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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, December 15, 2018 1:00 am


Gift receipts hit-or-miss at local retailers

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Don't forget to ask for a gift receipt.

Experience tells me, year after year, the odds are about 50-50 that the sales clerk at checkout will think about it for you. I am surprised at how often they forget, particularly this time of the year.

But I was pleasantly surprised to get gift receipts – without any prompting – when purchasing items just before Black Friday at the Meijer on Lima Road in Fort Wayne.

No one asked if I needed gift receipts. I was actually using a self-checkout lane. That is not my favorite choice, but when I have just a few items and the other lines are long, it will do.

One item I was purchasing was a storage cart on wheels. The other was Michelle Obama's book, “Becoming.” After scanning the items and completing the transaction, the register spit the gift receipts out with the regular receipt.

During the holiday shopping season, “the purchase of general merchandise and gift items will automatically generate a gift receipt for the customer,” Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi said through email.

But even if you ask, gift receipts aren't universal. While shopping to help anonymously provide gifts for a local family's Christmas, I learned that Payless, a national shoe retailer, doesn't offer gift receipts at all. I was skeptical the first time a sales clerk told me that. I think she was new, because when I questioned it, she offered to check with a manager. But about a week later, another sales clerk at the same location told me the same thing.

Payless did not respond this week to requests to discuss its practice.

I guess gift receipts aren't crucial if stores have liberal return policies, when tags are still on unused items. Walmart, for example, allows returns of many items without a receipt, as long as you aren't repeatedly abusing the system.

Neither item I bought at Meijer was a gift for anyone else. I envisioned the storage cart working wonders to help eliminate the recent increase of miscellaneous items in my garage. The book would simply be leisure reading – whenever I get around to having some leisure time.

But I appreciated that gift receipts came automatically. Just in case.