As anyone who has ever returned an item to Fry's Electronics knows, the returns process can be very time consuming and difficult. In general, however, the difficulty arises from the inefficient process and the fact that the people working at the returns desks don't actually have the authority to make the transaction go through. The single supervisor on duty is scurrying around trying to verify everything, and it slows everything down accordingly.
A very frustrating thing has happened to me twice now. I purchase an item from Fry's, take it home, open it, then realize that someone has opened the item before and either swapped it out for a different item or just stripped it of any useful parts.
The first happened when I bought a new graphics card. I bought a card which was something like a GeForce 3 with 64 megs of video memory. When I got the thing home, it turned out that someone had taken out the good card and put in some sort of old 16 meg card that wasn't even the same brand or series. I took it back and it took me the good part of a day to get that card exchanged. They wouldn't believe me when I said what had happened, and since the box hadn't had a return label on it, they said it was impossible that it had been returned before.
Today, my fiancee bought a new case for her computer. Her old power supply was failing and her case wasn't that great to begin, so it was a pretty nice upgrade. We got the case home, and I was set to work on moving the computer innards over when I noticed that the new case was missing some parts. Several of the metal flanges had been removed as if to add PCI cards. The metal adaptor plate for the ATX motherboard backing was missing. There were no screws or hardware. The thumb screws holding the case side on had been replaced with ordinary screws.
We took the case back to Fry's, and again they would not believe that the item could have been returned before since it didn't have a return label on it. They seemed to think it impossible that their return label scheme would let a few returns slip through every now and then. As far as I'm concerned, either they accepted a return and didn't label or even check it for completeness, or someone at the manufacturer shipped them a bogus package. I'd sooner believe the former than the latter.
I find it highly irritating to be treated as some sort of crook when I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm telling the truth. I could have just returned it without saying anything, gotten my new part, and left the troubles for the next customer, but that is not something I feel comfortable doing. It is very annoying to get treated like a second class citizen for doing what's right.