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. Jessica says:

    If you guys don’t want to register at target that’s fine. Don’t do it. But don’t complain about the return policy. It is more than fair. They give you three months to return an item and only ask that it is new and unused. Yes things break, but if it’s not your fault they will let you exchange it for the exact same item. If it takes you three months to figure out you don’t like something that’s your fault. Yes Target is a big corporation that wants to make money, just like any other company. But there are people working in each store that are trying to make a living and have to follow the store policies. So don’t boycott a store just because you disagree with something about it, and don’t go telling all your friends to do the same. If the person buying the item doesn’t tell the cashier that it is a registry item how the heck is the cashier suppose to know? it is definitely not targets fault that you receive duplicates. I know this post was written years ago, but targets return policy has changed. You can return up to 75 dollars a year without a receipt. and as far as registries go; if you print off your gift purchase log (ask an employee if you don’t know what it is) you can return all your duplicates and even some of the stuff that wasn’t even on your registry and it will act almost like a gift receipt. you will get a gift card back. I think that’s more than fair.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually everything you said may be true if you have employees that know what they are doing.

      I have had SEVERAL friends complain to me about this exact issue. One received FIVE coffee makers…now maybe, just maybe 1 or 2 friends can forget to have the registry scanned but NOT 5! Now, she did have gift receipts for all of them and when she printed out her registry and brought them in to return, they wouldn’t let her because of the 2 item policy (despite the fact that she had obvious proof that Target made the error) So she had to find 2 more people to return those items. Talk about putting the customer last

    • Lola says:

      I think it’s absolutely fair to advise someone not to use a certain registry- the beauty of an open market. And clearly you didn’t read the story in it’s entirety.

  2. Patty says:

    I guess you did’t really read the complaints all the way through. My main complaints were 1) stuff is NOT removed from the registry and I DID in fact tell the cashier it was a registry item, as did many others whose items were never removed from the registry, and 2) when you try to call their customer relations department you are transferred to New Dehli, India where NOBODY understands English well enough to help you! And this didn’t happen years ago, it happened 2 months ago and the return policy is still the same as always. My daughter-in-law tried to return a brand-new duplicate gift WITH the original receipt and still in the original packaging and the associate would NOT give her a refund, only a store credit so she was forced to buy another Target item even though they did not have what she was looking for.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just registered at target and the above makes me nervous. I will probably remove my registry. I was skeptical about it anyways they don’t even give you a card to include with your invitation to let people know you are registered there. When I asked the associate how people were to know we were registered there her comment was “write it somewhere” I was thinking to myself, I spend all this this money on invites to write on them and make them look tacky. Yeah right.

      • Anonymous says:

        Adding a registry card to your invites is equally as “tacky” as writing on your invitations. Read any etiquette book or talk to anyone with an ounce of class, and they’ll all tell you that you are not to mention gifts in any form on formal invitations … and that includes placing those horrendous registry cards in the envelope. The proper way to notify guests of your registry is through word of mouth through family members and your wedding party. Otherwise, you make your wedding invitations look like a painfully vain request for gifts.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous on 8-6-10, we don’t live in the ’50s anymore. With wedding guests all over the world at some weddings, and huge 200+ people events, you can’t rely on the wedding party telling everyone where you’re registered.
    And how is that not just as tacky? If I’m going to a wedding, I’m EXPECTED to provide a gift. If I don’t know where the couple is registered, you’re telling me I’m supposed to track down the wedding party and family members and ASK them? It makes me look like a dolt.
    So shove off with your etiquette BS and join the 21st century.

  4. Cathy says:

    It is still considered impolite by many to include registry cards or references to registries, because you are outwardly requesting gifts. To get around that you could a) include it in your bridal shower invitations, b)make a wedding website (they are free and relatively easy to make, and post your registry information on the site, include a link to the website on your invitations.

    As far as registries go. I have had friends who have registered at many places, and complain about Target, and Sears as the worst experiences. Several items only available online, and not in stores, which makes them get many of the few items that are available in stores. Now with the new return policy, it makes the registry experience particularly tiring.

    The great thing about a Bed Bath and Beyond registry is you can return anything for a new one, even if it breaks 3 years after using it. I broke my vacuum around 3 times now, my mixer once, my sewing machine. No need for receipt, you bring it in it, they look it up, and give you a new one. It has a life time guarantee policy.

    I have also heard great things about Macy’s and Crate and Barrel registries.

  5. WANDA says:

    My daughter was registered with target, and items were not coming off even though, the registry paper was printed and scanned. It also, added to her registry items that were not registry items.

  6. sue says:

    i stopped shopping at target when they wouldnt let the salvation army ring their bell at christmas time in front of the store. bah hum bug to you target

  7. Heather says:

    Another f’ed up thing about Target return policy I heard today: My friend bought two (size small) work out tank tops for $9.99 each. They were too small and she took them back to exchange them for two medium shirts. She did not have a receipt but the tags were still on the shirts. She paid cash so they couldn’t look up what she paid through her credit card. They told her they’d give her a $12 credit but that was it. They wouldn’t even let her even exchange the two shirts she bought, which is what she wanted to begin with. Stupid, very stupid!!!

  8. Mon says:

    We no longer like Target’s wedding registry. Several gifts on our registry show our friends have bought them, but we have never received. When we called to inquire with Target about them, they said they couldn’t give out the information and told us to call our guest that hadn’t given us gifts to see if the missing ones were from them! First; that is extremely rude ( no one wants to call guest and say hey we didn’t get a gift from you, did you get us a blender, grill set, lamp or silverware) no way! and second, if Target is going to have a wedding registry they should be more organized. We’ve spent countless hours on the phone and have gone round and round in circles and no one can help us. I would not recommend registering with them as we think there is something majorley wrong. If a guest pays for a gift we should receive it and they should keep track of it.

  9. E says:

    I’m a Target Guest Service team member. And I’m sorry, but the moral of the story seems to be “KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS” we can’t believe how many people come into our stores, and get mad at US, yell at US, and cuss US out, because THEY decided to return something without their receipt.

    Like Heather, for instance. We don’t have proof that your actually purchased the items at the store with out receipt… anyone can just walk up to Guest Service with T-shit with tags on them and ask to exchange. Not only that but without the receipt we cannot prompt the exchange system on our computers, which means just swapping the items out will cause us to be short on the items swapped.

    So when guest’s call us for the item, it’ll say we have more than we actually do in stock- and we also loose money.

    • Jim says:

      I don’t buy the receipt explanation, other stores don’t seem to have a problem with it. Aren’t the tags Target tags? Shouldn’t the system be able to figure it out? Seems like a simple problem.

      Also, I don’t blame the employees though, it’s clearly not your fault but the fault of the system. I don’t understand why people get upset at employees when it’s clear that this is corporate policy, not the whim of an individual.

      • Shirley says:

        When people feel that they have been handed an unfair shake, they get angry and tend to ‘kill the messenger’ because they are the one that is physically there. No, it’s not fair, but it is an automatic reaction for those without a great deal of self-control.

        Working in Retail Sales for more than a month absolutely requires you to have good self-esteem and the ability to ‘shake it off’ when a customer is rude or unreasonable, rather than reacting in kind.

        While working in retail I was even once blamed for a chicken having only two legs… figure that one out! 😉

    • JM says:

      Sucks they would have made so much money off of my wedding registry thanks for the info not registering with them!

    • brian says:

      lowes has no hastle returns, maybe target should do that too.

  10. E says:

    @Jim No jim, sorry. The system cannot “figure it out” and I wish the guest’s would listen to themselves when they say “other stores do it” that’s why they are OTHER STORES. We’re Target, we have our own policies on returns. Sorry.

    I probably sound bitter, I’m not. I love my job at Target Guest service. And when I do get an unruly guest, I stay calm, and stay professional.
    But it’s nice to get on here anonymously and get to air our thoughts.

    • Jim says:

      I know it can’t and I know it’s not your fault, it’s just how the system was designed.

      I’m glad you are sharing your thoughts, I think it’s important to get a discussion out there.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Bed bath and beyond will not give you a gift card anymore even when your guest gives you a gift receipt! They will now only give you a merchandise certificate. I am deleting my registry with them.

    • JH says:

      wrong. i’ve already returned several things to BB&B in the past 2 weeks from my registry (with the packing slip from shipment) and i’ve received cold hard cash, not even a gift card and definitely not store credit. BB&B wins!

    • Stacey says:

      This is not true don’t believe it,, I work at bed bath and beyond and we have the best bridal return system ever.. We will give you a gift card for bridal returns..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Target’s return policy does suck when it comes to registries!! Case closed. I am a hard core receipt keeper, but when it comes to registries, you cant control what the guests do whether they choose to give you a gift receipt or not and if they think to ring it out via the cashier off your registry. If you have a registry, baby or wedding, businesses should provide a little more leniancy. After all, we could have decided on “here is were I want you to purchase my gifts at” at a dozen other stores….

  13. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with this assesment – THEY SUCK!!I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time, and that my friends and family had not gotten me gift cards from there. I also registered at Bloomingdale’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond and got GREAT service from both of those places. Target & BBB gave me three months and Bloomie’s six months to come in and use my registry completion offer (10% at all three places). You know how busy things are after I wedding, so I waited til the last minute on the two three month offers. No problems with BBB. On the 10% off card Target gave me, I noticed that it had expired five days short of the three months for some strange reason (I guess they must’ve used 90 days instead of three months). So, I asked the manager if she would honor it (3 days after it expired) and she REFUSED! I also called the 800 number for the registry for help and got the same response. ZERO care about the customer, ZERO service…I spent my gift cards that day in the store and will NEVER shop at Target again. And I spend a good bit of money there….they just lost a customer for life over their “we’re a big corporation, you’re a little ant go F** yourself” attitude. But I highly recommend BBB and Bloomindale’s registries.

  14. Ashley says:

    Target’s bridal registry is terrible. I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time, and that my friends and family had not gotten me gift cards from there. I also registered at Bloomingdale’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond and got GREAT service from both of those places. Target & BBB gave me three months and Bloomie’s six months to come in and use my registry completion offer (10% at all three places). You know how busy things are after I wedding, so I waited til the last minute on the two three month offers. No problems with BBB. On the 10% off card Target gave me, I noticed that it had expired five days short of the three months for some strange reason (I guess they must’ve used 90 days instead of three months). So, I asked the manager if she would honor it (3 days after it expired) and she REFUSED! I also called the 800 number for the registry for help and got the same response. ZERO care about the customer, ZERO service…I spent my gift cards that day in the store and will NEVER shop at Target again. And I spend a good bit of money there….they just lost a customer for life over their “we’re a big corporation, you’re a little ant go F** yourself” attitude. But I highly recommend BBB and Bloomindale’s registries. Thanks.

  15. JM says:

    Thanks for all the comments above. I don’t usually write on these forums, but I really wanted to say thank you. My fiance and I are going tomorrow to do our registry and were planning on registering at both Target and BB&B. We’re definitely no longer registering with Target.

    Thanks again!

    • Sarah says:

      I’m with you! I never comment on these things, but we’re certainly not going to Target. We did BB&B and Macy’s. Good luck!

  16. ALP says:

    Wish I would of seen these comments before I had registered with Target but Its to late to turn back now. I went on line to view our registry after reading this and printed it out and had seen quite a few things taken off so thats a relief. Maybe there is hope. Otherwise to anwsay someones question if you did not have a weding website and wanted to add inserts to the the shower invite. All you have to do is go online or call guest services and they will direct you to the wedsite(step by step where to go) and they print right up!! Everyone one knows a shower is thrown for the happy couple to be showered with gifts!!! Weather or not you use the inserts or the wedsite its not tacky!!!

  17. Anne says:

    We registered at Target for our wedding and had lots of problems. For starters, many items we scanned did not show up on our online registry. Many of those items DID show up on the in-store registry that you can print at the kiosk, though, and I don’t know why the registries don’t match up. Some items we removed online still showed up in stores. I had to keep visiting the store after making any changes online to see if the registries matched, which was a huge pain in the behind. Some items we scanned wouldn’t show up online OR in store, only on the scanner gun. One of those items I couldn’t find on the website to add it that way, so nobody knew we wanted these Smith & Hawken deck chairs. And some items magically appeared on the in-store (not online) registry, like Trident gum and baby clothes. This was a wedding registry, so baby clothes raised lots of eyebrows. I called customer service to get it removed and the rep said she could only removed an item if I put it on there. OK, I said, so how do you deal with items that magically appeared on my registry? Thankfully a store clerk was able to remove the random items I didn’t register for. And today we returned a few registry items and asked about the completion discount, and were told we won’t get it for about a month. So we have gift cards and cash we WANT to use at Target, but feel like we need to wait until the discount comes. Since we’re planning to spend hundreds of dollars there, and we can only use the discount on reistry items, we pretty much have to wait. It’s just dumb. BB&B e-mailed me the completion discount information this morning, and our reception was just yesterday. Most of our guests gave cash or gift cards, and we spent over $1k at BB&B today to take advantage of the completion discount. Wonder how much of our wedding money we’ll spend elsewhere while waiting for Target to send us the completion discount. Oh well it’s their (financial) loss, not ours.

  18. TiredOfTarget says:

    I will never purchase a gift from Target again – only items that I am sure I will never have to return (consumables).
    I purchased four gifts for our friends off their registry list at Target. I bought the items in the store. The cashier was rushing through and scanned only one item. I asked her to double-check and she said that she did scan both items and the registry list. Then, yesterday, I went back to purchase the other two items. I noticed that one of the two originally purchased items were not removed from the wed registry list. I blamed the cashier…until today. Today I WENT BACK to the store because only ONE of the items I purchased yesterday were removed from the registry list. I don’t buy the “wait a day or two” when some of the items are removed in “real time” mode. I won’t blame the cashier anymore either, even if it was just in my thoughts. The bride just happened to call me after I was leaving Target today and asked what I was doing; I said “I’m trying to get some items I purchase for you removed from your registry and giggled. She started CRYING! She has been on the phone with Target, in the stores, emailing requests for help. Most of her bridal shower gifts were not removed from the registry. She is having a hard time returning items, exchanging items, and straightening out the mess that is her registry. For a supposed convenience, this “service” offered by Target is no service at all!!! Her plan is to now go online, login to her registry and hopefully either remove all items or indicate that they are all “fulfilled”…even though they aren’t. She’d rather take her chances the old-fashioned way and I heartily agree!!!

  19. Anna DuBois says:

    I went to Target today to get the paper slip with the registry number. They do not have those. Whaaat? I was opting for some items on Target because they were cheaper. Im thinking about deleting the registry and just using the one I already have for

    And yes Ive seen in books where putting the slip in the invitation is said to be of poor taste but its called a baby shower… showering the baby with love and gifts… All rules weren’t meant to be followed because
    I’m definitely skipping this one.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I registered with Target this weekend. It is a long process to go through the store for everything a new home needs. The scanner was working well and uploaded well. Each item read correctly on the scanner at the time of scanning. However, when I got home and looked up the items, most of them were baby items. It is a pain to start over and a pain to fix this mess. Not recommended.

  21. Michelle says:

    I went to Target this weekend and registered for everything a new couple will need. Everything was meticulously chosen to coordinate and to help every financial situation of the invited to the wedding. The scanner seemed to be working correctly, displaying the item correctly on the screen. The scanner seemed to upload correctly when I left the store. No comments were made by the employee. However, when I got home and pulled up the list online, the items were incorrect, lots of items were baby items. My fiance suddenly thought I was pregnant! I do not trust the Target registry and know I will need to re-do this and will monitor carefully.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I used to think Target was a neat store, but I’m not so sure I’ll shop there any more. My son and daughter-in-law had registered there for their wedding and are on their honeymoon now. they open their gifts this week. It will be interesting how many duplicates they may have received from Target and what happens if they have to return some. I wish they would have been warned sooner.

  23. Brenda says:

    Well, I had planned to order a bridal gift online, but after reading the comments, I will not waste my time or money at Target. Thanks for the info.

  24. s szlag says:

    Trying to get onto a registry is a nightmare. Everytime i try to get on it tells me sorry try again or some other remark> I am so irritated. My son and his wife are registered there and at babies r us I guess I will just go to babies r us at least I can get onto that registry. Has anyone else had this problem?

  25. Erica says:

    WORST REGISTRY PLACE EVER!!!! I set it up online and then went in to the store and added more things…. A month or so ago I went online to add/delete items and couldn’t access my registry. So after a few days of dealing with customer service (all the while HOPING nothing was being bought) I finally got access again and made some changes….. Now, again, I haven’t been able to access my site OR pull if up as a guest… I am SO annoyed and with only 25 days left I know many people already know we are registered there so I feel like I SHOULDN’T just completely delete it but I REALLY REALLY want to!!!! DON’T USE TARGETTTT

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