Not to jump in here and ruffle any feathers but, for the most part, some of us have created this crap and it probably will continue. Best Buy, Wal-Mart, even Costco are tightening up on people using them as "trial before you buy" locations. There are many posts that I have read on here about people buying items at one of the big box stores just to see if they like it and then returning it just to move to the next one (if they don't like it) or to buy it online cheaper (if they do). The retailers are retaliating by putting policies in place that are rough on all of us. Basically it is one bad apple spoiling the whole bunch.
I agree the OP got a raw deal and this was a case of a store ignoring their own policy- he had a real issue and they messed it up. That is not at doubt. But the whole "concept" of returns at the store is getting screwed with BIG TIME. Ever notice that most products now have a flyer in them that say "If you have a problem with this product- do not return it to the store"? We are well on our way to having to deal with the manufacturer and not the store. And, if it comes on electronics, we likely have some of our fellow A/V hobbyists to partially blame.