If you have a gift to return, here are some tips that may help speed up the process:

  • Remember to bring the receipt, price tag or bar code with the item.  Without a receipt, the sale or current price will be refunded, which may be different from the price paid.
  • The busiest time to return something is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m..
  • Expect to wait 10 to 15 minutes at peak times.
  • Consider returning the item when it's less busy; like next week.

In the event you need to get in touch with customer service, avoid Mondays.  According to the Incoming Calls Management Institute, Monday is the worst time to get through to a call center.  Late night isn't much better, because of limited staffing.  The best times to call are mid-afternoons Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  That's when most people are too busy working to call.

Another option you might want to consider is to recycle the gift by giving it to someone else.  Over the years, re-gifting has gradually become socially acceptable during the holiday season.  According to a recent consumer spending survey, 79% say re-gifting is okay.  Women and people under the age of 30 tend to re-gift the most.

Finally, worse case scenario - you throw a white elephant party where friends bring holiday gifts they don't want.  You pile them on a table and let each guest pick out what he or she wants.