A handful of former Nordstrom employees are suing the department store for allegedly stealing their commission. The plaintiffs are upset that Nordstrom deducted commissions on returned items from their paychecks. I worked at Nordstrom in California - where the lawsuit is taking place - the summer after my freshman year of college. Yesterday, I got a letter in the mail asking me to sign on to the suit. When you work in commission-based retail, you make money when you sell product and lose it when it gets returned. So if I sell you a $1200 Herve dress, but you bring it back next week, I make nothing, which is totally fair.
The rub is that Nordstrom has an extremely lenient return policy. Basically, they take anything back. This means that if you buy that Herve dress and I get my commission in May and then you wear it to every single party of the summer and return it come September with holes and stains and whatever, Nordstrom takes it back no questions asked. And the money then comes out of my paycheck five months after I sold it to you - which sucks, but isn't surprising if you've sat through the customer service training videos you're required to watch before working there. Just a little something to keep in mind next time you're itching to return something you've already worn.