Is It Just My (Bad) Luck, Or…

Is It Just My (Bad) Luck, Or… Picture

I’ve become one of those shoppers. You know, the one who heads back to the store with a bag in hand, makes a beeline for customer service and then complains about something I’ve purchased that is broken, ruined or otherwise unusable.

I never was like this. In the past, in my younger years, I would have shrugged it off (unless it was a really expensive item) and said, “Oh well, so I eat that dollar.”

Of course, back then it didn’t seem to happen as often as it does now.

So here’s my complaint to the stores: start making and selling better products and fresher foods so I can stop having to return something with every trip.

Take this week, for example.

First problem: bad berries. While I try to look through the sides and bottom of the containers prior to purchasing, you can’t always see soft berries or ones that have grown fuzzies. I’ve had this problem a lot this year (is it just me?) and it’s getting to the point where I am going to start opening the plastic containers and rummaging through the berries prior to purchasing. Not something I like to do, but I like that idea better than getting home and going to wash berries only to find half are inedible.

Second problem: clothing marked incorrectly. Not a defect in the product, technically, but if a pair of shorts is a medium and a shirt is a small, it’s not going to fit my daughter. I should have looked at the tag more closely, but I tend to rely on what one piece says, or what the hanger tag displays, especially when the girls aren’t at the store with me to try something on. In this case, I had to return to the store and change out the clothes for two mediums.

Third problem: I rented yet another scratched movie from a kiosk in the grocery store. This happens about every second or third rental: we get the movie home, and when we put it in the player it either doesn’t start immediately or it plays half through and then the movie begins to skip. This time when I turned the disc over I noticed it was covered in a sticky substance. I cleaned it, but it still didn’t work, so no movie for movie night. I returned the movie and wrote a nice letter to the kiosk company about how often I’m getting movies we can’t watch. I don’t care if the rental is only $1; if I spend the gas money and my time to get a movie, and we plan a movie night and the kids are excited about it, I want it to work. I was given two free codes for two free rentals, but since this happens so often I’m beginning to think I’m better off paying $2 at the local video store to rent something that does work rather than paying $1 and risking the chance of it not working. Even if I check a movie at the store, I’m not always going to know if it’s scratched beyond being viewable; and it’s kind of like pulling the lever on the slot machine: you may get a good one, and you may not.

I know I can return items, and these days it seems I often do. But when I spend as much time taking stuff back as I do going out to buy things I get to the point of not wanting to shop at all.

But hey, we have to eat.

Is it just me, or do you find stores are putting out items more often today that are broken, ruined or otherwise unusable? And how do you handle this? (I know I posted about taking items back, but seriously, do you spend half of your days returning broken stuff the way I seem to do lately?)

What do you think?

Is It Just My (Bad) Luck, Or…

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Christine Christine says:

    Interesting. I don’t have any experience with telling whether berries are bad or good in the store… well, besides strawberries.. but I’m sure a little researching would help you figure you out the difference. In wal mart there is actually a little meter that tells you whether or not the berries you’re about to buy are ripe yet. Pretty cool stuff.

  2. Sadly the bad experiences for us shoppers comes from the fact that minimum wage is extremely low and those who end up working in department stores/supermarkets are those who settle for a job that they never wanted. It’s a bummer that people who are fortunate enough to be hired in this terrible economy have bad attitudes. Of course, this is not going to get better until the stores are willing to take a hit on their profits to have better quality employees. Only then will we have clean organized stores with well maintained merchandise.

  3. Profile photo of sukismom sukismom says:

    Berries-big bummer. Clothes- You do have to open them up and look at the tag on the inside (annoying). A lot of stores reuse hangers now and if somebody is hanging them up that doesn’t care, they won’t put it on the right one.

    Movies- Call them!!!! It’s people that don’t call about the movie being scratched that messing everybody up. If you call them they will not only give you a free movie or two but they will also make sure to replace that movie (the machine reads the code and pulls it aside so people can’t rent it). If you don’t it just get put back in for the next person to be disappointed. I know it is also a pain in the butt but somebody has got to do it.

  4. Profile photo of Erika Erika says:

    Another berry tip my mom gave me is when you get your berries home, immediatly soak them in a ~1tbs vinegar to 1quart water mixture for 1 or 2 minutes. The vinegar is not strong enough to change the taste or smell of the berries but is acidic enough to reduce the bacteria/ fungi that make the fruit spoil so fast. After doing this I find my strawberries will dry out in their container before they grow fuzzy.

  5. Profile photo of Erika Erika says:

    From what I’ve noticed, if you want to save money on berries choose frozen over fresh. Most are picked at the peak of freshess and flash frozen. They will keep for weeks in the freezer and when compared are a lot cheaper. They will not look the same when thawed but I find the are more juicy. Other alternative, grow your own berries. Even city dwellers can have a potted roof top or windowsill garden that will grow the freshest fruit you can ever get. Not to mention, window sills make it very hard for rabbits, bugs, slugs and other berry thiefs to help themselves.

  6. You should call the # on the disc. They usually give you codes for 2 free movies.

  7. Profile photo of Kelly Kelly says:

    This happens every time we buy berries at our local grocery store. They are always on sale or bogo… No wonder. We end up throwing half of the container away every time. My husband makes fruit smoothies every morning, so we use them regularly everyday. Now we are going to start buying at local growers instead.. A little more money, but hopefully it will be fresh!

  8. Profile photo of Avery Avery says:

    Last year I was hired at Walmart for the overnight produce, so I was in charge of throwing away the bad fruit/veggies. The first night I only got 1 stand done because, what a lot of people do is just put the fresh on top of old, which makes the fresh go bad a lot quicker. But when I went to work the 2nd day my manager told me that I can’t throw away so much (4 bags for 5 barrels). He told me that if it wasn’t mildewed then keep it, even if it’s very soft/spotted. I denied the job, because that is just disgusting to leave bad fruit out, and just cover it up. Now I in,y go and get fruit from farmers market, or Tom thumb sells good/long lasting fruit. It’s more expensive but I don’t throw half away anymore.

    So to answer your question, it’s not the actual food they get in is bad, but the money hungry people that don’t want to do their job correctly. Next time you go to the store, before you buy the fruit, dig to the very bottom if there is nasty food down there then yours will spoil alot quicker because of the gasses that the bad fruit expels.

  9. Profile photo of Stephanie Stephanie says:

    I find myself returning things like that all the time. For example, this week I bought a bag of lettuce that looked really bad after 2 days of purchase and it was set to expire tomorrow. I returned it on Tuesday because it was inedible. Sometimes I think that they are going to be like, "Oh, here she comes again to return something." But hey, times are tough and I’m just trying to get my money’s worth. So I return ANYTHING that I am not satisfied with. And now with Avery’s comment about Wal-mart, I will probably do it even more.

  10. Profile photo of marylove marylove says:

    I know how you feel! It kills me, I have bought strawberries a handfull of times this year and everytime, I have to throw out half of them! It seems like this year is way worse for things like this than anyother year!

  11. I feel that it’s very difficult to find decent produce in the local grocery stores. We look through and examine it, but still if it’s not already bad, it goes bad within a day. We don’t usually return the items because by the time we notice we’ve already thrown away the receipt. It’s very irritating and I wonder what the problem is with quality control because there doesn’t seem to be any.


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