A bookstore owner in Chicago has been receiving words of encouragement after sharing her frustration over a customer allegedly returning an $800 purchase.
Rebecca George, co-owner of Volumes Bookcafe, an independent bookstore near Wicker Park, turned to Twitter to vent about a return request she said she received from a customer who bought various art books and cookbooks in December to serve as temporary decor.
“Turns out one of our biggest sales last month was for the person to stage their home for the holidays and now they want to return them all,” George wrote in her tweet on Monday, Jan. 9.
“Please don’t do this to a small business, people,” she continued. “That one sale was a third of our rent.”
George’s Twitter post has since been viewed 6.8 million times and has garnered more than 85,600 likes, 5,510 retweets and 880 comments.
Twitter users have responded to George’s post by asking where they can make online purchases of books or donations to support the indie shop.
“Being an independent bookshop is hard,” Madison Street Books, another Chicago-based bookstore tweeted on Wednesday, Jan. 11.
A Twitter user claiming to be a bookstore employee wrote that the company they work for has a no-return policy for similar reasons.
“We can do an exchange or store credit but no refunds unless there’s something wrong with the product,” the anonymous user wrote on Monday evening.
Another Twitter user wrote that the customer’s return “is soooo not cool” because book rental companies exist.
Some commenters suggested George and her business partner change the return policy at Volumes Bookcafe or add a restocking fee to minimize the inconvenience of customer returns.
Others were confused that the customer allegedly told bookstore staff that they used the books for staging.
“Wait, so, somebody bought a bunch of books to make it look like they read? Then returned then [sic] when the relatives left?” one Twitter user questioned on Monday night. “I had no idea this was a thing.”
George returned to Twitter on Tuesday, Jan. 10, to thank the people who have been supportive of Volumes Bookcafe.
She noted that the store typically receives “less than 1% [of] returns” and the recent customer she referenced “was an unusual case.”
“It’s not ideal but sometimes as a small business you end up jumping through hoops to please people that don’t deserve it to save yourself from the chaos of another kind,” George wrote. “It’s rare, but it happens. Thank you all! You’ve made a huge difference for us when we needed it.”