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Many not-so-happy returns for retailers

Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa isn't perfect. He can't always get everyone's size, shape and favorite color right.

As a result, most of us have at least one thing to return after the Christmas and retailers expect that. Returns are an accepted part of the holiday shopping season. Unfortunately, fraudulent returns are on the rise.

According to National Retail Federation's latest Return Fraud Survey, retailers will lose an estimated $4 billion to return fraud this holiday season, which is up from last year. Annually, return fraud will cost retailers nearly $14 billion.

The most common type of fraud is return of stolen merchandise, which 93.5 percent of retailers say they have experienced in the last year. More than one-third of retailers have found criminals using counterfeit receipts to return items.

Wardrobing, the practice of returning used merchandise or worn clothing, like a holiday party dress, also poses a problem for merchants this time of year. More than 60 percent of merchants say they have been victims of this activity within the last year, up from 46.2 percent in 2009.

* Festive fruitcake featured in magazine: My Daddy's Cheesecake's holiday fruitcake cheesecake was featured in this month's issue of Relish Magazine in St. Louis. My Daddy's owner Wes Kinsey claims that the fruitcake cheesecake "tastes similar to fruitcake, with a lot of spices, cinnamon, candied fruit and brandy. It tastes like a cinnamon-spice-type dessert." My Daddy's Cheesecake is based in Cape Girardeau, but also has a location in Clayton, Mo.

* Laser therapy for pets: Dr. Gwenn Freitag of LaCroix Pet Hospital, has added Companion Therapy Laser to her practice. Dr. Freitag's practice is the first in the region to add the therapeutic laser. The laser offers instant relief of pain, inflammation and swelling associated with soft tissue injuries, trauma, surgery and chronic everyday disorders. A relatively new branch of medicine, the Class IV laser delivers a large amount of light energy into the pet's body. Healing is accelerated and pain virtually eliminated.

Southeast Missourian business reporter Melissa Miller may be contacted at 388-3646 or mmiller@semissourian.com.

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Laser therapy for pets? What utter quackery. There is zero scientific evidence that a Class IV laser will do anything more therapeutic than a placebo treatment in either humans or animals.

Perhaps Dr Freitag can add in some magnet therapy for dogs, homeopathy for cats, and ear candling for parakeets to make a bit more profit out of snake oil.

-- Posted by Nil on Mon, Dec 27, 2010, at 2:02 AM

What I wanted most for Christmas couldnt be put in a box, wraped in paper, and stuck under the tree. Mostly because she woudlnt get in the box!

-- Posted by timexx on Mon, Dec 27, 2010, at 4:31 AM

One Christmas, we all left FL for St. Louis to spend Christmas with my brother. My oldest son, Matt, was left behind to work, which was traumatic for his mother.

We concocted an elaborate ruse where he would fly into St. Louis and slip into a huge mattress box wrapped up and placed under the Christmas tree.

To keep her from getting suspicious, he told her that he was working hard on a project, so it was most likely that she'd get voice mail whenever she called. He had his mailbox set up to outcall notifications, so he'd call her back whenever he got near a phone (pre-cellphone days).

Worked like a charm. In fact, he called my brother from the neighbor's house to wish his mother a Merry Christmas, then we made an excuse to get her out of the room long enough for him to slip into the box.

Gotta find the video of that.

-- Posted by ksteinhoff on Mon, Dec 27, 2010, at 11:04 AM

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Melissa Miller
The Bottom Line

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