I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

What are some reasons why you would return merchandise to a store? What return policies do stores have in your area?

HELPFUL TIP: If you want to return an item to a store, be sure to have your receipt. Depending on the store’s return policy, you might be refunded for the purchase price, or you might receive store credit.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. What is the man trying to return to the store?

A. a dress shirt

B. a sweatshirt

C. a sweater
2. What is one reason why the man wants to return the item?

A. It is the wrong size.

B. The fabric is coming apart.

C. It is stained.

3. What does the store clerk NOT offer to do for the man?

A. return his money

B. exchange the item

C. give him store credit

4. What reason is NOT mentioned why the sales clerk can’t help the customer with his request?

A. The customer didn’t follow the instructions for using the item.

B. The item was on clearance.

C. The man no longer has the store receipt.

5. How does the conversation end?

A. The store clerk eventually gives the customer a refund.

B. The customer is able to exchange the item.

C. The customer leaves the store without the item.

Score =
Correct answers:

Store Clerk: Hi. How can I help you?

Customer: Yes, I’d like to return this sweater for a refund. I bought a week ago.

Store Clerk: Well, first of all, what seems to be the problem?

Customer: Well, isn’t it obvious by just looking at it? The first time I washed and dried it, the thing shrank at least five sizes. It wouldn’t even fit an emaciated snake.

Store Clerk: Uh, I see what you mean, but did you follow the washing instructions? I think it says here . . . yeah . . . right here on the label to hand wash it and then to dry it on low heat.

Customer: How was I supposed to know that? The label is written in Chinese! And something else: The stitching is coming undone and the color faded from a nice dark blue to a seaweed green. What kind of merchandise are you trying to sell here anyway?

Store Clerk: Listen, sir. We take a lot of pride in our clothing. What I can do is allow you to exchange the sweater for another one.

Customer: I don’t want to exchange it for anything! I just want my money back!

Store Clerk: Well, I can give you credit on your next purchase, and since the item you purchased was on clearance [No wonder!], we can’t give you a refund.

Customer: A clearance item! There wasn’t anything on the price tag or on the clothing rack that said anything about that.

Store Clerk: I guess you didn’t read the fine print in our ad. (. . . probably can’t read anyway . . .) Look. Here’s the ad, and the information about the clearance sale is right here at the bottom on the back page.

Customer: Where? [Here] There? What? That small print. You’d need an electronic microscope to see those words. I want to talk to the manager.

Store Clerk: Uh, he’s not here at the moment.

Customer: Look. This is ridiculous.

Store Clerk: And anyway, you can only return items with a receipt within six days, and unfortunately, that was yesterday in your case.

Customer: But, your store was closed yesterday because of the national holiday. [Sorry] What a rip off. Listen. I give up. Your store policies are completely unreasonable, the quality of your merchandise is shoddy at best, and your service, well, is non existent. And how do you expect people to shop here?

Store Clerk: You did . . . Ha, ha . . .

Customer: Here. Take your sweater. You should open up a pet store and sell it as a dog sweater.

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • refund (noun, also verb): return money to a payer, pay back)
    – I asked for a refund because the radio didn’t work properly.
  • obvious (adjective): clear)
    – The pants had obvious defects, and that is why the clothing was on sale.
  • shrink (verb): decrease in size)
    – That sweater will shrink if you put it in the dryer.
  • stitching (noun): fastened or joined by sewing
    – I decided to return the pants because the stitching was poorly done.
  • merchandise (noun): products
    – That store deals in used merchandise, so you might find some good bargains.
  • allow (verb): give permission
    – Customers are allowed to return merchandise within 30 days of purchase.
  • fine print (noun): small writing
    – Be sure to read the fine print on any contract before you sign your name.
  • ad (noun): advertisement
    – The ad says that the holiday sale will last through this weekend.
  • ridiculous (adjective): silly, stupid, or unreasonable
    – You paid $100 for that shirt? That’s ridiculous. You could buy the same thing for $5 down the street on the corner.
  • rip off (adjective, also verb): the act of stealing
    – That vendor ripped you off. That watch isn’t real gold at all!