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Subject: Frustrated by Board Game Barrister, Fox Point Wisconsin rss

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Sarah Gilday
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If you are like me, the holidays get crazy and despite your best efforts to stay organized, sometimes it's tough and sometimes during holiday shopping, you are caught without a receipt when needing to make a return. Nothing is more frustrating than the merchant, who can clearly see you purchased the unopened item at their store, denying your return and saying you are stuck with the item.

I’m a big advocate for shopping at the local merchants even though sometimes it’s truly easier and cheaper to shop online or at a large retailer. That being said, be careful when shopping at these smaller retailers in regards to their return policies. Case in point, Board Game Barrister at Bayshore Mall.

The item I was trying to return at Board Game Barrister was not age appropriate for my teenagers and I was asking for store credit. The manager at Board Game Barrister was the same person who sold me the item, assuring me it would be okay for my teenagers. After getting the item home and inspecting it further, it said it was for adults, and the examples of questions listed on the back were clearly too adult.

The manager, Gordon Lugauer, was very diplomatic but clearly was not going to let me exchange the item for something more appropriate. The item had a clearly visible tag showing I purchased the item at his store. Gordon explained that their return policy was in line with other similar merchants. I disagreed and assured him I would do my research and post my findings online. What I found is that many large (Target, Walmart) and small (The Learning Shop, Game Crazy) merchants exchange for store credit EVEN WITHOUT A RECEIPT. My intent is not to slam Board Game Barrister, but to present a warning to consumers that you may want to be careful if buying items from this store, don’t lose your receipt or you may be stuck with the item

Merchants where you may exchange for store credit WITHOUT A RECEIPT
EB Games: return for store credit even without receipt
The Learning Shop: return for store credit even without receipt
Target: in store credit with presentation of id
Walmart: in store credit with presentation of id
Farm and Fleet: in store credit even without receipt
Game Crazy: creates a profile on shoppers and would be able to pull up buying history to give store credit

Gordon used the example of Barnes and Noble which doesn’t exchange for store credit. This is more understandable given the nature of their product. Below are vendors where you MUST HAVE A RECEIPT to exchange for store credit. Although all will exchange for store credit for items purchased online.

Borders: must have receipt
Barnes and Noble: must have receipt
Toys R Us: must have receipt


:yuk:
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I have a few gaming buddies out that way, I'll warn them to avoid it. I hope it was worth it, Gordon, you lost some probably sales for your draconian policies. Too bad.
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William Boykin
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Two sides for every story, guys.

It all is a matter of whether or not the return policy is clearly noted somewhere, either at the counter or on the receipt. Simple hard fact is that inventory control is life and death for a retail store, and returns, even for store credit, can lead to a store being left with product that it can't move while bereft of games that DO move quickly.

And, as the manager did point out, its not like this store policy is not uncommon in the buisness. When I managed a KB toys, we most certainly didn't allow exchanges for store credit without a receipt either. Way too much opportunity for someone to 'swap stickers' as product gets marked down- put a more expensive sticker on an item that had been put on sale. If you're constantly moving prices down in order to move it out the door, you pretty much HAVE to have a policy where you're checking receipts in order to see what the price of the item was when they bought it.

Darilian

(reposted from the Chit Chat thread)
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Mark Crane
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The next time I am in Fox Point, Wisconsin, there is NO WAY I am buying games from that place--thanks for the heads up!
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Billy McBoatface
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I usually don't even try to return without a receipt. So, if that's the only "bad" thing the store does, it wouldn't affect me much.

Keep your receipts until you know you want to keep the merchandise. It's easier for everybody that way.
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Leo Zappa
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Darilian wrote:
Two sides for every story, guys.

It all is a matter of whether or not the return policy is clearly noted somewhere, either at the counter or on the receipt. Simple hard fact is that inventory control is life and death for a retail store, and returns, even for store credit, can lead to a store being left with product that it can't move while bereft of games that DO move quickly.

And, as the manager did point out, its not like this store policy is not uncommon in the buisness. When I managed a KB toys, we most certainly didn't allow exchanges for store credit without a receipt either. Way too much opportunity for someone to 'swap stickers' as product gets marked down- put a more expensive sticker on an item that had been put on sale. If you're constantly moving prices down in order to move it out the door, you pretty much HAVE to have a policy where you're checking receipts in order to see what the price of the item was when they bought it.

Darilian

(reposted from the Chit Chat thread)


In general, I would agree with you Darilian, but in this case, the specifics as told by the OP indicate that the store manager is perhaps being unreasonable. Point #1 - the OP states that the manager refusing the credit is the same individual who sold the game to the OP in the first place, so he should know the circumstances surrounding the original sale and know that no fraud is taking place. Point #2 - the OP states that the manager was the one who assured the OP that the game would be OK for teens, so he bears at least partial responsibility for what turned out to be an inappropriate recommendation. Lastly, regardless of points one or two, the fact is that the manager's decision has led to lost business by the OP, and apparently by at least one or more others, based on the post immediately after the OP. It would seem to be a bad business decision which is generating negative PR for the store, and endangers more sales.
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Diane Close
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OP posted the same thing here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/361566

FYI, it's unnecessary to post this in multiple places. The buying and selling forum is where it should go.
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William Boykin
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As I said, two sides to every customer service issue. You (and the OP) could very well be correct. But, I'm a 'wee' bit skeptical when someone signs onto a boardgaming site JUST to post (in two different forums no less) their vent about a particular game store.

I've seen enough internet hack jobs in my time (not that I'm implying this is), that I generally prefer to err on waiting to hear the rebuttal before getting the rope to lynch, boycott, or otherwise participate in a whisper campaign against someone.

Just the way I am. Carry on, folks.

Darilian
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Scott Russell
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When I lived in Milwaukee area and was a regular at Napoleon's , I am not sure Fritz even gave us receipts. On the few occasions that I had to return something for store credit..

To get around the markdown issue, a lot of stores will refund the lowest price in the last six months if the customer doesn't have a receipt.
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Well you could tell by the mild way it was posted (and fairly non-inflammatory) that it wasn't some "internet hack job." Feel free to be paranoid about his post but I'd bet good $$ that he's not making it all up.
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William Boykin
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This particular board game site is not known for its bias in FAVOR of Friendly Local Game Stores.

As I said, the OP could very well have a legitimate issue. Then again, she might not. Until I hear the other side, I'm not going to make a rush to judgement, especially when the reputation of a FLGS (not to mention the Manager himself) is on the line.

Which, until I hear otherwise, is the last that I have to say about this topic.

Night all!

Darilian
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Eric Jome
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I am surprised to learn that they would take a hard line with a purchase. I have frequently patronized the store and in the rare opportunities I have had to deal with the owner/manager, I have always found him to be an easy-going and friendly sort. I suspect that perhaps you did not speak to the person I have in mind, so perhaps the opportunity for discretion and understanding was limited by policy.

The Barrister remains the primary place in the Milwaukee area to purchase board games on impulse due to the stock - they carry a great range... but the place has always had inflated prices and there seems to have been a drop in the quality of staff since the move from the near south side of town.

If you decide to no longer patronize the establishment (and the prices would be a much more common reason than this treatment, I think) then there are other gaming store options in the Milwaukee area;

Adventures In Gaming at 92nd and Oaklahoma - a fantastic, classic game store. I recommend shopping here, but they will not always have everything in stock. Staff is friendly and effective for most things, but you have to be outgoing with them.

Cavalry Games (just up the street from the mall the Barrister is in) - A very small, newer place with more of a classic gamer game selection instead of the family game/puzzle/toy style of the Barrister. Staff is... well, aggressively interested in selling you things. Extremely knowledgable and solid owner who doesn't always make as good an impression as he wants - also owns Virtual Magic, a grotty paintball shop that also sells gamer games.

Games Universe at Layton and Hwy 100 - An excellent store with a fantastic selection of role playing stuff as well as many other things, including board games. Staff is often aloof and impersonal, sometimes tied up with young people who frequent the place and are wound up in Magic. This store has the best hours, but you are mostly on your own when you walk in the door.

Traditionally, Adventures In Gaming is the miniatures wargame place in town, with a healthy selection of board games that improves with time. Games Universe is the role playing games place in town, with a smattering of board games. Cavalry Games has a strong selection of board games and is the "gaming alternative" to the other two.

And we all miss Napoleon's a lot.
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Chad Egbert
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fpmom wrote:
After getting the item home and inspecting it further, it said it was for adults, and the examples of questions listed on the back were clearly too adult.



If the questions were listed on the back, then you should've been able to notice that in the store.
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    I think the owner missed a chance to up-sell this woman.

             Sag.


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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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craniac wrote:
The next time I am in Fox Point, Wisconsin, there is NO WAY I am buying games from that place--thanks for the heads up!


Try Cavalry Games up the street on Silver Spring (accross from the awesome Fox-Bay Cinema Grill, and a block from Winkies--the best Hallmark store in SE WI, which also has games like Aquaretto and Settlers as well as the best bulk candy and imported chocolate...

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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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Yes, Napoleon's is dearly missed. What a beautiful store that was, in Shorewood... *sigh*
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JP LaChance
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Where IS your receipt??

I really don't think it is an unreasonable policy to require you to have a receipt. If you had the receipt would he have taken it back?


Option #2 did you use a credit card? if so Dispute the charge with the CC company, you would be amazed at the power you may have there.

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Jeff Yeackle
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diehard4life wrote:
So cut this lady some slack. Yeah, this may not be a policy with doesn't exist in the business world. That does not make it right. If the game had a UPC sticker with the store name, was shrinked, and had not been stolen from the inventory, then there is no good reason why an even-exchange cannot be done. None.


The biggest reason a receipt is required is due to risk management. It would be easy for someone to return something for credit w/o a receipt, then buy the same item for cheaper elsewhere (ex. online) and return it again with a different sales rep using the sales receipt and putting a sticker over the price tag or taking it off and claiming it was a duplicate gift (or in some cases with the right type of tag, removing it from one on a package in the store). I see this occur sadly way too often, and I hear about it happening within our marketplace way too often. The only reason some stores offer the ability to return something for credit is because they can afford to in the long run. They're also the ones I hear most often when customs say "I'll just take it to (insert store here) for credit then" after we've refused a return on something.

Students buy educationally priced software from us and will sometimes attempt to sell the software back to the nearby Best Buy not realizing it's a different SKU. Before my FLGS went out of business, there were a lot of kids who'd buy items on sale at the other LGS and attempt to return it to the other one for a profit. Just several of the hundreds of examples I could come up with. I've been in retail waaaay too long. laugh
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Richard Hoover
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diehard4life wrote:
Folks:

I can speak to the Board Game Barrister and customer service. Once a flag-waving-proponent FOR this store, I severed my relationship with the store and its owner over a year ago for other questionable business practices.

So cut this lady some slack.




Who's getting on the lady? [maybe I am not seeing the offensive post???]

What I saw was one person warning that there may be another side of the story and that they would need to hear more before totally cutting out a store.

How is that being unreasonable or dissing the lady?

Just because someone is not ready to bring their pitchfork and torches to the lynching party doesn't mean they are "with the enemy store" or out to get the complainer.

I don't see him saying that people should ignore the lady let alone that her complaint/experience should be deleted, banned, etc. Just re-iterating what should be common sense to always try to verify or look for and be aware that not everyone and everything said on the internet is necessarily as it claims to be ... such shouldn't be controversial to post.




p.s. Presuming the key points are accurate, I agree that it is bad policy for the store not to be able to accept an exchange. However, if such policy was posted where the OP could and should have been able to read it, then they need to accept some blame themselves.

Her post seems to be a mixture of focus on policy [as if she was surprised to learn it] and feeling that her reliance on the manager should override the policy,

I have to admit. I would find that pretty manipulative if the poster knew or should have known the policy of the store from the beginning yet is not being straight forward to admitting her knowledge and mistake.

That doesn't mean she might not still have an issue of unfairness due to reliance on the manager's opinion. However, that's always an area of debate as she is not very specific as to exactly what is family unfriendly about the game and/or how the manager is at fault/should have reasonably known about the specific point or points that make it family unfriendly.

Could very well be an honest difference in what the manager understands and considers family friendly/unfriendly and the poster's understanding with one understanding being broader than the other. For example, I have seen a wide range of films get branded PG-13, including films that I would not consider family/teen friendly with or without an adult. Yet someone else does think so.



P.S. After all the above, if the item is clearly marked and can be verified that it is from the store, not stolen, still skrink wrapped ... then I really wonder what is the deal with taking it back for store credit, regardless of whether any other fact is true or not. It seems rediculous to lose customers over such a situation where there seems to be zero risk and harm to the store.,















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Gordon Lugauer
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The Barrister responds:

Sarah visited the Board Game Barrister recently and asked whether
"Would You Rather- Late Night Edition" (the small travel tin version
of "WYR - Twisted, Sick, and Wrong") was appropriate for teenage boys.
This is a game where you must choose between two rather unappealing
options, and hope that your choice is the majority choice for
the group. In this version, you might have to choose:

Would you rather: eat a bottle cap, or a spider the size of a
bottle cap?

Would you rather: wear a T-shirt on a first date that says,
"I'm With Stupid" a T-shirt that asks "Who Cut the Cheese?"

Would you rather: shave your mother's bikini, or your father's
ass?

Would you rather: have everyone think your spouse was stupid,
or just really, really ugly?

Disgusting? A touch off-putting? Sure. Inappropriate for teenage
boys? Appropriate is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose, and
different teenage boys at different ages are, well, different.
What I can say is that I have had several groups of high school and
college kids have a blast playing this during games night at the
old Bay View store. So, when Sarah picked the game off the shelf
and asked if it was good for teenage boys, "yes" was the answer.

Sarah had an additional concern that this particular version of the
game had a sticker saying "the best drinking game ever". Probably
not what one might wish to give to a teenage son. Understandable.
Fortunately, this sticker was easily removed, which I did immediately
when Sarah brought this concern to my attention.

On to dire warnings. The Board Game Barrister return policy:

Returns gladly accepted with receipt.
Open items returned by
shall receive store credit only.
Unopened items returned by
may receive a refund or store credit.
Unopened items returned by
shall receive store credit only.
Refunds and open items require ID.
Collectible games may not be returned.
Open puzzles may not be returned.
Damages and defects will be accommodated
if possible, but are ultimately the
responsibility of the manufacturer.
Thank you!

This is posted in the credit-card-slip signing-area at both
registers, and printed on every receipt. When printed on receipts,
the and are converted to the corresponding
dates (i.e. today's receipts printed 12/13/2008 and 1/6/2009,
respectively). Items may be returned with a gift receipts within
2 months, for store credit.

So everyone can follow the rest of the story, here is my response
to a follow-up email from Sarah:

[Sarah states that I am quite adamant in enforcing the return policy
receipt requirement.]

Absolutely. You questioned the validity of and wished me to revoke
a clear, reasonable policy posted at both registers and printed
on every receipt, a policy that is consistent with the policy of
other industry-leading retailers of similar merchandise, as your own
research shows. I certainly wish everyone who visits the Board Game
Barrister to have a fun, pleasant experience, whether the visit is
to browse, purchase, or even to return something that just wasn't
right. To wit, while our return policy might have a few more rules
than Wal-Mart (who doesn't play by the same rules as most anyone
else, anyway), the Board Game Barrister is a game store, and we
consider it polite to play by the rules.

I understand that you lost the receipt, and probably did not read
the policy posted at the register. What is entirely too bad is
that, when told that a receipt was required to process a return,
you faulted the policy and became indignant. As anyone who has
reached maturity and paid attention to human behaviour is well aware,
the quickest way to elicit a "no" from someone is to tell them
that they are wrong, about anything. I suspect, quite strongly,
you had realised that you failed to meet the reasonable criteria
for returning an item and reacted accordingly, rather than railing
against the criteria as unreasonable, that you could have left
the store with a different game. And, quite likely, a consolation
bonus to boot.

Imagine: "Oh, drat! I bought this with my sister and she kept
the receipt. I know this is probably a fine game, but, as a mom,
I just don't feel right giving this to my son. Could you help me
pick something better?" How can anyone answer "no" to that?

Of course, this doesn't directly ask for anything. Doesn't make
any demands. Certainly doesn't disparage anyone, or anything.
Just admits an error, and asks for assistance. And from there, it is
easy to imagine a pleasant, collaborative effort to solve the problem
of finding a more-appropriate gift, an effort that might just end
in a discount or some other benefit. Perhaps not specifically what
you initially considered, but also perhaps something more creative
and valuable. It is easy to imagine such a scenario playing out
to everyone's delight.

There are two lines that used to be on the return policy, "No returns
by snotty bullies," and "Honey catches more bees than vinegar."
I removed them because the bottom of a receipt really isn't the
most effective place to remind people that politeness and humility
still matter. I don't know where such a reminder might be more
effective, but both do still matter, and we all still need reminding.
The Barrister, himself, included.

Sincerely,

-Gordon B Lugauer, "the" Board Game Barrister
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Gordon Lugauer
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Chris,

I am unaware what transgressions I might have committed to incur your disapproval, but would appreciate it if you voice them to me in private (as others have pointed out, BGG is not exactly retailer-friendly, so I don't spend a lot of time on the forums here). To the best of my knowledge, all I have done is special order games for you, and offer you a job when you were unemployed.

Also, while the old Bay View store did not have sufficient traffic to support a steady flow of new Euros, the traffic at Bayshore is rather different. We bring in at least one copy of anything that is broadly classified as Euro or, to use the pejorative, Ameritrash, within a week of it releasing through general distribution (and, in some cases, non-traditional distribution).

I hope all is well, and say Hi to Andrew, Espen, and Chris for me,

-Gordon B Lugauer, "the" Board Game Barrister
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Ralph T
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Gordon, I doubt you'll revisit this thread, but you cut your nose to spite the face. You admit you are aware she bought it, you admit it's unopened and resellable. You won't accept a return even for store credit. You lost her as a repeat customer, and your response brings disrepute to your store.

Your business return policy is not an unbreakable law. It's a policy. However, you probably know that, and instead are just citing a rule so you don't need to have a think of a reason for denying the return.

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Devon Harmon
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BoardGameBarrister wrote:

On to dire warnings. The Board Game Barrister return policy:

Returns gladly accepted with receipt.
Open items returned by
shall receive store credit only.
Unopened items returned by
may receive a refund or store credit.
Unopened items returned by
shall receive store credit only.
Refunds and open items require ID.
Collectible games may not be returned.
Open puzzles may not be returned.
Damages and defects will be accommodated
if possible, but are ultimately the
responsibility of the manufacturer.
Thank you!



Where exactly in this policy does it say that a receipt is required to return an item?
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Jeff Yeackle
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Devon Harmon wrote:
BoardGameBarrister wrote:

On to dire warnings. The Board Game Barrister return policy:

Returns gladly accepted with receipt. {---- right there
Open items returned by
shall receive store credit only.
Unopened items returned by
may receive a refund or store credit.
Unopened items returned by
shall receive store credit only.
Refunds and open items require ID.
Collectible games may not be returned.
Open puzzles may not be returned.
Damages and defects will be accommodated
if possible, but are ultimately the
responsibility of the manufacturer.
Thank you!



Where exactly in this policy does it say that a receipt is required to return an item?
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Devon Harmon
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But that part doesn't say that a receipt is required to return a purchase. It just states that returns are "gladly" accepted with a receipt. It is silent as to how items without a receipt will be handled when presented for return.

"Returns ONLY accepted with receipt" would have been much, much clearer.
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