Don’t Use Target’s Gift Registry, It Sucks

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Target recently changed their return policy to limit returns to two items each rolling 12 month period if you don’t have a receipt. I think that policy makes sense and it mirrors similar policies at other retailers and I understand that it’s meant to combat return fraud. However, someone forgot to think about the effect that will have on their gift registries, especially in the case where they fail to remove items off the gift registry and the gift giver doesn’t attach a gift receipt to the gift.

Let me give you an example, my fiancee recently had a bridal shower in which a Target gift registry was established and stocked with a variety of items such as board games. Well, when people purchased items off that list, the Target gift registry failed to remove the items from the list. You can imagine what happened next, she received multiple copies of some of the board games. Well, being a classier than average bunch, many of those duplicates didn’t come with a gift receipt taped to the box. In trying to return the items to Target, she ran smack into this new ridiculous policy. Target employees couldn’t check the registry, see that there were mistakes made on their part and give her a refund. The duplicates were Target’s fault but all their executive brains failed to identify this entirely common scenario.

I’m not writing this to complain about Target because I want them to change their policy, I could care less. I’m writing this as a warning to anyone thinking about a gift registry to skip Target’s. Target is really no different from any of those types of stores so register somewhere else and save yourself the hassle of dealing with them.

You know who does do it well? Bed Bath & Beyooooond really does a good job with their registry. If you buy it somewhere else, just give them a call and they’ll remove the item from the list. Everything is automatically 20% off, they are a bit pricier on some things, since you can find those coupons anywhere (they will accept expired coupons). And lastly, if you had it on your registry, you can return it without a receipt (the worst case is that they give you a gift card).

Who else does it well? Macy’s actually gives you a gift card or certificate worth 10% of the total value of items purchased from your bridal registry, among other similarly awesome benefits I can’t remember. 10% “cashback” is pretty freaking sweet compared to Target’s gift of a headache and a wonderfully frustrating shopping experience. So, lesson of the day is to skip Target and go elsewhere.

{ 100 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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100 Responses to “Don’t Use Target’s Gift Registry, It Sucks”

  1. Lazy Man says:

    Consider Amazon’s Wedding Registry as well. I know it’s not the most obvious gift registry, but it had everything we were looking for and a number of people preferred to go online rather than deal with a mall.

  2. juanny says:

    In defense of Target, it may not be their fault that you received duplicates. The employees working the register have no idea whether or not someone is purchasing items from a registry or not. So unless the shopper tells the cashier, and gives them the registry to scan, they have no way of knowing.

    I can especially understand this at Target, since the majority of their sales is probably non-registry, as compared to BB&B or Babies R Us (for a baby shower) where a greater percentage of their sales are for showers/weddings/etc., and the cashier is more likely to ask “is this from a registry”.

    While I agree with you that the policy should be changed for registries, the fact that you say it is their fault may not be the case.

  3. sandycheeks says:

    I love Target for most things, but not for registries. I had the same frustrating experience for baby registries. Since then I have recommended all brides-to-be and expectant mothers to register elsewhere. And I don’t buy off a Target registry b/c I know if a cashier makes a mistake, the gift recipient can be penalized.

  4. John says:

    This is a great warning to anybody that may be setting up a registry in the future.

    We had the same situation occur with our registry…although not many of our gifts came from Target (mostly from Macy’s and Bed Bath and Beyond). One of the gifts (a small fridge) we just wanted to exchange as the one we had received was slightly damaged after we opened it, they wouldn’t allow it as we had no gift receipt. Some of the gifts the gift giver didn’t attach a receipt too or maybe in all the commotion it got lost who knows.

    I no longer purchase any large items at target in general (more then $30) as I do not like the hassle of their return policy. I am willing to spend more for the same item at another store with a better return policy or just purchase it online.

    These stores make a good amount of money from registry purchases. Take your business else where and if they care maybe they will change their policy. Also Macy’s sent us a coupon (don’t remember exactly what the amount was maybe 20% off ) for all items that were left not purchased on our registry after the wedding. So if you combine that with the 10% cashback and some additional coupons you can get your remaining items for a good price.

  5. Frank says:

    Boscov’s also has the same features as Macy’s. I just got married in September and my wife originaly wanted to register at Target. However, after talking to some of her freinds about their problems returning duplicate itmes, having the registry improperly updated, etc, we decided on BB&B and Boscov’s. One word of warning though, my sister did have an issue with BB&B removing an item she bought at another store. A store emplyee told her that she had to buy it at their store to have it removed, but the problem was resolved with a quick phone call to the registry rep we worked with.
    In the end we only returned 2 things, both to BB&B. A set of towels and a wicker laundry basket that didn’t match our newly remodeled bathroom. Both were exchanged for similar items that did match.

  6. thisisbeth says:

    As with juanny, part of the problem may have been the gift buyers not telling the cashier that an item is for the registry. That being said, they should probably work on their system, too.

    For weddings, I prefer to purchase it online, and have it shipped to the recipients–I don’t have to worry about bringing the gift to the wedding.

  7. vh says:

    That’s too bad. And amazing to hear complaints about Target’s return policy. I had a really great experience with their customer service staff (they actually GAVE me a new pair of scissors when I stalked in and had a hissyfit after some product’s consumer-proof packaging broke an old pair of mine) and have never had a problem with returns.

    On the other hand, at Bed Bath & Beyond I had such an unpleasant experience with a gratuitously nasty manager that I will never shop in any of that chain’s store. The manager, for no reason that I could tell, was rude to his employee and rude to me — a truly miserable man who had no business supervising people and no business dealing with the public.

  8. I had a struggle about a year ago returning some stuff to Target that had been purchased off my baby registry. Babies R Us is actually about returned items than Target. And I would absolutely agree with you that for weddings, Bed Bath and Beyond and Macys are great. Though I do know that with Macys, returns will take a lot longer if you do it more than six months from the date of purchase because they have to do some research, or at least that was the case six or seven years ago.

  9. lauraloops says:

    I have no problems at Target returning items- but granted I purchase all of them w/ my Target Visa and it’s very easy to look up the purchase. From all of the brides at my office, I had heard BBB’s return policy was spectacular- if you returned an item, even with a receipt, they paid you back in cash! It was great, except they changed the policy within the last month. Now you get store credit on a receipt- not even on a store credit gift card. I’m sorry, but I always lose receipts, and if my store credit is tied to that, it’s going to get lost.

  10. BradM says:

    Had a similar experience returning our Wedding gifts to Target.
    We had several things we wanted to return.
    1. If you returned it, it had to have a gift receipt.
    2. You have 2 chances to return an item per year against your Driver License. The items have to be under $20, this is at least what the Manager told us.
    Most of the stuff we wanted to return were Target items, therefore we couldn’t return them somewhere else and all of them were over $20! It was a frustrating experience.
    If you buy something from Target as a gift, make sure you tape the gift receipt to the gift!

  11. Penelope Waters says:

    I had a lovely experience of shopping at Target for a baby shower: the list showed that my friend was getting almost none of what she needed a day before.

    At the baby shower, she had already received EVERY ONE of my gifts before she got to mine.

    I don’t care why it happened.

    With the attitude of the cashiers, they probably couldn’t be bothered to do the extra KEYSTROKE it would have required.

    F*** them.

  12. Meredith says:

    Anyone want an $80 wine cooler? We received TWO for the very reasons listed above. Now, one gift giver is out $80 & we’re stuck with two wine coolers that hold 10 bottles of wine. I’m telling everyone to boycott Target. We didn’t run into any trouble like this at Belk or Dillards, the two other places we registered.

  13. Meredith says:

    Also – if it was bought 90 days ago, no luck! Who has time to think about returning items the month before the wedding if the 90 days is almost up?!?!?!

  14. Chad says:

    You are correct Meredith. Who has time to start returning items with an upcoming wedding to avoid the 90 day limit? How hard can it be for a Target employee to look at the wedding registry, see that you got an item, and accept the return? Now, you want me to call up the gift givers and ask them to please send me their receipt in order to return a duplicate gift. Give me a break!!

  15. Jo says:

    I have spent most of my day trying to return an item to Target that stemmed from 2 issues -1) the registry is not updated correctly and 2) their return policy. I have spoken to 5 Target representatives today, and no one can help. We received duplicate items from our bridal registry because Target did not update it correctly on about 10 items. However, they will not take responsibility for this and will not return the item for store credit because it is over their $20 limit. I LOVE Target, but warn you to be careful of items that you might have to return. Each of the people I have spoken to have told me they are unable to override the computer to give a refund, even though the item was listed as requested 1, received 2 on our registry. I am now looking at other stores with the same product that will return without all this hassle. The customer service manager at our local store urged us to reply to their guest relations department to help fix this problem, at

  16. Amanda says:

    I’m removing Target from my wedding registry as soon as I leave work today. I’m switching to BBB. I’ve been researching complaints about target’s policy for the past hour and the results have actually made me angry.

    To those who defend the target cashier, I purchased a few months ago for a friend off her registry. I asked the cashier to remove the item from the registry, and as soon as he did that, i asked for a gift receipt. WELL HE DIDN’T PRINT IT. He apologized but said he couldn’t go back. Hope she didn’t get any more of those.

    • Ashley says:

      I do not know if that guy was a cashier or floor team member, but it is not a “one chance” deal to get a gift receipt. All you would need to do is ask for one or if you forgot, you could of returned to the store to get one. All that you need is to give the receipt, they scan it and print one for you. Some of you are mighty hot tempered about cashiers. Do not forget they deal with rudeness and filthy people on a daily basis. If a cashier is rude to you, talk to a manager. Do not go online to rant about it. Though I agree the return policy can be sh*t at times.

  17. Mindy says:

    Yeah i do not recomend target gift registry. When you search a target registry online it is not up to date with the store kiosk. Also it doesnt update because i bought a lot of items for my sis in laws baby shower and the bottom of my receipt said her registry number and it didnt update in the store so it was NOT the cashiers fault. I am haveing the same problem with my bridal registry it ses on thing online and another in the store. Some people like to print of the registry before they get to the store and it doesnt come up that the items have been purchased so you will end up with dubbles.

  18. Tracy says:

    My goal in life is to tell everyone about the horrible experience with Target’s gift registry and customer service. My daugher returned two gifts that had not been taken off her registry. After she received another duplicate this weekend, I began the process of trying to talk with someone at Target. I spoke with the assistant store manager, the store manager, and 5 different people moving up through the chain of Target Guest Relations. NO one would answer the question as to why we should be penalized when THEIR registry is clearly not working. Person no. 5 was the head of customer relations and said that no one could break their “rule.” At that point I asked for the name of the president. She gave me his name but would not give me the phone number. (Do they think that we are stupid and cannot find it on the Web?) When I called corporate, the switchboard operator refused to put me through to management and insisted that I go to Guest Relationship. At this point, I am writing a letter to the president and the vp for operations and sending it as registered mail. As another consequence, my daugher dissolved her guest list, and I refuse to shop there again. We are telling everyone about the problems with the registry. Everyone should be doing the same!

  19. Matt says:

    This is true. Target Registry will give you as many problems as it gave me. They won’t give you any return on any item that is more than $20. You can scream all you want at the manager. Just do yourself a favor and don’t register at Target!

    I’d highly recommend using Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as Linen’s N Things. These retailers didn’t give us any hassles, and were both a pleasure to deal with. I’d use Target to get stuff like flashlights, and tupperware… but you could do this at Wal-mart and avoid having a nasty surprise like I did!

  20. Sam says:

    I recently helped a friend of mine set up a wedding registry at Kohls because I had heard about the horrible return policy. I think it is ridiculous for Target to assume that everyone is going to include a receipt with an item purchased as a gift. It is kind of tacky if you ask me, but I am going to to it now that I know about Target’s policy. Back to the point, my friend ended up canceling her registry at Kohls because it was too expensive for her guests and registered at Target hoping that things would work out and that people would remember to tell the cashier that the items were on a registry. We just purchased a whole set of towels on the registry last night and told the cashier which items to mark. This morning I checked the list online and noticed that not all of the towels were marked as fulfilled. I tried calling the store to tell them what happened and they told me there was nothing I could do, but tell the owners of the registry. How stupid is that? Tell the person I bought the gift for to go and remove it from their registry before I even give it to them? Now someone else will probably purchase the same thing I did because it looks like it is not fulfilled on the list. I understand the return policy and will definitely give a receipt with my gift. I just wish I didn’t have to give a receipt because I EXPECT the person to have to return the item. Who knows how many times gifts will be purchased from the registry and not marked off. I hope other guests are smart enough to know how stingy Target is and include the receipt with their gift.

  21. Hillary says:

    Because I have always LOVED Target (even getting on e of their store credit cards) I couldn’t imagine registering anywhere else. Just like almost every bride, I received duplicate gifts. I attempted to “EXCHANGE” it (didn’t even ask for a gift card) for something else on my registry and told I had to have a gift receipt. I later found out that this had happened to several people I knew. Now, we are telling ALL the couple we know that are getting married or having babies DO NOT REGISTRY AT TARGET!!!

  22. Tina says:

    I registered at Target for our wedding 6 years ago and it was great, duplicate items were easily exchanged and I was pleased. Then this past year we registered for our baby at Target. Our showers aren’t like most showers- we had 160 people at ours. We have a HUGE family and a lot of friends. Hence we had a tremendous amount of duplicate items, and do you want to call 6 or 7 people for each item to try and have them find a gift receipt they didn’t put with the item? We tried returning items and they were horrible about it, only 2 per year. SO STUPID!! We ended up with over $300 of useless things we had to start giving away to pregnant friends. I will never register at Target again. Babies R’ Us was so much more helpful and let us return all the items they carried from Target. We switched to that registry before our baby was born and it was great! We got EVERYTHING on that list. Then when our daughter was about 6 months we had people give her Christmas presents, but duplicates. And we could not even return them WITH a receipt because we had already returned 2 items on our driver’s licenses and it hasn’t been a year yet.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I received many duplicate gifts from my wedding registry at Target (This didn’t happen at Bed Bath and Beyond) When I tried to return the items that were duplicated… in tack… in the Target box they came in. I was told they would not take any product back without a receipt. All I wanted was a store credit. They didn’t even care that they were on my registry. I asked to speak to the manager, called and wrote the home office and was told the same. This was only two weeks after my wedding. I will never shop at Target again. Do yourself a favor and register at Bed Bath and Beyond.

  24. barbara says:

    I received many duplicate gifts from my wedding registry at Target (This didn’t happen at Bed Bath and Beyond) When I tried to return the items that were duplicated… in tack… in the Target box they came in. I was told they would not take any product back without a receipt. All I wanted was a store credit. They didn’t even care that they were on my registry. I asked to speak to the manager, called and wrote the home office and was told the same. This was only two weeks after my wedding. I will never shop at Target again. Do yourself a favor and register at Bed Bath and Beyond.

  25. T.J. says:


    My wife and I made a Club Wedd registry at your Flowood, MS location. We got duplicate items and tried to return some to your store. Your return policy is a joke. The employees at the store could not return our gifts because we did not have a receipt. It did not matter that those items were on our registry. We have decided to boycott Target alltogether, and we will spread the word that Target has a horrible return policy. We will advise everyone we can, not to register or shop at Target.

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