Returning a faulty appliance to a shop is probably something most us have done at some point, especially if the appliance is still under warranty and we have the receipt as proof of our purchase. But how many of us actually bother to return a perishable item to the supermarket? I used to be quite nonchalant about not returning an item of food, thinking that it wouldn’t really make much of a difference plus I didn’t want to waste fuel driving to the shop just to do that.


But, I have since learnt that returning perishables could be worth our time, and money and I now always keep our supermarket receipts for a little while, just in case something needs to be returned within a week or two of purchase. I still don’t drive to the shop just to return an item but rather stop on my way home from work or while out and about over the weekends instead. Just this past week we returned three different items to three different shops and on all three occasions I was really glad we did that! Otherwise, each one of those items would have been money wasted instead of money well spent.


The first item we returned was a packet of frozen, cut chips. When we bought it, nothing seemed amiss, but when we opened the packet, wanting to use it, the chips inside were grey. Now that’s certainly not a colour you’d want your chips to be! And the packet hadn’t even gone past the expiry date. We returned the packet to the supermarket the very first chance we got. They were very apologetic about the whole thing and not only did they replace the packet of chips for us but they gave us an extra one for free. So that was a score.


Another item which I returned this week was a bottle of shampoo. It was not a brand I’d tried before and the only reason I bought it in the first place was because it was cheaper than most of the others on the shelf and I thought I’d give it a try. However, things did not go so well on the first wash although I still can’t quite explain what was actually wrong with the shampoo. Probably nothing yet it felt like gooey mush on my hair and I struggled to rinse it out it was so sticky! Needless to say I was neither very happy nor very impressed! I returned the bottle with my till slip and I was given a voucher (my choice) with no questions asked. I simply used my voucher to buy a different bottle of shampoo and I walked out of the shop quite satisfied with how it all turned out.


The third item I returned was a packet of sugar. I actually don’t know when it started seeping through a hole in the bottom i.e. either it was already damaged and I hadn’t noticed as I picked it off the shelf or it somehow got damaged while it was being packed at the till. I’m not sure how much of the sugar was lost, probably not a whole lot, but I just wasn’t sure how safe this open packet of sugar was precisely because it had a hole at the bottom. Back at the supermarket, it was easy enough getting a replacement packet with my proof of purchase.


Did all of this take a bit of time and effort? Yes. Am I glad I returned all these items? Definitely! I budget very carefully every single month and there’s not much room in my grocery budget for waste. Had I not returned these items, that’s what they would have turned out to be – money wasted.


Do you ever return perishable items to supermarkets?


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