylor.

Darrell said...

Earth Girl,

Sorry for your loss.

Yes, the store
should have offered you condolences
for the death of your fiance. You seem to be the better person all around.

MB said...

How is the store suppose to know the story is true? People just assume she is telling the truth and this time a paper could verify it. What is the store suppose to do, ask for the long form death certificate?

Unfortunately people lie. Some people have no compunction about deceiving to get what they want. It is just as plausible that she got the dress that she could never afford with the intent of returning it. Yeah, like that never happens.