General chatter - A question of morals, is this morally wrong, or not so much?




Smiling_Sara
03-14-2012, 03:16 PM
So, a situation came up where someone I know bought some bathing suits online from a retail store. She bought a few different styes and sizes as she wasn't sure what would look nicest or fit. They ran roughly $25 a piece for the tankini's. So $50 suit.

She gets these items, picks out what she wants and actually goes to the store to return the ones that didn't work.

Once she gets to the store, they get returned with no problem, but then she notices that clerance stickers print out for them and they read $6.50 each. She asks the person returning "Are these what they are for now?" They reply, yes, since it was an online only item, we can only sell it in the store for that cost. So she asks "Can I buy these back then at the clearance price?" The person returns says "sure, they are just going back on the floor anyway at that price"

So, this person then says she wants to return the others that she had decided to keep and get those at the clearance price. She goes to return them, and comes across a manager that says it must get to the floor and be avail to everyone at the clearance price. So she stands around the clearance section and grabs them as soon as they get there. ( Remember, these were the ones she wanted to begin with )

So, now it has me thinking about two things. 1. Was this moral of the person? Esp the 2nd time around, since she then knew what she paid for orig, and what she could get it for since they are not sold in stores and only online. Note: They are being returned and resold for $6.50 each.

And 2, would it moral if I tried to get a swimsuit online and return it just to buy it back for $12 vs the orig $50. I could use a swimsuit, but I don't have an extra $50 right now for one. Would I get bad juju if I did this? They would resell them at $6.50 a piece I buy one and return it.

Just got into a this conversation with some girls from work about this, and it's having mixed feelings regarding it. Thought I would pose the question to you ladies on what you would do.


Vex
03-14-2012, 03:20 PM
Well, some stores actually do something similar. They'll advertise that if you buy something at a price and it goes on sale 2 weeks later they will refund the difference. That kind of reminds me about what is happening here.

It probably depends on the store about what is allowed for returns.

Smiling_Sara
03-14-2012, 03:24 PM
Well, some stores actually do something similar. They'll advertise that if you buy something at a price and it goes on sale 2 weeks later they will refund the difference. That kind of reminds me about what is happening here.

It probably depends on the store about what is allowed for returns.


This is a good point. The suits are online at the same cost that this person paid for orig. It is an online item only, thus once returned to the store it is put on clearance. The items itself are not on sale or clearance online.


Candeka
03-14-2012, 03:25 PM
The manager/sales associate said it was fine. There is nothing wrong with that at all. If someone else would just be able to buy that exact item she returned for only $6.50, why wouldn't she just buy it back herself? I would have done the exact same thing.

threenorns
03-14-2012, 03:27 PM
if she didn't want the suits to start, she shouldn't have bought them back even if they were cheap. she's not likely to wear them and someone else who *would* have worn them might have to do without now.

that part is unethical.

frankly, what she should have done was what any canadian tire will do: asked for a refund of the difference between what she paid yesterday and what they're on sale for today. most stores honour that.

threenorns
03-14-2012, 03:28 PM
This is a good point. The suits are online at the same cost that this person paid for orig. It is an online item only, thus once returned to the store it is put on clearance. The items itself are not on sale or clearance online.

oh, heck i MISSED that part!!!!

definitely unethical.

Rana
03-14-2012, 03:28 PM
It's really a question of store policy. If the store/company accepts this, then it's not morally wrong, it's being a savvy consumer. The actual cost of the swimsuits is probably less, thus why they can put them on sale at that price.

Why is it on sale for $50 online? Probably because there are people that will buy the suits at $50 and never think twice about the cost.

It's part of the pricing part of marketing. The airlines and hotels are good at this -- they will sell the same seat (airline seat) for different prices. Some people will only pay $6.50 for that seat, others will happily pay $50.00.

It's up to you to decide what kind of consumer you are and if you are willing to go through the whole process of returning the item, waiting to get the item on the floor, fighting to get to the rack before anyone else does, then going home and waiting for the credit on your credit card.

For me, sometimes it's just not worth it. But, if you're struggling for cash, it might be.

threenorns
03-14-2012, 03:34 PM
deliberately buying something online then returning it to get it back at a cheaper price?

the store should have allowed her to do that and it's just a matter of time before they close that little loophole.

actually, i'm surprised they allow returns on swimwear - no store i know will accept returns on intimates of any kind.

bargoo
03-14-2012, 03:40 PM
Some stores will not accept swimsuits or underwear to return. In some states it is even illegal I personally hope I never buy a swimsuit that someone has taken home , tried on sans underwear and returned it to the store. Grosses me out.

Candeka
03-14-2012, 03:52 PM
It would be different if she went home, bought 5 different ones online for the sole purpose of returning them to get them cheaper. However, she did not do that. She was perfectly okay with paying the more expensive price originally, and only returned the ones the begin with that did not look right (completely understandable, not everything looks as nice on as it did in the picture).

Then, when finding out she could get the swim suit for cheaper, she took that opportunity. If it was a different store, you wouldn't blame someone for returning the item to the original store because they found it cheaper at another store. I think it would start to be an issue if she went and bought more online just to return them and re-buy them. But these are suits that she was originally okay with the price and bought because she actually wanted/needed them.

berryblondeboys
03-14-2012, 04:13 PM
Actually, I think you can look at this two ways in regards to ethics.

1.First the store - how ethical is it to reduce a price on returned items - right then and there - and right in front of the customer? I mean, come on. What customer wouldn't get upset with that? Is it ethical to charge the $50 for the ones she decided to keep then?

2. Is it ethical of the woman to return the ones she wanted? Well, probably not, but she would be stupid not to use the loophole the store has created. She does run the risk of someone snatching it before her AND that it won't go "that second" back on the floor.

And for swimsuits - most places will accept returns if tags are still attached - including the little panty liner.

threenorns
03-14-2012, 04:22 PM
not where i live - you try them on in the store and once you buy it, it's yours, pantiliner or not.

Smiling_Sara
03-14-2012, 04:30 PM
It would be different if she went home, bought 5 different ones online for the sole purpose of returning them to get them cheaper. However, she did not do that. She was perfectly okay with paying the more expensive price originally, and only returned the ones the begin with that did not look right (completely understandable, not everything looks as nice on as it did in the picture).

Then, when finding out she could get the swim suit for cheaper, she took that opportunity. If it was a different store, you wouldn't blame someone for returning the item to the original store because they found it cheaper at another store. I think it would start to be an issue if she went and bought more online just to return them and re-buy them. But these are suits that she was originally okay with the price and bought because she actually wanted/needed them.

What about if I bought a swimsuit online and took it back knowing all of this? I'm torn myself, but comeon! a $50 suit for $12?? That is a huge savings I could certainly use right now. Yet I would buy them knowing about this loophole. :^: If it wasn't such a big savings, I wouldn't even worry about it, but times are rough, and they are going to turn around and resell the suit for the clerance price, why not let me buy it for the sale price then?

Smiling_Sara
03-14-2012, 04:32 PM
not where i live - you try them on in the store and once you buy it, it's yours, pantiliner or not.

Here, if the tags are on them, and pantyliner in place, they will return it. I would NEVER think trying on a suit without my underwear and then going to return it.

Nadya
03-14-2012, 04:49 PM
$50 is a lot of money for so little cloth. The price itself sounds crooked all on its own...but that's just my opinion. I can get a pair of jeans for less than the cost of that suit.

I don't think it's ethical that they resell the item for less than half of what they originally sold it for, personally.

berryblondeboys
03-14-2012, 04:52 PM
I don't think it's ethical that they resell the item for less than half of what they originally sold it for, personally.

Interestingly, I've found an online site that sells suits from returns, but it's like a 20% markdown, not more than 50%.

Ethical or not, if it were me, I would so try and see if it works. If it doesn't, just return it and save up for it when you do have the funds.

Candeka
03-14-2012, 06:31 PM
What about if I bought a swimsuit online and took it back knowing all of this? I'm torn myself, but comeon! a $50 suit for $12?? That is a huge savings I could certainly use right now. Yet I would buy them knowing about this loophole. :^: If it wasn't such a big savings, I wouldn't even worry about it, but times are rough, and they are going to turn around and resell the suit for the clerance price, why not let me buy it for the sale price then?

Honestly, its the stores fault for having that policy, so I do not see anything wrong with it. If it become such a problem that they were losing to much money then they would change their policy. Its not like you are cheating the store behind their backs. They marked the price down from $50 all the way to $6.50 in front of a customer (even though it was not you). The fact they would rather do that then ship it back to where they store their online only stuff shows that they are still making a profit on $6.50.

If you feel really unethical buying this swim suit online and returning it to save money, then you could donate the extra cash to some charity!

nationalparker
03-14-2012, 06:37 PM
If you're asking, you know the answer... it already hit your morality alarm.

WildThings
03-14-2012, 06:47 PM
Legally, yes, you are well within in the store policy. It's not your fault they have this loophole, you are not breaking any rules. However, ethically, or morally, I wouldn't do it. When stores do stuff like this, it's not like they are just going to be okay with losing money on it. The cost is made up through other things or in other areas. The cost is past on to other customers, so at the end of the day, someone, somewhere is paying for it...and I can guarantee it is not the clothing store/company.

Nadya
03-14-2012, 08:09 PM
If you're asking, you know the answer... it already hit your morality alarm.

People always say this but I don't always buy it. Sometimes I think we're looking for validation for our actions like...we want to do something but we know not everyone would agree but we really wish someone would. If that makes sense. :lol:


Interestingly, I've found an online site that sells suits from returns, but it's like a 20% markdown, not more than 50%.

Ethical or not, if it were me, I would so try and see if it works. If it doesn't, just return it and save up for it when you do have the funds.

Oh, I'm not saying to not do it! Just that it feels like they're ripping off the first guy in a pretty major way. Doesn't seem right at all to me.

ParadiseFalls
03-15-2012, 12:35 AM
I wouldn't do it if the store were something local or a small business, but I wouldn't have a problem doing it at H&M or Forever 21. I don't think it's really a question of morality. The person wasn't stealing — the employees didn't have a problem with it — so I don't see anything at all wrong with it.

MiZTaCCen
03-15-2012, 09:52 AM
I wouldn't do it if the store were something local or a small business, but I wouldn't have a problem doing it at H&M or Forever 21. I don't think it's really a question of morality. The person wasn't stealing — the employees didn't have a problem with it — so I don't see anything at all wrong with it.

I agree, it's not like she does this ALL the time it was one swim suit and quite frankly if I didn't want something I spent money on and went to return it...if I saw the sale price was lower then heck ya I'd buy it for that price...who cares unless she argued with the cashier in order to get her way then again no problem. It's not like she's shopping online 24/7 then bringing these clothes back to the store and returning for sale prices. She did this once and decided since it was 6.50 she wanted to keep it. lol even the ugliest things look better at a sale price of 6.50. ;)

peachypeg
03-15-2012, 09:57 AM
My karma is that if I tried that, they would tell me no (or I would get jacked somewhere else).....but that is my karma. LOL However, I would try it. Simply because it is what that store created. If that store takes in items that are only sold online but will resell them at a very cut rate, then I would go for it. I would also troll that store on a regular basis and look at that rack for great savings on any item.

MiZTaCCen
03-15-2012, 09:59 AM
My karma is that if I tried that, they would tell me no

LOL my Karma is the same way!

fitness4life
03-15-2012, 11:06 AM
Unethical? Not really.
Thrifty? YES
Stupid store? You bet.

I don't blame her. I don't think she's evil or bad. She's smart and she was allowed to do it.

A lot of us would not pay for a movie at a multi-plex theater and sneak in to another show right after, but there are many who do. Are they bad people we don't want to associate with? depends on who you are.

Maybe what should be examined is, what else about this chick bothers you? Maybe this is the tip of the iceberg and she just sucks as a moral person. Or maybe, she saw opportunity with no legal consequences and can afford to pass that along and buy you a drink later this weekend.

tessendicott
03-15-2012, 11:10 AM
What store is this happening at?
I'd go ahead and do it. It would just suck for you if they ended up changing the policy between now and then because they catch on.

Daki
03-15-2012, 11:10 AM
if she didn't want the suits to start, she shouldn't have bought them back even if they were cheap. she's not likely to wear them and someone else who *would* have worn them might have to do without now.

that part is unethical.

I disagree with that. Someone can be on the fence about something, decide against it, but when they find out it's cheaper than they thought they think "Oh, what the heck. I'll get it anyway." I know I do that a lot. Do I wear whatever it is the most? No. But I do wear it. It's just clothing. Not food you're taking out of a starving person's mouth.

I don't think it's unethical. The employee said it could be done. The manager said it has to be on the floor first, so she waited for it. It's not that different from standing in line for hours for a Black Friday sale. You know it's going down in price and all you have to do is wait.

Honestly, I think it's a stupid policy for the store to have. Either don't accept online merchandise or sell it for what it's worth online, it's not the consumer's fault the store has backwards policies.

Smiling_Sara
03-15-2012, 01:06 PM
Unethical? Not really.
Thrifty? YES
Stupid store? You bet.

I don't blame her. I don't think she's evil or bad. She's smart and she was allowed to do it.

A lot of us would not pay for a movie at a multi-plex theater and sneak in to another show right after, but there are many who do. Are they bad people we don't want to associate with? depends on who you are.

Maybe what should be examined is, what else about this chick bothers you? Maybe this is the tip of the iceberg and she just sucks as a moral person. Or maybe, she saw opportunity with no legal consequences and can afford to pass that along and buy you a drink later this weekend.

Oh, there is nothing about this women that bothers me, and she certainly doesn't suck as a moral person. It just got my mind thinking, after buying back the suits that she orig did not want, and then returning the ones she did indeed want, was it stepping over a line? I agree, if this loophole is in place, she didn't do anything "wrong" She also didn't know about it before standing in line to return these items and then seeing the clearance price sticker print out.

But really, the big question is, she called and told me about this, is it wrong that I know want to try this? I need a new swimsuit, I don't think I should "have" to pay $50 when *if* returned to the actual store, they will turn around and sell both peices for $13.00. But as of now, they are not in the store at that price, they are online for $25 a peice.

I wouldn't go and buy several and return them just to buy them again, I'm simply talking one suit.

kaplods
03-15-2012, 01:48 PM
I don't think the described incident crosses the line at all. I can imagine myself in this woman's place. If I were to order a $50 swimsuit and when I get it, it just isn't WORTH $50 to me, either because it doesn't fit right, or the workmanship is poor, or even it may just be an unflattering color. So I return it, and learn that it's going on to a sale rack for $6.50 - I then have to decide:

It wasn't worth $50 to me, but is it worth $6.50? The answer might be yes, and if so there's no moral dilemma here.

To order it knowing you're going to try to return it? That's a little more questionable, however even if you try this, there's no guarantee that your ploy will work. You could take it to return it, and they might not put the suit on the clearance rack right away, and someone may get it before you. Then what are you going to do - try it again? If so, they may realize what you're attempting and refuse to accept the second suit.

Or they may even refuse the first suit - and then what are you going to say?

"But my friend returned hers, and she got to buy it at the sale price?"

That's awkward (to say the least), but is it unethical on your part? I'm not sure. After all, you are taking some risk here. The store could change their policy at any point. And store staff/managers usually even have the legal right (in most states, at least) to apply their return policies with discretion. While they may have a general policy to accept all returned items, they probably don't legally have to, which means they could (whether they suspect what you're trying to do or not) say "no." And if they're a chain, they may decide to send returns from their store to another store. If they suspect you just want the clearance price, they can say "no" and send it to another store. If they choose to let you take advantage of the loophole, that would make me even more suspicious that they're making a decent profit even at $6.50 (and that's a scary thought).

I think you need to obey your own conscience in the matter.

Now say you now decide (knowing the loophole) to order ten more swimsuits (at $50 each) and then take them all back in order to buy them back at $6.50 and then sell them each on ebay for $25 a piece? Is that ethical?

Even this, I would have to say, I'm not really sure. It's not illegal, so it's passed that first test. And I've worked in retail just long enough to realize that there's a huge discrepancy between cost of manufacturing and profit margins. The clearance price usually still makes a profit. Is that ethical? Is it ethical for stores to buy clothing that is made overseas at slave wages, perhaps even by child workers? However, if not for these "sweat shop" jobs, some of these child workers would starve to death or become child prostitutes, so which is worse?

Is it unethical to buy clothing that isn't made by adult American workers earning union wages or at least foreign workers earning a living wage in their country?

Most of us don't even know who is making our clothes (but isn't that sort of unethical too - that we don't even care who is making our clothing, how many local jobs are lost because of it, how the people making our clothes are living...)

It's a slippery slope, but ethics always are.

CrystalZ10
03-15-2012, 11:33 PM
Call me a dummy but it sounds like she's losing money on them? She paid more online and only got a fraction of it back? And than re bought them at the clearence price?
Is she going to resell them? Even so they are hers to do what she wants. If she had gotten them at the reduced price online and returned them for the higher price, than yeah its dishonest to me.

The other weird thing is, did she have a reciept for them? At my store you get what you paid for even if you bought them online so long as you have a reciept.

Smiling_Sara
03-16-2012, 10:02 AM
Call me a dummy but it sounds like she's losing money on them? She paid more online and only got a fraction of it back? And than re bought them at the clearence price?
Is she going to resell them? Even so they are hers to do what she wants. If she had gotten them at the reduced price online and returned them for the higher price, than yeah its dishonest to me.

The other weird thing is, did she have a reciept for them? At my store you get what you paid for even if you bought them online so long as you have a reciept.

oh, nope, she got back what she paid for them. Which was like $25 each peice, top and bottom. Totaling roughly $50. Then once returned, the clearance stickers printed out, which was $6.50-so she asked, is this what they are now? Cust Service said, yea, it's crazy, since this is an online item, that we do not sell IN STORE, is goes on the clearence rack at $6.50. Online they are still $25.00

So, she bought those back right away. Then got a hard time returning the others. They "had" to go on the clerence rack so everyone got a chance at them. But she stood waiting for them by the clearence rack, and grabbed them as soon as they hit it.

Knowing this, I need a new suit, but can't afford $50. But I can afford $13.00. So do I buy it online, and return it in hopes for a almost $40 savings??

kaplods
03-17-2012, 10:27 PM
oh, nope, she got back what she paid for them. Which was like $25 each peice, top and bottom. Totaling roughly $50. Then once returned, the clearance stickers printed out, which was $6.50-so she asked, is this what they are now? Cust Service said, yea, it's crazy, since this is an online item, that we do not sell IN STORE, is goes on the clearence rack at $6.50. Online they are still $25.00

So, she bought those back right away. Then got a hard time returning the others. They "had" to go on the clerence rack so everyone got a chance at them. But she stood waiting for them by the clearence rack, and grabbed them as soon as they hit it.

Knowing this, I need a new suit, but can't afford $50. But I can afford $13.00. So do I buy it online, and return it in hopes for a almost $40 savings??


If you really can't afford $50, then you definitely shouldn't buy them online with the intention of taking advantage of this loophole, because you never know when the loophole is going to be closed (the store might have implemented a new policy the very nect day). There's absolutely no guarantee that you'll get the same deal.

The store may refuse the return (just because they accepted your friend's return, doesn't mean they'll accept your return). I've discovered that many stores have arbitrary policies. I've had a store refuse a return, then I took it back again (with different sales staff) and had the return accepted.

Even if your return is accepted, you may not get the same opportunity to wait at the sale rack (they may decide not to put them on the sale rack for several days, are you going to go to the store and hang out all day, every day until they are put out).

Morality aside, this whole venture is a gamble, and if you don't have the $50 to "risk" then you shouldn't play "the game." You also have to consider what your time is worth, and how much you've "really" saved in the end.

If you CAN risk the $50, are willing to take the gamble, consider your time of lesser value than the possible reward, AND don't see anything morally wrong with it... (boy that's a lot of if's).

I think there's a lot more risk involved than I personally would be willing to take. I also can't afford a $50 suit, which is why I wouldn't take this gamble, because if the store refused my return, I would be out the $50 I couldn't afford anyway.

I've bought my last two swimsuits (both skirted two piece) for under $20 each - and I did it by stalking the bcoutlet.com and onestopplus.com website. By checking it every day or two, I waited until a suit I liked was marked down to a price I could afford.

I also registered on the sites (which sent coupons for discounts and free shipping to my email) and checked my email for those discounts and checked the site's facebook pages for coupons.

Combinining the clearance price and the coupon code, I was able to pay less than $20 (and that includes the shipping costs).