Return the unwanted
Wednesday, January 01, 2003
Entrepreneurs will stand in line for you
The holidays may be an already-distant memory, but that pile of sweaters that don't fit, toys that aren't wanted and ties you don't need remains, a constant reminder you still have to, one day soon, brave the agonizingly long "Returns"line.
Or you could hire Marcia Shapiro to do it for you.
Shapiro, a former hospital honcho and now mother of twins, founded her new business, Return the Favor, with her former colleague Nancy Love after giving birth to Harrison and Daniel last January.
Love came to see Shapiro and the boys and asked what she could do to help. "I said, ‘Go in that room and get all of those boxes out of my house.' She did and returned with a bunch of gift cards. I said, ‘I would have paid you for that,'"says Shapiro. And that's how it started.
Return the Favor charges a $35 registration fee and takes a royalty off each return. Shapiro or Love will come to your house, pick up the merchandise and return it within a week with a refund or gift card. For returns of less than $100, the company charges a straight 20 percent. For returns valued at more than $100, the company charges $10 per store plus 10 percent of the return value.
The company targets its services to new mothers, but Shapiro returns more than baby gifts. "As we go to people's homes, they say ‘Somebody gave me this dish last year and I don't like it.' Or, ‘I bought this suit and thought I would lose five pounds. But I'm never going to lose five pounds, so get me my money back.'”
Shapiro's best bit of advice for easy returns: Keep the receipt.
-- Cindy RichardsTo reach Return the Favor, call (847) 857-0022 or e-mail Return firstname.lastname@example.org.