The holiday shopping season is frequently the make-or-break time for small businesses.
A bookstore in Chicago had a good day when they made an $800 sale of art and cooking books before Christmas, but once the holiday was over, the person who bought the books returned them, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Apparently, the books were used to stage a home for the holidays and when the celebrations were over, the books were no longer needed.
An employee of Volumes Book Cafe in Winter Park received a call on Monday from the person who bought the books saying that she had wanted to return all of them.
The thing is, book returns are rare, the shop’s owner Rebecca George told the newspaper, usually about 1%, and it’s typically a case when someone receives a copy of a book that they already have.
The purchaser also contacted the store a few days after the 30-day return period ran out.
According to the shop’s website, the return policy reads: “Once an item of merchandise is delivered to you, you can return that item within 30 days of delivery. To be eligible for a return, your merchandise must be unused and in the same condition that you received it and must be in the original packaging. Our return policy does not apply to the following goods: [discounted or sale items, gift cards, personalized items, perishable goods such as food, used candles, sticker books, etc]. These items are not eligible for return, refund or exchange.”
After “much negotiation,” George said the book buyer agreed to take a store credit in exchange for the books.
George shared what happened on Twitter in a post that went viral, earning 6.9 million views by Friday morning. She called the event an unusual case, saying that the books were expensive and some were wrapped.
In the post, George pleaded with customers to not do something similar to other small businesses, as that $800 sale equated to a third of the store’s rent.
The incident has a silver lining.
After George’s tweet went viral, book lovers virtually lined up to help the store.
“I love book-loving people. They’re just incredible,” George told WGN. “We’ve had tons of orders and honestly can’t keep up with the amount of orders. We’re shipping all over the U.S. Tons of love and we’re happy.