Q: Dear Rabbi Simon,
I attended a charity dinner recently and each guest was given a good quality beauty product to take home with them as a gift. What I received was not particularly to my liking or something that I would use. I was wondering if therefore, I would be able to return it to the shop to exchange it for something else? I wasn't sure if there were any implications with this, as it was from a charity event-as it may have been donated and not actually bought? Or does the fact that it was given to me render it now mine to do with as I please? I was thinking there wouldn't be a problem if the shop could re-sell the item?
I look forward to your response.
A: Dear Miriam,
Thank you for your question.
I do not see a problem with your seeking to return the "party favour" to the shop which provided it (or a shop which happens to stock it), in exchange for an item more to your liking. In my opinion you do not need to say explicitly that you received it as a gift when participating at a charity event, however you may not actively mislead the shopkeeper or employee into believing that you (or someone else) actually purchased it from them, for example. Subject to English law and store policy, it is up to them to exchange the item/merchandise if they so choose. You are doing nothing wrong by simply asking them to do so.
rabbi rashi simon