I got Drek clothes for his birthday. Since Drek isn't big on surprises, it was more of an announcement: "Hey! I'm getting you clothes for your birthday! Happy Birthday!" and then pulling up a few websites for him to order from. He ended up ordering from two stores: Macey's and JC Penny. He ordered with the intent to return the majority of clothes, since clothes shopping for him is an every-other-year event and he's not sure what styles and sizes he will like.
The clothes arrive, he picked his favorites, we were careful to save all receipts, tags and bags. Today I googled the nearest mall (yes, I had to google it. Why would I go to a mall except to return stuff ordered online?), packed the kids in the car and off we went! As I turned the corner and saw the mall in front of me I was hit with a sudden realization: It is December. I am at a mall. Oh noes.
Finding a parking spot was awful. I had to follow someone to their car and take their spot. Once we parked I realized Ash didn't have any shoes. You may think that would have been enough for me to give up and mail the return back, but no. I had already googled this place. I already wasted gas to get here. I already found a parking spot.
So I put Ash on my back in the baby carrier, hold Alexa in one hand and the two huge bags of returns in the other hand. Off we trek through the parking lot! Into the mall! Bypass the huge line to ask the employee where I return stuff! The answer was in any line. So I wait in line for ten minutes, do a quick and pleasant return, then set out through the mall to find the other store: JC Penny. Of course it is on the other side of the giant mall. While we are hiking through the enormous building Ash is asking all sorts of questions, because she's hasn't been inside malls very much and she wants to know what EVERYTHING is. We make it to the middle of the mall and, of course, there is Santa. Groan.
Ash wants to talk to Santa. She doesn't know what she will say, but she really wants to talk to him. I tell her we'll talk with Santa on the way back, because I still have one huge bag that I is slipping out of my hand, but I can't switch hands because I'm carrying Alexa.
We finally arrive at JC Penny. I find the Customer Service desk and wait in line. When we finally make it to the front I am informed that returns must be done downstairs.
I search for an escalator, take it downstairs, find the desk marked "Service: returns and exchanges" and wait in that line. When I get to the front of that line, I am told that internet return are at a different place. She directs me to the proper counter. I go off in search of it, get lost, ask someone else, wander around, and finally find the desk. Even better; there is no line! I give her the bag and the receipt and then watch in horror as he does the return by hand. She does not scan barcodes like Macey's. She has to to match the twelve digit numbers by hand. Because I am returning seven items out of a ten item receipt, it takes a long, long time. While I wait realize that in two years, when Drek is wanting new clothes, I might have forgotten this experience, so I send him a text:
Rule 1: No clothes for your birthday because that means I am returning in December. From now on you get clothes for Easter.
Rule 2: We are NEVER ordering from JC Pennys EVER AGAIN. Macey's, on the other hand, is just fine.
After everything is returned I make the journey back across the mall with my hands bag-free, although the child on my back is getting heavier by the minute. We make it back to Santa, who has just gone on lunch break and won't be back for an hour. I can't say I'm not thrilled. I tell Ash that Santa will be at the ward party, so she can talk to him tomorrow. She does not complain.
We head out, find our car and I slip the two kids back into their carseats. Finally! I can breathe again! Of course, getting out of a mall parking lot in December is a feat in itself, but we are triumphant!