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There are few things worse than trying to return a pair of shoes you’ll never wear only to find out that the 30-day window passed, or getting stuck with a lipstick that’s the complete wrong shade for you because you already opened it (how else are you supposed to know?!).
As someone who recently discovered the joys of returning, I just can’t accept keeping something I’ll never use. And don’t even get me started on store credits.
The solution? Shop at stores with amazing return policies. You won’t have to sing the days of the month song to figure out if you made the cut-off, or dig through the garbage for your missing receipt (spoiler: It was in your purse the whole time). Here are my favorites.
I love Anthropologie, but I’ll be the first to say it: They aren’t cheap. Knowing I can return anything I don’t 100% love makes me feel OK with the price tags, though. With the exception of some furniture items, they’ll take anything back — at any time. I have personally returned shoes so uncomfortable they drew blood and a denim jacket I wore a couple times before finding another version I liked better (also from Anthropologie; I’m not a monster!). And if you’re an Anthro member, you don’t even need the physical receipt; they can look up your purchase history and credit you back.
For anyone who’s ever found her sports bra saggy or leggings on the wrong side of see-through, cry no more. Athleta’s “Give-It-A-Workout Guarantee” actually encourages customers to try its products and bring back what doesn’t, well, work out. And unlike its sister stores, Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, there are no time restrictions or item limitations.
Bed Bath & Beyond
That sense of dread you have when you realize you lost your receipt? You won’t have it at Bed Bath & Beyond. If the purchase was made in the last year, they’ll try to track it down in their system and refund you.
The downside of buying in bulk? If you don’t like something, you’re stuck with a whole lot of it. But not if you got it from Costco. This wholesaler will take back used, eaten or worn items if you’re not totally satisfied with them, so you can return those granola bars your kids hate, even after you’ve opened the box. There are some exceptions, though, including electronics and appliances, which need to be returned within 90 days, and items with a limited lifespan such as batteries and tires.
If you’re not buying your beauty products from CVS or Target (see below), you’re doing it wrong. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on beauty purchases and CVS/pharmacy brand products, meaning you can return them at any time, for any reason, whether they’re opened or not. Rejoice!
The Home Depot
Landscaping your new backyard or starting the garden of your dreams? Get your plants from Home Depot. Their “live goods” return policy guarantees perennials, trees and shrubs for a whole year. So if they unexpectedly die in that time, you’re entitled to a full refund.
This retailer’s “Guaranteed. Period.” policy means you can return anything you’re not satisfied with, at any time, including worn and personalized items.
Perhaps just as well known as its trademark boots is L.L. Bean’s return policy. Not totally satisfied? They’ll take it back, any time.
Nordstrom’s official policy is annoyingly vague: “We handle returns on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate objective of making our customers happy,” but the retailer is known to take back anything, for any reason, at any time. Be warned, though, that this doesn’t hold true for Nordstrom Rack, which gives you 90 days to bring back your unwanted and unworn items.
Go ahead; try out that new mascara you’ve been eyeing. Target takes back beauty products, even if opened, within 90 days with your receipt, or 120 days if you used your Target credit card. You also have a year to bring back any Target-Owned Brand items for a refund — and lots of brands fall under this umbrella, like Cat&Jack, C9 by Champion, Nate Berkus, Project62 and up & up.