Last night, as Leo’s bedtime approached and we wanted to give him a drink, we realized we were out of whole milk. Claire got in the car and drove to our usual variety store. Mission accomplished, I took the proferred carton and began to pour into Leo’s sippy cup. To my utter disgust, yellowish clear liquid came out, along with a few clumped curdles. Blech.

I now looked at the expiry date on the packaging: May 25th. Eesh. No big deal, Claire prepared to go back to the store with it. When she emptied the sour milk down the sink first, I asked about this.

“I’m not bringing an open cart of sour milk in my car,” she replied. “Besides, I was just there 10 minutes ago; she’ll remember me.”

So off she went. Another 10 minutes or so passed, and Claire came back again with the empty carton.

“She wouldn’t take it,” she said.

“What?” I replied, in disbelief.

“The clerk said she couldn’t return an open carton, and besides, she wasn’t the boss.”

So this morning, Claire went back for another attempt. This time the boss was there, but Claire’s luck was no better this time. The lady said she wouldn’t take the carton back because the dairy supplier wouldn’t give her a credit for an open one.

Obviously, Claire’s response to this had been that this was not our problem: it was the store’s responsibility to stock fresh inventory. We should be able to assume that we’re getting a drinkable product when we buy it off their shelf. The milk was over a week past its expiry date by the time Claire bought it. It wasn’t even on sale.

Plus, the fact that Claire had just bought it wasn’t even in question; she had gone back minutes after we had opened it. The store’s owner, as well as the staff, know Claire is a frequent customer, so it wasn’t like she was trying to scam them for a free carton of milk.

And yet, the store’s owner stood firm in her position and refused to take the carton of milk back.

I cannot even begin to believe the stupidity of that woman’s decision.

So freakin’ what if the dairy won’t give her credit!?

Do the right thing, take the hit on the wholesale value of one carton of milk and get on with doing business.

What makes this even more asinine is that her establishment is one of two almost identical convenience stores within 45 feet of each other. The fact that we’ve been going to this one loyally for the past couple of years has been pure luck of the draw. We sort of picked it and stuck with it. The staff is consistently friendly, and they tend to stock the things we need. If you add it all up, we’ve spent a fair bit of money there. Claire is there at least once every couple of days. It’s where we buy stuff in a pinch, and it’s where I sometimes stop for flowers for Claire on the way home. It’s been our store.

And now, because they won’t exchange a $3.75 carton of sour milk, we are going to start shopping at the other corner store instead. For all intents and purposes, it’s the same to us, but to the store’s owner, they’ve lost two loyal customers, and hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of potential revenue over the next several years.

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.