For companies that cater to parents and their offspring, Toys ‘R’ Us and their sister-store Babies ‘R’ Us are amazingly unforgiving and unreasonable when it comes to returning purchases. In general, their customer service is known for being abysmal. It’s as if they know that they’re your only option, so they have no incentive to be helpful or kind at all. And yet, it seems that when dealing with the death of a child, even Toys ‘R’ Us has a heart.
One father shared his heart-wrenching tale over at Consumerist.
My wife and I lost our daughter back in July 2011 just days before her scheduled delivery date. It was unexpected and devastating to say the least. My wife stayed in the hospital for a few extra days after the ordeal, and at one point it occurred to me that I needed to get home and clear out our living room of all the new baby gifts that awaited us.
There was a rather pricey stroller (still undisturbed in its box) that I had purchased just days earlier. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but this poor stroller became the bane of my existence. Just looking at it caused a flood of disappointment, anger, grief, you name it. I had to get it out of my house.
In the story that follows, the father takes the stroller back to Babies ‘R’ Us only to find that he brought the wrong receipt for the purchase. At first, the clerk isn’t sure if they can return it all. Finally, they offered to give the man a gift card with the refunded amount. Except as a now childless man, he didn’t exactly need a Babies ‘R’ Us gift card.
The man admits that he could have explained the situation there in the store and they probably would have taken care of the return without another question asked. At that moment, it was just too hard to admit that he had lost a child. He couldn’t say the words. His eyes welled up. He stuttered. He managed to protest, “I can’t use the gift card.” Finally, he accepted that it was his only option, just so he could get out of the store.
But once he got home, this man called the customer service line. He explained his situation, his loss. And with a few more phone calls and one more trip to the store, he had a full refund. No more unusable gift card.
I cannot imagine that man’s loss. But I can understand the way that you attach feelings of grief to certain objects. I can understand the need to say goodbye to those objects, to help with the healing process. And I’m so thankful that even though it took a little time and effort, this man was able to put that stroller behind him. It was a small step in a very difficult process of healing.
Toys ‘R’ Us is a business. Their profit is their bottom line. And often, they make life much harder for their patrons because they’re only worried about dollars and cents. But I’m happy to know that at least once, the company saw that something was more important than profit.