In the past when you had a return you may have been told you had to exchange the item because you did not return the item quickly enough. You may also have run into the issue of no receipt for the item you want to return because it was a gift or you lost the receipt. If that occurred you were told you would have to exchange the item or keep it. There are times when we get a really awful gift from a friend, family or acquaintance and want to return it for cash. Given the way most stores react when you do not have a receipt and customer reactions to the news, a new trend has begun as gift cards become more popular.
At many corporate stores like Lowes, Home Depot, or Wal-Mart if you do not have a receipt the return period is exceeded, or you do not want to do an exchange but paid cash you could get a gift card in return. With this policy you get a gift card which is almost as good as cash. If you do not want to use the card that day you can hold on to it until your next shopping experience.
Now you do not have to keep a hold on gifts you have no desire to ever use. You can eventually use the gift card for something you really want. For example, you are saving up for a 4K TV. So, when you get a gift you didn’t want from someone you go to return it and gain a gift card. Soon you have a couple of dozen gift cards that can be used towards your 4K TV purchase.
Morality used to tell us that we should just accept a gift and keep it hidden in the closet. Today, most of us would rather have something we can use and like to be more practical when it comes to money.
Another situation where you might be able to get a gift card for a return is at a bookstore. Most bookstores give you 14 days for a return or exchange on a book. If you exceed this but can prove you never opened the book they may be willing to return the book for a gift card. It often depends on the manager and the bookstore. As frequent customers will find most stores are willing to offer a gift card on a return even past the date because they want to keep the consumer happy.
The next time you have a return you may want to ask for a gift card instead of the money back on your card or cash. You never know when you might be a little short on funds and need an emergency cache. Gift cards can work great for emergency funds when you really want to purchase a product but have not been paid yet. Of course, you have to have enough on the gift card to make this work.