The Christmas Tree I Bought TwiceI was walking through Wal-Mart shortly after Christmas a few years ago when I saw a 10-foot, pre-lit, artificial Christmas tree on clearance for half off. 

Since my wife and I had been spending close to $70 a year for a real tree, the $100 price tag for this tree was a steal. 

We brought the tree home and put the large, heavy box in the corner of the garage, where it sat until the following summer. While clearing out the garage, we came upon the tree. I mentioned to my wife that we never actually saw what the tree looked like assembled, nor did we know whether or not the lights worked. 

We decided to return the tree, and revisit the "artificial vs. real" debate closer to the holidays. We called the Wal-Mart where we purchased the tree and explained the situation. After some conversation, they agreed to take the tree back. 

Fast forward another six months to the following holiday season. I was walking through the same Wal-Mart again, and saw the tree again, this time fully assembled.

I called my wife. 

Me: "Honey, I think we made a mistake." 

Vonnie: "Why?" 

Me: "Remember that tree we bought on clearance, and we returned in June?" 

Vonnie: "Yeah." 

Me: "Well, I'm looking at it fully assembled, and it's perfect." 

So, I purchased it again.

This time at the full price of $200. I brought the tree home, put it together, and decorated it. The whole family agreed that it looked spectacular.

As Christmas approached, I noticed that the tree was discounted $50 off the full price. Bringing in my receipt, the store agreed to refund the difference. I felt a little better about our artificial Christmas tree adventure, but I still couldn't shake the fact that I had paid $50 more the second time I bought the tree. 

If only I had taken it out of the box immediately when we purchased the tree the first time to ensure it worked and that it was what we really wanted. Or even if we had done that in June before we decided to return it. 

Ultimately, it was still a great deal because this will be the 5th year we've used the tree, and we would have spent a lot more on real trees had we continued to go that route. 

But every Christmas season, when we assemble the tree I'll always think of it as the tree I bought twice. 

Have you ever regretted returning an item?

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Preparing for the Holidays, Time-Capsule Style

Travis Pizel CareOne Customer, My Journey Out of Debt BlogTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also follow along with Travis on his personal blog, Our Journey to Zero. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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