This exact same thing happened to me. I registered at target for my baby shower and when friends and family pulled my registry, there seemed to be too many unbought items, even the few days before the shower. As it turns out, the gift registry had never updated correctly so I received 2 monitors, 4 play gyms, 3 first aid kits, 2 Diaper Genies, 2 travel systems (more on that below), as well as many smaller duplicate items. I did receive some gift receipts, and about half of them had a description of the item purchased. The other half had only a bar code and several multi-digit codes on them.
I myself had purchased one of the travel systems due to my husband's fear that our baby would come early and we wouldn't have a car seat. I had checked the registry the day it was purchased, watched the cashier scan my registry to have the item removed when I purchased it, then received the same travel system a few weeks later at my shower. The purchaser said that the system had been purchased the day before and the registry showed that it hadn't been purchased while she was in the store. I had removed the system myself from the registry at the time of purchase, so I knew something was wrong. When we tried to return all of our duplicates, we were not-so-nicely informed that not only did we need receipts for everything we returned (even if it was on the registry) but that we should contact those people that did not give us gift receipts and ask them to mail me the receipt. I explained how the registry did not update and was rudely told that my friends and family must not have mentioned my registry (all 20 of them who purchased duplicate items) to which I replied that I myself had experienced the registry not updating as it should have, in return getting a "not our problem" response from Target.
The gift receipts were another issue in that the ones that had no description of the item the receipt was for were completely useless unless we wanted to stand at teh customer service desk and watch the employee scan the receipt then scan every item seperately until he'she found the item that corresponded with the receipt. Basically, the series of numbers and the barcode means nothing in the gift receipt, because they supposedly can't look up what the receipt is for. The manager told us that when my friends and family had purchased the items off of my registry, the had to SPECIFY whether or not they wanted the item name on the gift receipt. SERIOUSLY?!?!?! Who would know about THAT policy? Are their cashiers trained to ask people if they want the gift item to appear on the receipt? If not, then they should be.
When we made our returns and tried to argue the point of the items being on the registry, we were told that the return policy changed as of August 28, 2007 and unless we created our registry before then, they would not use the registry to return anything. My husband asked the manager if she could look up the date that our registry was created and when she replied that there was no way to look up that information, he sakd "Fine. Then we created our registry on August 27th." Needless to say, she was none to thrilled to be proven wrong and have her smartass attitude backfire on her.