Dear Mystery Barnes & Noble Customer Whose Identity Is Unknown To Me,
Last fall, to prepare for our upcoming homeschooling academic year I shopped at the local Barnes & Noble store for some books and workbooks. I am the customer who purchased the Language Arts Workbook which you had returned. However, at the time of my purchase I didn’t realize that you had once purchased the book, used some of it, removed some of the pages and then returned it. When I purchased the workbook, it looked brand new. It was well-cared for while in your possession. I will give you credit for that.
When I got home I placed your workbook on my bookshelf until my son finished up the workbook he was currently working on.
Two weeks ago I pulled out the “brand new” workbook and immediately realized that Lessons 1 and 2 were carefully torn out along the perforated edges. We flipped through the book quickly and everything seemed alright, no pages were written on. I assumed you had done the first two lessons then returned the book with just those missing. I thought perhaps the workbook was too simple for your child and you returned it. Since the first two lessons were easy concepts to start the book off with, I decided to keep the book, use it as is and to not bring it back to the store. I was annoyed about your dishonesty but I let it go pretty easily.
However imagine my surprise today when we realized that Lessons 11 and 12 were also missing. This prompted us to look at every single page.
I am not quite sure why you had your child skip around the book in this manner, using and removing the pages also for Lessons 25, 31, 35, 41, and 68.
I just need to vent that it was pretty dishonest of you to buy a workbook which cost $7.95 full retail (pretty darned cheap if you ask me), to remove select lessons then to return it to get your money back. I am sure you really liked getting your $8 back. You knew you were ripping off Barnes & Noble, don’t pretend you didn’t know it. But did you think of the customer who would then buy that same workbook? Or did you only think of yourself? Did you think that Barnes & Noble would discard your returned book, or did you realize they would resell it? Can it be that you were laughing at the sucker who would end up buying it (us). Could it actually be that you find that funny?
Well what you did is called stealing (retail theft, specifically, return fraud) and it is dishonest, pure and simple.
And I’m not laughing. Instead I am trying to explain to my child why someone would actually do this, because he did ask me that question today. He noted how carefully you ripped the pages out along the perforation, how you obviously planned out and executed your retail theft. I am proud that he recognized that what you did was stealing, which he knows is both illegal and also a sin.
So my nine year old son and I would like to say:
Shame on you!
And perhaps I should also thank you, for showing my son a real-life example of stealing by a consumer. It certainly provided a good teachable moment for our family today.
More Information About This Type of Crime
The proper term for this crime is called “return fraud” and it is one form of “retail theft”. You can read more about return fraud in this article on the About.com site.
Here is a quote from that article:
“The survey reports that an astonishing 95.2% of retailers have experienced this most popular form of return fraud in the past year. While many retailers are tightening policies, some at the expense of customer service, the retail industry will still lose $9.6 billion in return fraud.”
Technorati Tags: consumer theft, return fraud, retail theft, Barnes & Noble, homeschooling, dishonesty, teaching character, bookselling industry.