How Making a Simple Exchange Turned into a Major Frugal Fail

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I hate to admit it – but, I had a major frugal fail recently that left me without some of my favorite sweatpants. Let me tell you how it happened.

I purchased some Harem Pants from Zara.com. In all honesty, I originally bought them so I could have a pair of pants to wear around the neighborhood in comfort without looking like a bum in my near decade-old college sweats. I love the look of Zara’s sweats, which bring a taste of modern fashion to leisure-wear.

Unfortunately, after just a few washes, one of the pockets in my pair began to fall apart at the seams. I was a bit shocked. The pants came with a price tag nearing $60, and I expected higher quality from a luxury brand like Zara.

I contacted Zara’s customer service department to see if I could exchange the pants for a new pair. Zara’s staff was super helpful – they helped me confirm the damages, offered to send a replacement, print a free return label, and answered all my questions. Unfortunately, I missed one small detail: the pants are out of stock!

Apparently, mid way through correspondence they changed their tune from, “We would first like to apologize for any inconvenience this matter may have caused and kindly ask that you return the item. Once the order has been shipped back, we kindly ask that you contact us with the tracking details so a replacement may be sent,” to, “We do apologize that the item is sold out at this time,” and I didn’t catch the shift.

Instead of receiving a replacement pair, Zara credited my account with a refund. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t order a new pair. If I had fully understood the situation, I would have broken out my sewing kit and patched them myself. After all, it was just one minor tear – nothing a DIYer can’t fix!

My plan to get new pants for free completely backfired! Now, I’m stuck not-so-discretely wearing my old UCSB sweatpants (Go Gauchos!) around the neighborhood. I guess I should look on the bright side – I have a few extra dollars in my bank account and can probably sit around in my grubby sweats holding a hat to earn a few bucks.

The lesson learned? Don’t sweat the small stuff you can fix yourself. Things can’t be new forever, and you never know what will happen when you send something back to a store.

#FrugalFail!

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