How to Lean In When The Sales Girl at H&M Won’t Let You Return Underwear

Some women don’t want to see other women succeed, and the cashier who won’t let your return this underwear at this H&M certainly conforms to that stereotype. Here’s how to lean in when the clerk is demonstrating Beverly Hills sales girl in Pretty Woman-level aggression and these underwear 100% do not fit you.



Don’t withdraw.

Many women feel the need to withdraw when faced with direct confrontation such as a stank twentysomething assistant manager who’s already had a decade-long career in retail. Don’t let her intimidate you just because she adheres closely to store policy. You are an accomplished woman who certainly didn’t hear the cashier state the return policy when you bought them, which is in itself a store policy. BOOM—you just leaned in!


Speak your truth.

You have a voice, and it deserves to be heard, especially when that voice is saying, “How can I possibly have worn this? The plastic lining is still on the crotch.” Lean in toward your consumer rights by speaking your words even if she insists it doesn’t matter if you haven’t worn them, it’s still against store policy.


Know that women aren’t programmed to accept compliments.

Throw Gwen a curveball by telling her that her blazer looks really cute, and ask if you can find it on one of the floor racks. Combat centuries of gender conditioning to bring her onboard as your ally instead of letting her view you as female competition even though this really is just a matter of store policy.



Find a female mentor.

Wasn’t Lauren able to return that weird one-piece swimsuit last summer? Text her really quick and see what she did that was so successful. Lauren definitely wore that Beyoncé-inspired monstrosity out in public, store policy be damned. You must form support systems for one another in order to get ahead.


Know that ‘having it all’ is a myth.

Maybe you settle for returning just the panties but keep the matching bra? You don’t need to return every item you purchased during your shopping spree. Focus on what’s important—the underwear you impulsively bought without reading the sizing and return policy carefully because at the time you thought you might have a date.


Stop crying.

H&M is no place for tears. You’re looking bad in front of the sales team, and this clerk already has the upper hand. Don’t give her more of your power by showing your weakness.


Stand your ground.

You shouldn’t have to leave just because she’s calling security and they’re escorting you out. You bought these boyshorts. You have a right to return them. It’s within 30 days, and the receipt that you still have says nothing, nothing about underwear or bathing suit bottom purchases. Stand your ground and ask for what you deserve.


Let’s start talking about it.

We need to open up a dialogue about what bullshit H&M’s draconian return policy is. What kind of male-owned inhuman corporate giant won’t let you return underwear or bathing suit bottoms regardless of if you’ve worn them or not? The more women who speak up, the more we can adopt change.


Sit at the table.

Okay, there’s no table here? Just sit on the floor. They’ll see you’re not afraid to take part in the discussion.


It doesn’t matter that the clerk says they can’t re-sell it. You shouldn’t be forced to be stuck with a pair of underwear you don’t want, even if they were only $7.99. Battling the inherent sexism of H&M’s corporate structure by believing in yourself, your value, and your ideas is the only way to liberate all women from keeping underwear they can’t wear.