Returning Christmas presents

Published 10:08 pm Saturday, December 27, 2008

Everyone knows your mom loves you.

But when you pull out that sweater with clashing primary colors, it’s just hard to see that love.

According to a recent entry on, nearly one in five Americans — nearly 40 million people — say they expect to return at least one gift they receive this holiday season.

Email newsletter signup

Suffolk has seen some of that action.

“We have had a lot of returns actually – the day after Christmas it started,” said LaKrista Lewis, manager on duty for the Belk store in downtown. “We actually sold a lot too with the returns because people have been doing a lot of exchanging also.”

While people have been busy returning gifts, others in the city recalled why people would want to return them in the first place.

Some Suffolk kids took time out to share their worst Christmas present ever.

Some said it was the choice of presents that was wrong.

“A belt,” Bilal Cook said. “That’s all I got for Christmas and that happened two Christmases ago…It was a Wal-Mart belt.”

Others said while the idea for a toy was right, it was the wrong execution.

“I wanted games, and I got a Rubix cube,” Lon-Daxter Davis Jr said. “I just said thank you like I actually meant it.”

“The worst Christmas gift would be my jack-in-the-box,” Rashaad Williams said, “because it kept popping up and my brother broke it – he took its head off.”

Michael Hines said toy pixels were the worst toy he ever got for Christmas.

“It’s boring,” he said. “It doesn’t even work. Every time I tried to make something, it broke.”

Darryl Knight and LeTroy Hines both agreed clothes were the worst present they received for Christmas.

Hines got a shirt one year that he says was too dull.

“I don’t remember who gave me it,” he said, “but it was a plain shirt, with nothing on it.”

Knight, meanwhile, got a shirt that was too designed.

“It was not my style,” he said of his plaid design shirt. “I don’t wear shirts with boxes on them.”

While not everyone returned the gifts they were given – in fact, Cook was wearing the exact same belt he was so upset at getting, many people will be returning their presents in the upcoming week. also listed the following tips for anyone who will be taking back some odd fits/weird designs/fun-less presents:

In general, expect most retailers and Web sites to waive their usual deadline for product returns, typically a week to 30 days, and give you until Jan. 31 to seek a refund.

Despite longer grace periods, many retailers are tightening return policies. Merchants have in the past been fairly generous in taking back goods without a gift store or gift receipt — offering shoppers who can’t produce documentation at least store credit for the lowest price the item sold for — but now we’re seeing more chains say they won’t take anything back without a receipt.

If your return is denied and you don’t know why, you may have been incorrectly flagged by a store’s computer for committing “return fraud.” You might be able to correct the matter by e-mailing the Retail Equation (formerly known as The Return Exchange), a company that monitors returns for many retailers, at

Don’t open the package if you don’t want what’s inside. Items like computer software, music CDs and movie DVDs aren’t generally returnable for another title after the seal has been broken. Some stores, though, will give a partial refund.

If you bought an item online and the merchant has a brick-and-mortar counterpart, check the Web site to see if you can take back the merchandise to the store and avoid repackaging, a trip to the post office, and shipping fees.