Chicago Bookstore Experiences Holiday Blunder With Customer Return

This Chicago bookstore went through the nightmare that every small business fears: a massive customer return. Thankfully, the bookish community leaves no one behind!

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The holidays are a joyous time. The streets are lined with festive lights and glittering garland! For small businesses, the holidays are somewhat of a struggle. With an increased amount of orders, business booms, but they also have to deal with executing everything in a timely manner on a smaller staff. Suffice to say, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster. And for one Chicago-based bookstore, this past December was even more eventful than usual.

Volumes Bookcafe

Volumes Books | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Volumes Bookcafe, Chicago Bookstore
cr. Volumes Bookcafe / Facebook

During the month of December, the Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, IL, had a sale that covered over a third of their rent! Fantastic right? It was all well and good until the customer returned to the shop, seeking a refund for their entire purchase.

If you’ve ever worked in retail, you know that there always has to be a reason for return. Maybe it’s a duplicate gift, or perhaps the guest just isn’t satisfied with their purchase. This customer’s reasoning is a bit different. In the case of Volumes Bookcafe, their return policy is within thirty days of purchasing, as well as in the same condition you received it and in the original packaging.

To be eligible for a return, your merchandise must be unused and in the same condition that you received it and must be in the original packaging.  Our return policy does not apply to the following goods: [discounted or sale items, gift cards, personalized items, perishable goods such as food, used candles, sticker books, etc].  These items are not eligible for return, refund or exchange.

Volumes Bookcafe Return Policy

After spending close to $800 in Volumes Bookcafe, the customer states that their reason for return is that the house they were staging. Yes, you read that right. They bought over $800 worth of books to stage a home for the holidays.

I don’t know about you, but I was shocked.

Shopowner, Rebecca George tweeted after the incident:

Now, Rebecca didn’t expect her tweet to go viral, but here we are! Life finds a way because just after tweeting about her experience, Volumes Bookcafe received an influx of support from their bookish community.

In an interview with Fox 32, Rebecca said that almost every new order they received contained little notes with their purchase, all with the same sentiment of “screw mean people.”

On Rebecca’s original Tweet, there are almost 900 replies! A good portion of them are saying that it’s time to update the return policy of the bookstore. However, the vast majority of the replies are book lovers who are outraged by the situation. Some are authors offering to send signed copies of their books to drum up sales and offer more revenue for the store.

Volumes Bookcafe, Chicago Bookstore, small business
cr. Volumes Bookcafe / Facebook

In her interview with Fox 32, Rebecca remarks that it’s difficult for small businesses to compete with the bigger retail stores like Amazon and Walmart. This situation is reminiscent of the Amazon Kindle debate about allowing Kindle users to return their books once they finished reading them.

Your decisions have a bigger effect here than they do elsewhere.

Rebecca George, Fox 32

This is just a reminder to shop small and be aware of the consequences of your actions, even if those consequences aren’t suffered by you. Even though this story has a relatively happy outcome, this isn’t always the case.

We’re lucky enough to end this unfortunate situation on a happy note, though! Rebecca told WGN: “I love book-loving people. They’re just incredible; we’ve had tons of orders and honestly can’t up with the amount of orders. We’re shipping all over the US. Tons of love, and we’re happy.”

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