Courtesy Counter Stands the Test

Article excerpt

Do you tremble when you have to take your moldy strawberries back to the store? Even if your receipt says you bought them at 2:57 that afternoon?

You lack nerve, ma'am. You're a coward, sir.

You'd be amazed what people will return. Here are some confessions from the courtesy counter. We'll call our informant Courtesine. After all, she likes to eat, too.

"Most people are shy about returns," Courtesine said. "But a few don't mind taking back anything, no matter how well used.

"Every fall, we get returns on fans. These are cheap fans that have been used all summer."

You want cheap? Try this.

"One customer returned two oranges without a receipt. She said she bought too many. A woman brought back half of a small carton of milk. She bought it a week ago."

Her reason for the return?

"It spoiled before I could drink all of it," she said.

"We get sheet cakes returned because they're stale, days after they were bought. The party's over and about half the cake has been eaten.

"Part of a wedding cake came back - after the reception - because the frosting was the wrong shade. The bride said the color ruined her wedding."

People will return food that's been partly eaten?

"Are you kidding? People will order three dozen doughnuts for an office party, then try to take back the dozen that weren't eaten. …