Some friends of mine, let's call them Jack and Dianne, sent me an email about their experience at Bed Bath and Beyond, which was so pleasant, it surprised them.
Dianne & I registered for two sets of queen sized sheets & a mattress pad for our wedding, figuring that eventually we would get a queen size bed (we've had a full). So, we finally went out this weekend and bought a queen size bed. But, the bed that we bought was 15" thick, and the sheets & mattress pad were only designed for 14" thick mattresses. The sheets & mattress pad had never been opened, so we took them back to Bed Bath & Beyond. I told the person there that we had received the sheets as a gift, but wanted to exchange them for ones that would fit our new mattress, and also told her that we didn't have a gift receipt. I did neglect to tell her that we received them as a gift in August '03… Anyway, they took everything back, and gave us a store credit for the full price (~$250, not even taking into account any 20% coupons that may have been used to purchase them). So, we went and picked up a new mattress pad and a new set of sheets.
We took them home, and decided to wash them before we used them. When we were making the bed, we noticed that there was something like chocolate/caramel all over the sheets & mattress pad. It had made it through the washer & dryer, and was now caked on the sheets & pad. We checked our previous loads of laundry to make sure it wasn't in there before, and everything else was clean (not surprising since we don't eat that many things with chocolate & caramel…and if we did, it certainly wouldn't last long enough to make it to our pockets!). The mattress pad came in a zippered bag, so I'm guessing that another customer/disgruntled employee had stuck a piece of candy or something in there, which subsequently made it into our wash. We started picking off the stuff, but found that there was a residue/stain that was left behind. It wasn't terrible, but there was a lot of this stuff on everything. We really didn't want to wash them again, since we didn't know what that would do to it. So, we took them back to BB&B, and explained the situation. I realize that since the sheets & mattress pad were technically in good condition when we left the store the first time, they were under no obligation to take them back. But, once again, they said no problem, and we made an even exchange for everything. If they hadn't been as accomodating, I might have decided to take my business to Linen's 'n Things, which I don't like as much. But given that they've been so accomodating, I would definitely go back to BB&B (which is probably good for them since we are still decorating our house…)
So the store eats the cost of a set of sheets, and in return Jack and Dianne spend a lot of money there over the next few years buying things for their house. They will probably make more off the future sales from these satisfied customers than they would have saved from refusing to take the sheets back. Some companies just don't see why good customer service makes sense. Kudos to BB&B for doing their best.
Update: Is this great customer service? Some people disagree.