My husband wanted a hammer drill for Christmas, specifically, a DeWalt hammer drill, not cordless, that Lowe’s had for a good price. We don’t do surprise presents - he took me to the shelf and pointed it out to me. A few weeks ago I went to the nearest Lowe’s to buy one. They had one left on the shelf, and it looked as if it had been previously opened, as the nearby clerk confirmed.
So I waited a few days, until the day of my ophthalmologist appointment, and went to another Lowe’s which is one exit down the road from there. They, too, had only one left on the shelf, and it was fastened with a wide piece of tape, but the tape looked as if it could have been the original packaging. So I bought it, and left it in the trunk of my car to await an appropriate time for me to bring it in the house and wrap it. (We don’t do surprises, but we pretend we do.)
I do not like wrapping packages. I'm not good at it, and don't like my uneven results. We used to have a store near us that did gift wrapping, but it went out of business when a Mailboxes, Etc (now The UPS Store) moved in a block away. For a while, another packing and shipping store had a gift wrap service, but they discontinued it a few years ago. So I am on my all thumbs own when it comes to wrapping. I use a lot of gift bags, but the drill is too heavy for that solution.
Wednesday, after driver safety class, John decided to go replace a front tire on his car that he was worried about. It was the perfect time for me to bring the drill in from the trunk, wrap it, and put it under the tree. As I wrapped the package, I heard rattling, which worried me.
That night, we went to Lowe’s for John to buy blades for his jigsaw, and I noticed the shelves were now restocked with drills, and that each package was fastened with a flat plastic ribbon circling the package in both directions. I started worrying that I had bought a drill that had previously been opened and returned.
So Thursday morning, I snuck the package out from under the tree and hid it, plus the receipt, in a bag of old ornaments that I had promised to take to the thrift store. I headed to Lowe’s with my wrapped drill and told my story to the customer service rep. She agreed they could swap it out, but she had to unwrap the box first to make sure it wasn’t damaged, because if it was, I’d have to take it back to the store from which I purchased it.
Once she unwrapped it, she asked, “What makes you think it’s been opened before?”
“Because it just has that one piece of tape and the ones you have on the shelves now have binding on them.”
“Well, let me check with someone from that department.” A few minutes later someone else came by, looked at the package, and said, “Thats the way they pack them.”
“Then why is it rattling?”
“That’s the way they pack them.” He offers to open the box and check that everything is there, which it was, rather loosely packed but still in its plastic bag. He also explains that when they stock the shelves, they are only required to put the plastic binding I saw on items priced over $100; somebody may have chosen to put it on the smaller items, but they don’t come from the factory that way. “We’ll take it back if you want. It’s up to you.”
I decide to take it home. The clerk threw out my torn wrapping paper for me and put another piece of tape on the box. Now I had the problem of finding another opportunity to wrap the box again. Fortunately it came sooner than I thought,when hubby needed to make yet another trip to Lowe’s to get new weatherstripping for the front door. As soon as he was out of the driveway, I grabbed the box from the trunk, rewrapped it in the same kind of wrapping paper and ribbon, and stuck a tag on it and put it back under the tree. By this time, I've had enough practice with it that it actually came out looking decent.
It doesn't matter. Next year, I’m getting him a fruit basket.