Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Claude Allen, refund fraud, and a friend of mine

The most trashtastic news of the day didn't involve TomKat or Paris & Nicole, but Claude Allen, one of the lesser-knowns in President Bush's collection of uber-conservative black advisors. Allen, an evangelical zealot domestic policy advisor and nominee to the 4th Circuit, was previously best known as the Jesse Helms aide who got into a wee spot of trouble for saying Helms' 1984 Senate opponent was vulnerable because of his links "to the queers."

It seems that in the midst of his busy schedule of sitting next to Laura at the State of the Union, having his wife home-school their children, and promoting abstinence education as the best way to deal with AIDS, Allen managed to fit in a regime of stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise from Target via "refund fraud." If that isn't fabulous enough for you, there is an evil twin angle.

Now, if you're like me, reading the phrase "refund fraud" might have made you feel a bit panicked, perhaps even enough to distract you from the awesome evil twin possibilities. I mean, panicked on behalf of a friend. Like, maybe you have this friend who, for instance, maybe once returned a comforter that she'd used for 88 days on the 89th day when there was a 90-day return policy, or maybe once returned a pair of jeans to J. Crew under their old "return anything at any time for any reason" policy, which, why did they ever get rid of that?, after she fell down and tore a hole in the knee and then returned the new pair because they seemed too baggy after her Brazilian friend convinced me that my pants should be tighter. Her, I mean her pants could be tighter. Hypothetically, would that make your friend some kind of criminal?

Allow me to ease your mind: I have read all about Claude Allen, and sir, you are no Claude Allen. It seems that Allen-esque "refund fraud" is less conscientious receipt-saver, more Winona Ryder. It worked like this: he'd buy a stereo or something, bring it out to his car, bring the receipt back into the store, get another stereo from the shelves, and then return it with the receipt. He did this lots of times, netting maybe $5,000. Including once with a pair of shades that cost $15 each.

So carry on with your return-happy ways, dear readers! I hear will let you send back shoes for a year after purchase and will pay for your return shipping. You can thank me with your comments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I met Claude Allen once, when he still worked for HHS. He seemed very smooth, polite, and bored to be where he was (in the middle of Iowa doing a dog-and-pony visit to a community action agency).

Still, one wonders (assuming he's guilty as charged, and who in this administration is not?) what would motivate such behavior.