b-tags, bed pillow, Blanche Devereaux, Bloomingdale, Clothing, clothing return, comedy, Department store, golden girls, merchandise, miles to go, National Retail Federation, plastic tags, Retail, retail returns, return, return policy, the golden girls, upscale department store, wardrobing, wear and return
Ovation: Bloomingdale’s B-Tag Technology!
Have you ever bought an article of clothing, worn it, and then returned it? I’ve never done it, but I have been tempted. I know from my years in high-end retail that it’s done all the time. Even Blanche Devereaux, in a Season 6 episode of The Golden Girls titled “Miles to Go”, bought a $300 outfit for a special date with the intention of returning it afterwards. But when Dorothy spilled coffee on it and quickly took it to the dry cleaners Blanche neglected to remove the dry cleaning tag before trying to return the dress. Laughter ensued.
A survey last fall by the National Retail Federation alleged that as many as sixty-five percent of retailers say shoppers returned used clothing last year and estimates the practice costs the industry more than eight billion dollars. Upscale giant, Bloomingdale’s, has decided to do something about it. The practice is so common it has a name … they call it “wardrobing” and it’s illegal.
Tired of customers returning used clothing, the chain has begun to attach clunky three-inch black plastic tags to dresses costing more than $150 dollars and leaving them on after they are sold. Once the special “B-Tag” is removed, the garment cannot be returned. They place the tags in obvious locations on the clothes, like the front hem of a skirt or the lapel of a jacket, so that they would be clearly seen if they garment were to be worn.
Some say this might scare customers away but I think it’s a wonderful idea. Not only will it help the store to reinforce its return policy but it will give customers peace of mind that the merchandise they are buying hasn’t been worn before. It seems like a simple yet effective solution.
Perhaps the idea could also be used on additional items. For example, we bought a bed pillow last week that we thought would be comfortable to sleep on. It was somewhat costly yet, after it turned out to be far too soft and resulted in a restless night’s sleep, we decided that we didn’t want it after all. But could we return a pillow after we’d slept on it for a night? “Heck, no!” we thought. “Surely, they won’t take it back. And if they did, they couldn’t possibly sell it again … could they?”
Could they? I certainly don’t want to know. And the removal of a big plastic tag, or something of the sort, might make shoppers think twice before making many purchases.
What do you think? Is the B-Tag a good idea?
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From → Ovations