The best thing about the American retail industry is its lenient and convenient return policies. The luxury of being refunded for unused items months after acquiring them is the height of customer service and quite unprecedented. This is not common practice in Europe or Asia, where full refunds are few and far between and returning items is generally tricky. Certain retailers in Hong Kong and Singapore won’t even let you try on an item of clothing before you’ve purchased it, let alone return it later.

But the ease with which we can return items has its drawbacks. I have met people who get into a cycle of continually buying and returning items without keeping anything. They don’t wear their purchases because they might need to return them. And the option of making the return sparks doubt and buyer’s remorse. More often than not, the item goes back because there might be something slightly better. This is what I call “the return rut” and it’s a frustrating shopping strategy. More trips to the store and fewer successful purchases are the result.

Returning items because they don’t fit or match is perfectly acceptable, but constant returns because we can’t commit to our purchases is quite another thing. Are you in the return rut? How often do you return items? Do you frequently experience buyer’s remorse?