Twas The Day AFTER Christmas, and all though the stores . . .

Broadway Christmas Return Policy. . .  people were returning gifts left and right . . . and . . . and . . . I can’t think of a good rhyme for stores.

Just about every industry out there plays the return-game gamble, where they advertise returns on products as a part of the sales process.

Not your size?  Not your color?  Just not want it anymore?  Give it back.  And they’ll give you your money back.

The gamble is, of course, that they’ll move more product to people on the edge of a purchase that they wouldn’t sell otherwise, to make up for any products that might come back.  And, of course, it’s a confidence game . . . the manufacturers are confident enough in their product that when the consumer gets it home, they won’t be able to live without it.

And this is a gamble that pays off.

Broadway doesn’t participate in the returns anytime-anywhere (with or without a gift receipt).  In our defense, most perishable industries don’t.  Airlines, restaurants, sporting events . . . once you buy, that’s it . . . “no refunds/exchanges.”

There have been some experiments here or there with “guarantees” and “returns” over the years.  Jersey Boys offered a winter weather guarantee to let suburbans known that if snow prevented them from getting into the city, their tickets could be used for another night without penalty.  I even offered a money back guarantee on Altar Boyz years ago, when we were experiencing title-resistance problems.

But I can’t help but wonder if an industry wide public program is in our future.

Could Broadway ever be confident enough to offer to give anyone their money back who buys a ticket and then changes their mind?  Would shows that get bad reviews see a storm of refund requests the day when the notices come out?  Or would more folks take a gamble on a ticket as a gift, knowing there was flexibility?

I don’t think we’re ready for refunds just yet.  But, like we’ve taken a cue from the airline industry in other matters (premium seating, variable pricing), I think it’s time we offer changes . . . subject to a fee.  Or maybe charge more for a ticket that can be refundable?

Modern business requires us to be more customer friendly than ever before.  And if we don’t become more flexible with how we allow our customers to purchase our products, they’ll chose other products that are.

Oh, and 10 bucks to anyone that comes up with a great rhyme for “stores” to finish up my bad attempt at a punny poem.

 

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Comments
  • Kevin says:

    ‘Twas the day after Christmas
    And all thorough the stores
    The gifts brought back
    That no one adores

    On tube socks, on tie tacks
    And kitsch by the score
    Once under a tree
    Now piled on the floor

    Lie presents not present
    In homes anymore
    Returned as a mundane,
    Post holiday chore.

  • Daniel says:

    In the non-profit world, often the ability to do returns and hassle-free exchanges is a subscription perk. I know I have that ability at all three theatres to which I subscribe (one even encourages people to come and see a show multiple times, if space is available). All allow for last minute exchanges. Some allow exchanging for a different show.

  • Polo says:

    Silly me, first rhyme that came to mind was “whores”. Shows you where my head’s at.

  • Jared says:

    I can’t help with the “stores” rhyme, but I do think it’s time for a change in the no refunds/no exchanges policy.

    I can’t imagine producers offering full returns hassle-free (as you pointed out, poorly reviewed shows would probably suffer enormously from that). But I think being able to exchange tickets for a different day without penalty would be nice. To get really good seats to a Broadway show you have to buy months in advance, and if someone gets unexpectedly sick or the weather turns lousy it would be nice if you could exchange the ticket for a different performance. I now Disney does this, and if the performance you want to switch to is more expensive you pay the difference.

    Maybe shows could also offer something akin to traveller’s insurance for show tickets. For an extra fee, you gain the ability to cancel your tickets and get most of your money back should you no longer be able to make the show. The extra fee would discourage people from returning tickets due to bad reviews, but would allow those out of town guests who have to cancel their trip last minute the peace of mind knowing that they can at least get most of their money back.

    I definitely think this is something that needs to change. Right now it can feel like the theatre is taking advantage of patrons, since they have no qualms about reselling your unused ticket even though they’ve already collected money for it, which seems a tad shady.

  • Bad idea.

    A bad idea for many reasons, but I’ll just list a few:

    1. The idiotic marketing of shows has made pricing a complete disaster. If you wanted to exchange a ticket for a different day when a particular price was not offered, all of a sudden you are into a financial morass that will build a big time line at the box office. Very bad at curtain time.

    2. Helping the scalpers. If they are speculating on tickets and get stuck with some number of them, you’ve just thrown them a lifeline while screwing your own show.

    3. What about tickets the show must pay commissions on? Goldstar, Living Social, and all those other vampires? Sales limitations on these tickets mean you can’t exchange them. Without pain, anyway.

    4. TKTS, TDF and group sales. How exactly might that work, anyway? Answer: it wouldn’t.

    5. Third party sales? Stub Hub or others? How to exchange or refund when they aren’t the original purchaser? Smells like a fraud stew to me.

    As it is, most theaters will work with legitimate customers to help them when they need an exchange. The no refund/no exchange policy is mostly to prevent the above mentioned abuses.

  • Eliza says:

    and all through the stores, people returned gifts, even skin care for their pores.

    merry christmas!

    -E.

  • Kyle says:

    …their presents were bores.

  • Cathy flynn says:

    ‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the stores,
    people were returning gifts left and right,
    up and down escalators, and through revolving doors,
    But no return tickets, to the playwrights delight!

  • Cathy flynn says:

    Oops – to the producers delight.

  • Lisa Peterson says:

    ’twas the night after Christmas and all through the stores, gift returns were mounting, exhausted sales clerk abhors

  • Tara says:

    This is my first year at a large arts complex, so at least half our calls today were from folks who got tickets for Christmas and the date didn’t work for them. Made a lot of exchange exceptions today, but they all came with a $10 per ticket fee.

    There could be some real value to having an exchangeable ticket that may cost a little more. Especially when it comes to gifting tickets.

    And since I can’t resist an opportunity to write bad poetry:

    Twas the day after Christmas,
    And all through the stores
    the returns line kept winding
    and went out the doors.

    The gifts had been opened and wrapping all shred,
    As we all tried our best to not show utter dred.
    With a “thanks” and “oh wow” the smiles persisted,
    “It’s just greatest, I swear!” we insisted.

    We just couldn’t wait to dispose of this crap,
    Despite our hangovers and crowded cash wrap.
    With deep sighs we shuffled and I started thinking,
    “If they just gave me cash then I’d still be drinking.”

    Then at long last my turn came to be,
    So I plopped the bag down and said with such glee,
    “I’d much prefer cash, though credit’s OK,
    I just want to get out and be on my way.”

  • Rick Shulman says:

    ‘Twas the day after Christmas
    And all thorough the stores
    People were returning gifts left and right
    through the revolving doors.

  • Francie-Sue Rothstein says:

    …. folks were waiting in line and eating s’mores!

  • Bob says:

    “Twas the day after Christmas
    And all through the stores
    The way people were acting
    You’d have thought it was the Napoleonic Wars.

    or

    “Twas the day after Christmas
    And all through the stores
    People were returning gifts
    Keeping only their boxes of s’mores!

  • Michael Lawrence says:

    “Twas the day after Christmas
    And all through the stores
    People were returning gifts –
    Maybe even yours.
    But worry not
    Because you’ve got
    What no one can ignore:
    A pair of tix
    For a play,
    Not a flick;
    No exchanges, no refunds –
    Sheer magic galore!

  • ‘Twas the day AFTER Christmas
    And all through the stores
    People were returning gifts,
    Even “bargain galores.”

  • Debbie Saville says:

    Twas the day after Christmas
    And all through the stores
    Customers, coming and going
    And looking for more…

    Bargains, more bargains?
    It was just yesterday,
    You received lots of presents
    Now you give them away?

    I don’t quite remember from when I was a child
    A return policy from Santa
    Now,that would be wild

    As he returns to the North Pole
    After a long journey’s flight
    To find people lined up
    At his door the next night?

    The End 🙂

  • ‘Twas the Day AFTER Christmas, and all though the stores,
    People were returning gifts left and right.
    They served as Ken’s Show Biz metaphors.
    Like lines at the box office, they disappeared out of sight.

  • ECP says:

    …folks were bearing receipts,
    some pleading on all fours.

  • Debbie Klaar says:

    Perhaps not refunds, but definitely EXCHANGES should be the way Broadway goes. In this fast paced world, stuff happens and I know myself that I would have appreciated exchanges on tickets for a different night.

  • Mary Britt says:

    Here goes …

    Twas the day after Christmas
    And all through the stores
    The gifts were returning,
    The shoes and lots more

    While children were nestled all snug in their beds
    Their mothers and fathers were scratching their heads
    Was this gift from Macy’s or FAO Schwartz?
    Did Rob really think anyone here played sports?

    This size is too small! And, today, who eats gluten?
    This CD is strange, and, really…. boot scootin’?
    What matches this color? And who gets this cap?
    I’m getting a headache and may take a nap!

    When right on the subway arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter!
    Then what, to my bleary eyes should appear,
    But a sidewalk Santa and eight Hershey reindeer!

    “Now Gershwin, now Shubert, now Simon and Snapple,
    On Newhouse, On Minskoff, On Court and Big Apple!
    Up over the rooftops, the Marquis, even higher
    The reindeer steered clear of the Empire’s big spire.

    We all heard him shout as he flew out of sight
    “Avoid all returns and headaches and fights.
    Next year you’ll buy gift cards and tickets for shows
    With a chance to exchange if in winter it snows.”

    So maybe exchanging will need a small fee
    But isn’t that better? I think we agree.”
    So you get “Kinky” and “Hedwig” and “Pippin”
    And I get some “Wicked”, now maybe I’m smitten!

    Will Christmas finally be fun for all?
    For bosses and sisters and weird Uncle Paul?
    The right size and color. No batteries to test.
    Think Broadway next year, when buying the best!

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