I was surprised to learn yesterday that WS does not allow returns on opened food products, particularly since this is not listed anywhere on their website or receipts. Instead, per the website, it simply says "if you are not completely satisfied with a Williams-Sonoma purchase or gift for any reason, please return it for exchange or merchandise credit."
Here's what happened. In my many years of shopping at WS, I've returned two (well, now three) opened food products: some smores cookies and a bottle of oil I didn't like. I tried to take back an instant tea powder yesterday and was practically sneered at when the SA saw it had been opened. I was told that it's generally understood that you can't return opened food products anywhere, including the grocery store (which just isn't true in my area). The SA proceeded to tell me that he'd be reported by his boss and fired for doing so. In the end, after arguing about it, they took the offending item back. Frankly, if the policy is that you can't return something, then I think it should be clearly stated at the time of purchase (either in writing or verbally).
What really bothers me about this is how the SA (and later, the customer service person I spoke to on the phone) acted like returning open food is something disgusting and dangerous. It's not like I had taken a bite out of something and tried to give it back to them. Given that they've taken back items before and that other high-end establishments will take back food, I don't think I'm so out of line in asking them to take it back. Like I said, if the policy is that it's forbidden, fine, but enough with the attitude.
Any thoughts? I'm sure that most places don't take back opened food products; I just had no idea that some employees at WS found it so offensive.