Monday, February 19, 2018

Answer Line: At Dollar Tree, you bought it you got it

Dec. 16, 2016 at 10:48 p.m.

QUESTION: This is the stated return policy of the Dollar Tree Stores located toward the bottom of every customer receipt as follows: "We will gladly exchange any unopened item with original receipt. We do not offer refunds."

This is misleading where the term unopened is used since most of the items sold are in sealed plastic including those that are in boxes, so they have to be opened to access the product. The Dollar Tree employees here in this area will in fact accept items that have been opened because they are aware of how stupid this wording is. However, it should also be included in the official return policy printed at the bottom of the receipt because that represents the official return policy as dictated by corporate. I hope you can help to get this return policy issue cleared up?

ANSWER: I feel like my response to this should be, "Shhhh … you're going to get those nice folks at the store in trouble."

Why? Because there's nothing to clear up. You read the company's return policy correctly. Here's what Dollar Tree says about its policy online: "So that we may continue to provide you extreme value for $1.00 when shopping at one of our retail stores, we reserve the right to limit quantities, do not offer refunds, and consider all sales final. We will gladly exchange any unopened item with the original receipt."

If there's any question about what the means, let me clear it up: You paid $1 for this item. If you don't open it and want to exchange it before you open it, OK. If you open it, and it doesn't work or it's broken or it's not the color you wanted, too bad. You paid $1 for it, and you, not the Dollar Tree, will absorb the cost of that loss.

I verified that with Randy Guiler, the company's vice president of investor relations. He noted the company has kept its price at $1 for everything for 30 years, which he said is unusual these days.

Q: My question is what happened to the Church's Chicken on Mobberly Avenue in Longview? Do they plan to rebuild or are they closed permanently?

A: I spent a few weeks trying to reach the local franchise owner before contacting a spokewoman for Church's. She told me the franchisee had requested permission to close that location because it was "underperforming financially." Church's gave its consent, and the store was shuttered.

The spokeswoman noted there's another location a couple of miles away on East Marshall Avenue and it is performing much better than the one on Mobberly Avenue was. (There's also one on Toler Road, across town.)

Unfortunately, that means another shuttered, vacant building in south Longview, and the company doesn't have any plans for the property at this time. Hopefully, some new plans will be developed soon.

Q: Regarding the Christmas Kids on the front page: I was wondering why we never have any Hispanic kids in there? You have white and black. I'm wondering why we never see any of their pictures in the paper?

A: I have to be honest. I looked through this year's photos so far, and last year's Christmas Kids, and here's what I see and know: The News-Journal doesn't ask the participating families to check a box about their children's ethnicities. The children I saw are a beautiful, ethnically diverse group who are just as cute as they can be, but I'm not sure any of us can look at all of those children and make entirely accurate assumptions about their ethnicities.

I asked Editor Ric Brack about this, too.

"We enjoy sharing the smiling faces of a few dozen of our readers' children with our audiences in print and online each Christmas season and strive to select a representative sample," he said. "For whatever reason, this year we had fewer submissions than in the past, so we wound up publishing every one that was submitted who was available to make our photo shoot times."

Feel free to reach out to any families you know would like to be included next Christmas. We start soliciting entries for Christmas Kids by early November.

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.



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