Mom says she was humiliated at Babies ‘R’ Us return counter after miscarriage

CONNECTICUT -- A woman who suffered a miscarriage was forced to reopen those traumatic wounds all over again, at a Babies "R" Us store in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Jessica Huchko, of Watertown, Connecticut said she and her husband were excited to welcome a baby boy into their family of three girls, according to WFSB-TV.

She went to Babies "R" Us to prepare for the special addition.

"We pretty much had everything, but with car seats and strollers, you have to update them every five years," Huchko said.

Then a miscarriage happened. The entire family was devastated — to the point where they couldn't bear to look at some of the reminders of what should have been.

"Every time I would see them, I would either get mad or upset. I needed them out of the house," Huchko said.

She went to return items that kept bringing those bad memories back, and she said she left the Babies "R" Us in tears.

She said both items were still in the box, untouched, but she didn't have a receipt.

"Why would I save them? I just threw it out," Huchko said.

She did have the debit card she used as well as her store loyalty card.

"I guess I didn't give her a good enough answer, so she asked, 'why are you returning this?' And it triggered something inside of me. A tear just rolled down my face and I had to just say, 'my son passed away and I can't use them,'" Huchko said.

A manager got involved and the humiliation grew. The items couldn't be found in the system.

When the manager got involved, Huchko had to explain what happened.

The manager was able to track down the car seat, but Huchko said she was only able to get about half the price back.

The double stroller wasn't turning up in the system, leading the manager to allegedly offer pennies for her $179 purchase.

"She turned around and said, 'it's coming up as two cents.' I said, 'so you're offering me two cents for a double stroller?'" Huchko said. "It was worse than a slap in the face. Now, I have to try and control myself while there's a huge line forming behind me."

With no resolution, she reached out to WFSB-TV and to Babies "R" Us, and on Monday, August 29th, she said the manager at the Waterbury store vowed to make things right.

"He offered to give me the remainder balance of what I was owed," Huchko said.

Babies "R" Us officials said they reached out to Huchko and were working to issue a refund.

"We are deeply sorry for her experience in our store, and more importantly for her loss. The store leadership has provided coaching to the team members to help ensure similar situations are handled with more care in the future," Babies "R" Us said in a statement Monday.

While Huchko may never get over the pain of losing a child, she is looking to change policy, putting a more tender touch to the family retailer.

"Someone in my place, returning a product because of a loss of a child. There is no policy, no employee training," Huchko said.


  • ***

    As someone who worked in retail for 9 years, I know they only asked why they were returned because they generally have to mark in or write in why they were returned. They can’t put broken items back on the shelf. So chances are the woman only asked because she had to, not to intentionally upset the woman so, they need to leave that cashier alone.

    Though, management should have handled the situation better and with maybe a little more empathy. I know there are “guidelines & Rules”for returns. Management after knowing the situation, could have responded saying something like “Ma’am, I understand you’re upset and experiencing a devastating situation. As of right now, I can only go by the system, but if you would like you may hold onto the items and I will reach out to corporate to see if there is anything they could do you help service you during your difficult time.” I know they did not know the story behind the woman’s return at first, and it sucks that in retail the bad apple shoppers ruined it for other consumers. Store employees are not mind-readers. Granted, this woman did tell her story, was crying, and visibly upset. However, there is a reason you’re in customer service. To provide exceptional customer service… At least word made it to corporate.

  • Nancie Griffiths

    This also happened to my son and daughter in law when they suffered a traumatic loss, losing their baby girl at 36 weeks as a stillborn. My daughter in law’s sister tried to close down the baby gift registry and they would not let her forcing my son to go into the store to close it down again reliving their nightmare. For a store so geared for babies, they are a disgrace. None of us have every purchased there again. Thankful to have a Buy Buy Baby store in our area.

  • magicmikexxsm

    Hum where do I start…..First off lady the sales asso. has to ask you why you are returning the item.,yes once they found out the reason, they could have handled your case better. because of your stupidity by tossing the sales receipt into the trash I’m sure those items can be bought at other stores, and most stores have that policy no receipt no money back or store credit.
    I have been working in retail sales for 35 years, now, and basically you people suck….you make mistakes and expect the company should eat the products you mistakenly ordered….

  • LT

    So, the customer service workers couldn’t give this woman the CORPERATE phone number to call beings she had used a rewards card and debit card that she had brought with her. All they had to do was look up her card numbers, look at the transaction for those numbers and they can get the item numbers with prices from that. All cc/debit card transactions must be kept on file for a minimum of 1-5 yrs. Each store is different. I worked management in retail for the past 12 yrs. I don’t see humiliation here. However, I do see a lack of management skills. It’s supervisors job and assistant managers and managers job to make managerial decisions while the employees aka associates do their best to make each and every customer happy and meet their needs. Yes policies are in place, as I said it’s up to those who are in management positions to make daily managerial decisions.

  • sorry for loss but this story is for attn

    It looks like someone is trying to start a suit over emotional damage. All stores are required to ask questions, if you do not have the receipt how are they supposed to return it if they cannot find it in the system? Maybe the husband should have just gone to return it if it was too painful to be asked those questions which would normally be asked. Many many go through miscarriages including myself, it is sad but no need to compose a news story out of it.

  • Been there

    Aw, somebody wants attention.

    Suck it up, honey. I had three miscarriages before I finally had my first child and two more before delivering my next two. Life goes on. You’re acting like an attention wh– Well, let’s just say it rhymes with “more.”

  • Marie Stoves

    Unfortunately, there are many dishonest people out there. That is why stores have return policies. Lesson 1 here, KEEP THE RECEIPT! Especially for large ticket items. Often, in small print, you will need it if you gave a Warentee issue.
    Lesson 2, while I can understand her grief at losing a child, she cannot expect special treatment from the store. No receipt means store credit and only if it is an item they sell.
    Lesson 3, stores usually have a time limit for returns. If you are beyond that try ebay or Craigs list.
    I don’t see humiliation here. I do see a person in grief who maybe feels a tad entitled to special treatment?

  • Missie

    I am sorry for her loss but there are store policies here . First if you do not have a receipt then you get in store credit . then how long was it since she had bought it as there is usually a 30 day return , Then they always ask Why are you returning this item that will need an answer . Also why would you get rid of the receipt until the car seat was put together and into the car to make sure everything was ok . If item was not in the computer it could mean that the item was not purchased there and maybe she got it for a shower gift but could return it there . You got to think of all of this as it is the way of the world today and not all people are honest . I think the cashier and manager was in the right on this one.

    • Taco Salad

      If she had, what right do you have to make her acknowledge it here? Why would you want to bring up that pain if you understand it so well?
      She didn’t question the mother’s grief.

    • WAKE UP

      When asked why she was returning it she could have simply said I no longer have a need for it. Not, MY BABY DIED YOU HEARTLESS FOOL.
      They NEED to know if it is damaged (manufacturer problem), missing pieces (manufacture problem), it fell apart during use (recall issue), didn’t like the color, didn’t want it/ changed mind. So if it was a manufacture issue they know whether to have you use the warranty, or to damage it out send it back/throw it away, resell it full price or half price it.
      Instead, a simple question that everyone returning anything gets asked, turns into an big ordeal.

  • laura

    it’s standard procedure for any store to ask why an item is being returned so i am not so sure where the humiliation comes in. also if it’s a discontinued item it’s usually purged from the system so no surprise on them having an issue finding the price. not seeing the humiliation here.

    • WAKE UP

      “…wasn’t turning up in the system” So now the staff are being coached for something that corporate did. The employee didn’t come up with ‘you get back two cents to return it’, the computer did! That pisses me off so much that they make the policies, then turn around and change it case by case, making the employees look like the bad guy. But god forbid the employee gave her $179 back (with no form of any receipt), they would be fired two minutes later.

    • Taco Salad

      The story also fails to mention how long she waited before returning the items.
      It does say they brought up feelings of grief and she FINALLY got around to returning. Well car seats have expiration dates. Was it a year after purchase?
      I think she’s looking for a way around a sound store policy and, sadly, is using her deceased child to do it.

    • Been there

      The only humiliation I see here is that one of her friends was so cheap that they bought a discontinued item at rock-bottom price so it effectively couldn’t be returned.

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