I find this absolutely laughable. Do you really believe that? You're right they don't care. They don't care because if the packaging and product are in decent shape it just goes right back into the sale chain. I can't count how many times I have picked up a product on the shelf at many large retail chains that has clearly been opened and not properly repackaged or, in fact, has some of the original packaging missing. Or worse, has some of the parts missing. You are kidding yourself if you truly believe all returns get shipped back to the manufacturer.
You mention Helen Oster. She is in customer service for Adorama which is a much smaller retailer as compared to Best Buy and I believe is still family owned. That is a company that does things the right way and still believes in honest dealing and taking care of the people that spend money with them.
It doesn't surprise me a tiny little bit that the OP got a returned camera from Best Buy. That is one of the many reasons I haven't set foot in a Best Buy for probably 10 years.
Really? You can't count the times? That's why you won't patronize Best Buy? If everyone is doing this, then you have nowhere to shop. Now THAT sounds a bit far-fetched. You claim to have first hand knowledge of retailers routinely breaking the law. How many times have you contacted your state's Consumer Protection Division or Attorney General? This is so thin I can see through it from corn-country Indiana.
There are plenty of valid reasons to not shop at Best Buy. Incompetent, untrained, unskilled (wrt products) staff, not to mention the Geek Squad which is worse than worthless (no help AND you have to pay for it). The service department is total and complete joke. They hire real Geeks who can't tell a left-handed screwdriver from a board stretcher, then turn them loose on unwary customer's merchandise. BB has a huge reputation as a discount/warehouse/big-box giant with zero customer service ability. The ONLY reason I shop there is that I can take something back within 14 days for no reason at all.