Several things in this world annoy you to an extent but nothing compares to the amount of frustration you feel when a clothing store has an NO-RETURN policy! Ugh! Numerous brands here in Saudi Arabia have a strict policy of not having any items returned so if the dress doesn’t fit you or the color doesn’t suit you, you are bound to keep it in your closet forever and look at it every day with deep regret. Some brands do exist in this country which allows the return policy however that too within a three-day time only.[irp]
The reason why women mostly find this policy unreasonable is because firstly, women in Saudi cannot drive. So, dragging your husband back and forth to the shopping center for a return takes a lot of hard work as most husbands are never in favor of shopping. Getting yourself to the mall for a female in Saudi is nothing less than a challenging mission. If good luck is with you, you might have a driver who can easily take you to the mall again and again. So yes, even if a woman here DOES find a way of getting to the mall, she just has three days to do so which involve terrible traffic in between and pointless store timings. No one’s ever sure of store timings here as they usually shut down very often because of the prayer timings.
There is another major problem here which leads to the no-return policy being difficult. Shops for women here have no trial rooms at all. So basically, they can just select an item off the rack and blindly trust its size and color because trying it is simply not an option. Trial rooms are forbidden in Saudi because of reasons such as male salesmen with a filthy mind might take an advantage of it or a reason that women should never get unclothed when they are out of their home.
The solution to this is either to go home and try or to purchase the items, go to the mall’s restroom and try all the clothes there one by one. Trying in the restroom is just another hassle as not every woman has enough time to stay in the mall nor do they have such patient husbands who would wait for them to try several clothes in there. Waiting to try it at home is ALSO a major hassle as women have to schedule their entire day according to the store timings.[irp]
Raised in America since the start, I have always been used to the easy shopping way where I could try on clothes and take them home and if I changed my mind, I could easily return them since they have a long period available for exchange or return and I could also go there by my own car, causing no hassle to anyone else. Stores in Saudi just take advantage of women here by not letting them take part in the easy shopping, however, there is a new policy in the country that only women can sell lingerie now. So, you don’t have to worry about buying them from a salesman now. But they still need to work on this unfair policy for the ease of customers!