Returning Baby Shower Gifts: With and Without Receipts

returning baby shower gifts

The other day a woman stood in the return line at Target with an overflowing cart of baby items. When she reached the cashier, she said, “I’d like to return everything in my cart.”

“Most of these are duplicates,” she said, pulling out items and placing them on the counter in front of her. “They are all on my baby registry.”

Returning Baby Shower Gifts

The cashier began chatting with the mom-to-be. 

“You want to return all of this?” the cashier asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I’d rather have a Target gift card. I don’t need all of these baby clothes and blankets.” She told the cashier that she was returning almost everything she received from her baby shower.

The cashier probed for more information. At first, the mom-to-be said, she didn’t need that much stuff. She was happy with the basics, including a few onesies, diapers, wipes, and a baby sling. 

Then she confessed to creating a registry even though she planned to return the gifts.

“I know my friends and family want to buy me stuff, but I don’t need it. I couldn’t ask for money,” she said, “so I made a baby registry. Now I’m here to return everything.”

How to Return Baby Shower Gifts Without Receipt

It turns out this mom-to-be created a registry with the full intention of returning just about everything she received. 

“I can buy what I want when I want it,” she said. “Then I can buy what I want later,” she said with a grin. “I can even buy groceries.”

How to Return Baby Shower Gifts to Target

Before walking away from the register, she told the cashier a trick. “Some people bought stuff that wasn’t on my baby registry. I was able to scan the bar codes and add them after the fact. I returned even more stuff than I thought I would!”

Registering and Returning Gifts

When I got married nearly five years ago, I considered not registering for gifts. My husband and I didn’t need much stuff in our lives. 

Eventually, friends and family convinced me to create a registry. They rightly assumed that people would buy us things, so we might as well get stuff we wanted.

“It’s better than receiving cheap, thoughtless gifts or telling someone you don’t like the gift,” they told me.

I suppose most bride and grooms and parents-to-be want cash and gift cards in place of household and baby items they may or may not want or need. 

I can see why this mom-to-be wanted the flexibility to purchase what she wanted. Somehow it still feels wrong, though. It’s sad to think that her friends and family went out and purchased items she fully intended to return.

Do you think it’s wrong to create a registry with the full intention of returning the gifts you receive?

15 thoughts on “Returning Baby Shower Gifts: With and Without Receipts”

  1. I don't have a problem with this lady buying groceries with her baby gift card. Diapers may be on sale at Walgreens the week chicken is on sale at Target. So she uses baby gift card for groceries and grocery money for diapers. It's all a wash in the end.

  2. oh wow, this totally strikes a chord. i am having a baby soon and luckily this time (vs wedding registry), i actually managed to register just for necessities. luckily since we don't know what we're having, we haven't gotten a ton of cute but unnecessary clothes, and people have bought off the registry. i appreciate the sentiment that a gift is to celebrate the baby, and i'm so thankful for the thought, but honestly i need what i need and i don't have a problem returning things that i won't use. i have no problem with the woman's plan. i do agree that it's wasteful, but i think it's the lesser of the evils of waste: she could keep everything she got but resent it (b/c if it were me, i would totally resent using cute stuff that i know cost more than basics), or she could take the gift, thank the giver for the SENTIMENT and TIME (which really is what matters, i think), and use the money for things she felt were most useful. to me this is a win-win.

    as a giver, if i buy something on the registry, i think i'm buying something that is useful. i'm not necessarily invested in what it is because you want to give something useful. i would have no problem with someone returning something i got them from the registry if they decided something else was more important.

    i could go on…i have really strong opinions about gifts! basically the bottom line for me is that it's not about the gift at all, but about the sentiment. what i do with the gift itself doesn't matter as long as the sentiment is appreciated.

  3. This takes some serious chutzpah. But honestly, if a friend did this with my gift, I wouldn't care at all.

    I have two small kids and do often return gifts of clothing for things that fit better or are more practical. I figure that the gift giver intends my kids to wear the clothes, so it isn't a big deal if I exchange.

    But returning baby blankets and buying, say, potato chips? That does seem … odd.

  4. Honestly, I've heard of some of my friends doing exactly this. Maybe not 90% of the items they registered for, but going to Target specifically because the items can be returned for a gift card. I wouldn't mind someone taking back any of my gifts to them, I do think it's a little weird to register for something and then return it for the cash, but to each their own.

  5. On our wedding registry we only registered for the things we actually needed. about 20% gave cash. about 5% got something off the registry. about 5% gave gift cards (to places we did not register). the remaining 70% got things that we did not want/need at places unknown that will sit in the garage until we re-gift them, give them to goodwill, or throw them out.

    i now plan to do this for the baby registry with the hope that the stuff we don't want/need will at least come off the registry so we can return it.


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