ELMHURST – Osetra Russian caviar, hissing pet cockroaches, and a “Cat Dressed as Rambo Riding a Fire-Breathing Unicorn Mouse Pad” were among the unique and infinite number of items taken in during the first week at the new Amazon Returns Service desk located inside of Kohl’s as Elmhurst residents descended upon the department store with their unusual and unwanted online purchases.
Caught off guard by what has become an “endless” line of customers returning products they ordered from Amazon.com, employees from both Amazon and Kohl’s are scrambling to find solutions for making Amazon’s return service run smoother while ensuring that regular Kohl’s customers and shoplifters are not inconvenienced by an estimated increase of 500 customers in the store each day.
“There has been a constant line for returning things since the day we opened, and there are people walking all around the store with boxes of items they wish to return,” said Amazon service manager Mark Janikowski, who also oversees the “Amazon Boutique” adjacent to the returns desk where customers can purchase voice-activated personal assistants and government listening devices like Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot. “I can’t see how anyone could have imagined that combining Amazon and Kohl’s in Elmhurst would have this type of fallout.”
Introduced at the Elmhurst Crossing store last week and at a handful of other locations around Chicagoland and in Los Angeles, the service allows customers to return items purchased from Amazon.com free of charge. For many Elmhurst residents, the convenience of returning merchandise at a place where they frequently shop anyway is a “win-win”.
“I’m really excited about this new service because I’m here all of the time anyway,” said Elmhurst resident Meagan Cromwell, waiting in line to return two pairs of Christian Loubouton Crystal Platform boots after intentionally ordering sizes of 6, 6 1/2, and 7 from Amazon.com for the convenience of trying them all on at home. “I just wish they allowed Amazon Prime members like myself to move up to the front of the line.”
While the Amazon Returns Service has had to enforce their “no return” policy numerous times thus far on items such as wine, fresh flowers, and flammable liquids, customers have been allowed to return almost anything else they purchased from Amazon.com regardless of whether or not they still have the original packing materials.
“They’re certainly trying to make it easy for returning things,” said Elmhurst resident Blake Stone, waiting outside of Kohl’s in one of the designated parking spots for Amazon customers after deploying his 12-year-old son to run inside and see how long the line is before unstrapping the 394 gallon hot tub from atop his Range Rover. “But I just don’t like long lines. So if there’s more than four people waiting, then I’m probably just going to donate this to Goodwill.”
Officials from Amazon and Kohl’s have vowed to solve all of the issues involved with having a “store within a store” as quickly as possible.