There's no harm in asking for a refund

Josh Sherman
4 min read

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I am big proponent for giving kids an allowance.

It’s not something we couple with chores because the way we look at it, as a member of Team Sherman, [it’s your obligation to help out][dinner], even if you’re not being directly compensated.

It’s effectively our version of Universal Basic Income, which I know a lot of folks are kind of hot on these days.

For the cost of a mere $5.50 per week (which goes up annually by 50 cents after an introspective personal audit of the past year), a myriad of lessons have been cultivated.

Lessons that I wish more adults have been privy to at some point, like:

And the list goes on and on.

The latest lesson is that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a refund, especially if you are let down with the quality of a product.

I’m even guilty of this, I’ll buy something, it won’t hold up to my expectations, or even flat out break and I’m like “throw it in the garbage, I’ll vote with my dollar next time and not buy from them again”.

I know, it’s kind of a shitty “I’m too good to take the time out of my day to return this” attitude. Pobody’s nerfect, amirite?

This recently happened to the kiddo. She bought some new phone cases at Claire’s in the mall, with her own money, one of which was covered in rhinestones like it was entering a dance competition.

Within a month, some of the gems starts to fall off. Not a big deal, it was a fairly cheap case so you get what you paid for, right?


I don’t want my daughter growing up thinking that you have to settle for low quality products and services. I want her to be empowered to at the very least ask if there’s any recourse.

Without a receipt, I wasn’t going to advise her to march into Claire’s and demand retribution. No, I said “hey, want me to email their customer support and see if we can get a coupon for our next purchase?”

“No, it’s not a big deal”, she said.

But it was a big deal, because I was up on my soapbox trying to hand down some gospel from the mountain. I was also riding the high of recently asking for a refund from Google and succeeding!

So an email was composed, explaining the situation, even going into detail about how I’m trying to teach my daughter about how good customer service tends to work and that you can’t ever settle.

Even the wife was skeptical about the situation. There’s no harm in asking, right?

In this situation, yes, that is right. The customer service representative was quite gracious and offered to send out a 20% off coupon for an upcoming purchase. More than enough to remedy the situation in my eyes, since it established that hey, YOU MAY AS WELL ASK.

A few days later my daughter received a letter in the mail from the Claire’s customer support manager apologizing for the issue with the phone case she purchased. They outlined the return policy which ended up being another lesson, as it’s a pretty generous one, just need to keep your receipt for a bit longer.

The kicker to the situation is that they didn’t send a 20% off coupon.

#sadtrombone right?


Instead of a coupon, the customer support manager had sent out a $15 gift card to remedy the situation. More than enough to buy another phone case and cover the tax as well.

Couldn’t have been happier with the outcome. So many lessons came out of it, and it was a big win for the kiddo to be able to spend a few bucks of “found money” this weekend.

Obviously YMMV but yeah, never any harm in asking. Whether it’s for a discount on a cup of coffee, or a price match guarantee. Just don’t be a dick, nobody likes when you’re a fucking dick about it.

Also, names have been omitted to protect the innocent and to also keep people from being like “I read that so-and-so is giving out gift cards, I want mine!!”

With that, the final lesson for the kiddo was that she absolutely needed to send a thank you card back. In fact, I wouldn’t let her spend the gift card until a letter was in the outgoing mail.

Even sent a sticker and a magnet :)

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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