Kat's Credit Card StressKat’s Harry Potter themed shopping spree had been fun but the unexpected purchases did make balancing the credit card tricky. She dare not tell Bill about her account being so close to the limit. She knew what he’d say. He’d said it often enough.

The following week things went from bad to worse. Kat tried to pay for her groceries but the credit card was declined. She was so embarrassed. She searched through her purse for notes and coins, but it wasn’t enough. She had to leave the store with only half her groceries. There’d be no steak for dinner this week. How would she explain that to Bill?

On her drive home she was distracted and nearly didn’t stop at a red light. She was facing credit card stress and thinking hard about solutions. At first nothing came to her. But walking in the door at home she spotted an opportunity.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw some shopping bags she’d dumped after one of her shopping sprees. After putting away her meagre groceries, Kat returned to those bags, each branded alike, to check the contents. Success! Inside one bag were three dresses and the relevant receipt. Inside another bag she found a set of Christmas plates. She’d wondered where they’d got to. And inside a third bag was a dress she’d bought for Tiffany. It must have been a while ago because it was definitely too small for Tiffany now. Well, here was her solution. She would go back to the department store and get her money back.

The very next day that is exactly what Kat did. Her first stop was the dress department. Holding her head high, she handed the bag over the counter. “I need to return these,” she said.

The shop assistant asked, “Oh what was wrong with them?”

“Oh nothing, I just don’t need them anymore,” Kat replied.

Checking the receipt, the assistant said, “Oh I’m sorry, dear. This receipt is over a year old. We don’t sell these dresses anymore and since there’s nothing wrong with the items, we can’t refund the money now.”

Kat’s face grew red. She was embarrassed all over again. Pushing her shoulders back, she picked up dresses from the counter, shoved them back in the bag, turned around on her heels and started to walk away. On her way, she stopped at a sale rack marked “50% off”. Immediately her heart skipped a beat, but she soon remembered her declined credit card and forced herself to walk away.

Her next stop was the crockery department. Feeling a little defeated, she put on a brave face and stepped up to the counter with her Christmas plates. “I’m returning these. I’d like a refund,” she said.

The friendly assistant said, “Ok, let’s look at the receipt.” From the bag she pulled a blank piece of paper. The printing on the receipt had completely faded away. “Are you sure you bought it here? There’s nothing on this receipt. It’s not valid anymore.”

Kat was adamant. “Of course I bought it here. This bag says so.”

“Well, I’m sorry. We can’t refund on a receipt that doesn’t show our name and the amount paid. But they’re lovely plates. You can use them next Christmas.”

Once again Kat’s face grew red. Her last chance was the children’s department. With fingers crossed and a smile planted firmly on her face, Kat approached the counter saying, “I bought the wrong size for my granddaughter. I’d like to return it.”

The assistant checked the receipt. This one had not faded and clearly showed the amount paid, as well as the store name and the date of the purchase. “Well, I can see that this was bought over a year ago. I’m sorry, dear. We can’t give a refund, but we can exchange it for a different size. We still sell that style. How old is your granddaughter?”

Kat was totally defeated. She knew that this was the largest size dress and no child’s size dress would fit Tiffany now. But she took her bag and the dress back anyway. If they weren’t going to give her the money back, they weren’t going to get the dress either.

She stormed away from the counter with her bags and useless receipts. She would have loved to stop for a coffee and cake to console herself but knew she couldn’t even afford that. There was more to this credit card stress than just the money she owed. Tears flowed once she was safely in her car.

Back in the department store staff lunchroom, some of the assistants were gossiping. “I had a lady ask for a refund for dresses she bought over a year ago,” one said. The others shared their story as well, and after describing the customer, soon realised it was the same person. The first gossip said, “Do you think she’s a hoarder?”

“Oh no, she can’t be. She’s too well dressed,” came the reply.



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