EVERYDAY ADVENTURES: THE RETURN GUY

Photo Credit: LD Prod / shutterstock.com

In my house, I’m the return guy. My wife loves to shop, but she hates returning things. Oh sure, she can handle online returns. Just slap a label on it and drop it in the mail. Easy peasy.

But in-person returns? In the store? With real, live people? That’s another matter entirely.

I can’t say I blame her. Dealing with returns can be complicated because dealing with people is complicated. Items don’t ring up right. Lines are long. Clerks can be grumpy. Stores change their return policies, and sometimes we lose track of time and keep things long past the return date.

To avoid those complications, who does my wife call? You guessed it. The return guy.

It’s not that I love doing returns, but I do love my wife. So when she starts talking about being stressed because she has a bunch of returns hanging over her head, I take the hint and volunteer.

It’s not that I love doing returns, but I do love my wife. So when she starts talking about being stressed because she has a bunch of returns hanging over her head, I take the hint and volunteer.

Then she loads me up with an armful of bags stuffed with clothes and random receipts and kicks me out the door. I really don’t mind. In fact, I’ve actually become pretty good at it over the years.

I don’t mean to brag, but my success rate with returns is high. I’d say somewhere in the neighborhood of 97-98% of everything I take back gets a full refund. Not that in-store credit nonsense, mind you, but real money that’s probably already been spent on my kids for things I’ll be returning the next time around.

You might wonder what my secret is for so many successful returns. It’s simple. I play the dumb husband card. I walk up to the return desk, nudge the bag over to the cashier and say, “I don’t know what this is, but my wife asked me to return it.” Then I just look pathetic and confused.

Typically, at this point, the cashier shakes her head and smiles at me with pity, the same way you would smile at a three-year-old who is trying their best to learn how to tie their shoes but just can’t pull it together.

Typically, at this point, the cashier shakes her head and smiles at me with pity, the same way you would smile at a three-year-old who is trying their best to learn how to tie their shoes but just can’t pull it together.

In the event the clerk doesn’t see the befuddled expression on my face, it just takes answering a few questions to convince her of my ineptitude.

Sir, did your wife buy this in the store or online?

I don’t know.

When was the item purchased?

No idea.

What card did your wife use?

I’m not sure.

Do you have the receipt?

Maybe.

That’s when I pull out the wad of whatever receipts and sales flyers are in the bag and toss them across the counter. The clerk sighs, punches a couple of buttons and gives me the return.

With one exception.

You see, sometimes my wife likes to have a little fun with me. Sometimes she slips in items that come from an entirely different store. She swears it’s an accident but I have my doubts. It’s completely embarrassing, and it’s happened numerous times.

You see, sometimes my wife likes to have a little fun with me. Sometimes she slips in items that come from an entirely different store. She swears it’s an accident but I have my doubts. It’s completely embarrassing, and it’s happened numerous times.

Here’s how it goes down.

“I have some returns for Kohls,” she says. She hands me a Kohls bag. A Kohls bag! It has big letters on the side that say, you guessed it, Kohls. The natural assumption would be that everything inside actually came from Kohls. However, somewhere near the bottom, my wife has planted a shirt from Target.

I walk up to the counter, go through my same dumb husband routine, but once they scan the item two or three times, I realize the problem.

The cashier glances at the computer, squints at the tag and finally looks up and says, “I’m sorry sir, this isn’t ours.”

The cashier glances at the computer, squints at the tag and finally looks up and says, “I’m sorry sir, this isn’t ours.” I know it looks like I’m trying to pull a fast one, like I’m smuggling contraband across the border.

I shrug and plead ignorance. “Sorry, my wife just handed me the bag. I’m just the return guy!”

The cashier nods sympathetically, clearly understanding the dumb husband card is not just an act.

The fact is we’ve all been handed some things in life that may cause us problems: relational problems, emotional problems, financial problems, work problems, spiritual problems or whatever problems.

We didn’t make the mess, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with it.

It’s tempting to play the dumb card and say, “This is just the hand I’ve been dealt.”

But somewhere along the way, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look in the bag we’ve been handed and do something about it ourselves.

It’s easy to blame someone else-a parent, an ex-spouse, someone you work with-especially if the problems you’re dealing with are legitimately their fault. But what you do about those problems, well, that’s up to you. After all, you’re the one still carrying the bag.

It’s easy to blame someone else-a parent, an ex-spouse, someone you work with-especially if the problems you’re dealing with are legitimately their fault. But what you do about those problems, well, that’s up to you. After all, you’re the one still carrying the bag.

The great news, though, is you don’t have to carry that burden alone. Years ago a poet and king named David said it like this, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19 NLT).

God specializes in dealing with problems He didn’t create. Yes, we all have personal responsibility for our own lives, but we also have a personal God who is more than happy to step into our mess and help us sort it all out. In fact, He’s the real Return Guy, the one who can take the complicated and broken stuff in our lives and help us exchange it for something better. 

Photo credit:  LD Prod / shutterstock.com
 

 

Jason Byerly is a writer, pastor, husband and dad who loves the quirky surprises God sends his way every day. You can read more from Jason in his books Tales from the Leaf Pile and Holiday Road. You can catch up with Jason on his blog at www.jasonbyerly.com.

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