Speak English Around Town » LESSON 2 - Returning an Item to the Store

Returning an Item to the Store

Paul bought a camera yesterday that doesn't work. He returns it to the store. Tim, the salesman, helps him make an exchange.

Paul: Hi, I bought this camera here yesterday, and it's not working.

Tim: Did you charge the battery and put it in correctly?

Paul: Yes. I followed the directions to the letter.

Tim: Do you mind if I take a crack at it?

Paul: Be my guest.

Tim: I usually have the magic touch ... Hmmm, you're right. It doesn't work. Would you like a replacement?

Paul: No, this is the second one I've had to return. I think I'll steer clear of this model.

Tim: I hear what you're saying. It's frustrating when you get one bad unit, let alone two!

Paul: Yeah, it's a bummer! I'd like my money back.

Tim: If you give me your receipt, I'll issue a credit to your credit card. But you might also try a different model or brand.

Paul: Maybe I will try a different camera.

Tim: We've got an excellent Canon camera that's the same price as this one. It would be an even exchange.

Paul: Okay, I'll take it. I hope this one works out.

Tim: If you 're not happy with it, don't hesitate to bring it back.

  • be my guest
    please go ahead; try it yourself
    Example: "May I try fixing the copier?" -"Be my guest!"
  • (a) bummer
    a disappointment
    Example: I lost my receipt, and the store won't take the dress back without it. What a bummer!
  • don't hesitate to
    please go ahead and do something; don't be shy about doing something
    Example: If you need advice on buying a car, don't hesitate to ask.
  • even exchange
    a trade of equal value; when you return something and take something else that costs the same price
    Example: If you return those pants and get this sweater instead, it will be an even exchange. They're both $39.99.
  • (to) have the magic touch
    to have talent at doing something; to be able to do something difficult
    Example: You can't open that bottle? Give it to Ivan. He usually has the magic touch.
  • I hear what you 're saying
    I understand you; I sympathize with you
    Example: "I worked 60 hours this week. I'm exhausted!" - "I hear what you're saying."
  • (to) issue a credit
    to give money back to
    Example: Rachel returned the sweater to the Gap, and they issued her a credit.
    NOTE: When a clerk issues a "store credit," the dollar amount is put on a store card that can later be used to buy something at that store.
  • let alone
    much less; not to mention
    Example: I can't remember the name of the movie, let alone the plot.
  • (to) steer clear of
    to avoid, usually due to a bad experience
    Example: Mark got food poisoning at O'Reilly's? We'd better steer clear of that place from now on!
  • (to) take a crack at
    to try something
    Example: I don't know if l can fix your laptop, but I'll take a crack at it.
  • to the letter
    Example: I followed the recipe on the box to the letter, but this chocolate cake tastes terrible!
  • (to) work out
    to be successful; to meet one's needs
    Example: I just bought my first Mac. I hope it works out.
Practice the Expressions

Fill in the blanks using the following expressions:

  • take a crack at it
  • to the letter
  • has the magic touch
  • let alone
  • what a bummer
  • steer clear of
  • works out
  • issue you a credit
  • don't hesitate to
  • even exchange
  1. This restaurant is lousy. Let's _____ it from now on.
  2. You broke your leg in a skiing accident? _____ !
  3. Your toilet is broken. I'm not sure I can fix it, but I'll _____ .
  4. Installing this software is tricky, so be sure to follow the directions _____ .
  5. I barely have time to read a magazine article, _____ an entire book!
  6. When it comes to making movies that kids love, Disney _____ .
  7. If you don't have your receipt, we can't give you your money back but we can _____ .
  8. I just bought a used car. I hope it _____ .
  9. If you'd like to return those pants and get these pants instead, it would be an _____ .
  10. If you have trouble setting up your new computer, _____ call me.
Answer Key
Practice The Expressions
  1. steer clear of
  2. What a bummer
  3. take a crack at it
  4. to the letter
  5. let alone
  6. has the magic touch
  7. issue you a credit
  8. works out
  9. even exchange
  10. don't hesitate to
Answer Key
Language Lens: If Clauses to Talk About the Future

After the word "if," you usually use a present tense verb to talk about the future. The part of the sentence that contains the word "if' is the dependent clause and the other part of the sentence is the independent clause:

If you see something nice for Joan, please buy it.
If you see something nice for Joan (dependent clause)
please buy it (independent clause)

If the weather is nice tomorrow, let's play tennis. (NOT: If the weather will be nice tomorrow)
If you are ever in Boston, give me a call. (NOT: If you'll ever be in Boston)
If we have time tomorrow, we'll go to the Metropolitan Museum. (NOT: If we'll have time tomorrow)
If I win the lottery, I'm going to quit my job. (NOT: If l will win)

=> Use if + will (or the contraction 'll) for polite requests:
If you'll follow me, I'll show you to the restroom.
If you'll be seated, we'll start the program.
If you'll turn off your cell phones, the performance can begin.

=> Use if + will (or 'II) to emphasize that you'll do something IF it will achieve a certain goal:
If it'll make you happy, I'll organize the party.
If it will make Chloe stop crying, I will give her a piece of candy.

=> Use if + will (or 'II) for indirect statements. Indirect statements start with clauses like "I don't know if'' and "I'm not sure if":
I don't know if I'll be there.
I'm not sure if I'll go tomorrow.
Do you know if he'll be at the party?
Who knows if I'll get an interview.

Quick Quiz

Fill in the blanks with the correct form:

  1. If _____ in Chicago, I suggest you visit the Sears Tower.
    • a) you 're ever
    • b) you 'll ever be
  2. If Patrick _____ to Cornell, he'll definitely get accepted.
    • a) applies
    • b) will apply
  3. I don't know if my friend Marie _____ to the wedding.
    • a) comes
    • b) will come
  4. If the groundhog _____ his shadow next month, there will be six more weeks of winter.
    • a) sees
    • b) will see
  5. If _____ you happy, I'll get you that new video game for Christmas.
    • a) it makes
    • b) it'll make
  6. If _____ tomorrow, we'll have to postpone the picnic.
    • a) it will be raining
    • b) it's raining
  7. If _____ your cell phones, the concert can begin.
    • a) you'll tum off
    • b) you tum off
  8. If Joe _____ next Tuesday, who will show him around the city?
    • a) will come
    • b) comes
  9. I'm not sure if I _____ in the office tomorrow.
    • a) am
    • b) will be
  10. If _____ raining later, let's go play golf.
    • a) it's not
    • b) it will not be
Answer Key
  1. a
  2. a
  3. b
  4. a
  5. b
  6. b
  7. a
  8. b
  9. b
  10. a
Answer Key
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