n. The practice of purchasing an item such as a piece of clothing or a device, using it briefly, and then returning it to the store for a refund.
Other Forms
Many stores are also cracking down on the practice of borrowing merchandise, often called "wardrobing" or "closeting." You know, buying a party dress or computer game and then returning it after use.
—Dan Thang Dang, “Holiday shoppers need to check stores' policy on returns,” Baltimore Sun, December 19, 2006
A common problem for stores is consumers attempting to return merchandise that has been used but not defective. This practice, called "wardrobing," has affected more than half of companies during the past year and can include returns of everything from once-worn dresses to used laptop computers.
—Michele Chandler, “'Tis the season for return fraud,” San Jose Mercury News, October 31, 2006
2004 (earliest)
Retailers are trying to combat a problem called "wardrobing" — where customers purchase an item, usually apparel, use once and then return it. It's a problem at electronics stores at well. Customers buy a camcorder, for example use it for a week while on vacation, and then return it.
—Sarah Hale Meitner, “Strict return policies could make gift returns more difficult,” Orlando Sentinel, December 24, 2004
Employee wardrobing —Provide your staff the opportunity to buy new fashions at prices they can afford so they can dress the part when they are trying to convince their customers.
—Bill Brick, “Changing retail scene seen opening doors for men's specialty stores,” Daily News Record, February 06, 1987