Shoppers return for post-Christmas sales and exchanges
PEORIA, Dec 27, 2012 (Journal Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Filled with Christmas joy and flush with gift cards, items to be returned and misfit toys to be exchanged, shoppers flooded Peoria retail stores Wednesday to pounce on post-Christmas sales.
Unlike Black Friday, the atmosphere at most of these retail outlets was relaxed. The most hectic site for shoppers might have been the Christmas section at Target, where prices on wrapping paper, house lights and ornaments were slashed in half.
Elmwood native Tom Evans, 66, ventured into the section to stock up for next Christmas and found himself in a logjam of shopping cart traffic between aisles.
"We got in there and we didn't think we'd get out," Evans said while walking alongside his wife after finally navigating an escape route.
Down the street, Best Buy geared up for one of its "ten busiest shopping days of the year," according to Mykel Sinnott, Multi-Channel sales manager. Sinnott arrived at the store at 3 a.m. to begin preparations for the day even though the store didn't open until 8 a.m. With major products like iPads and laptops already purchased as Christmas presents, Sinnott said the day after Christmas becomes a "batteries not included" day where complementary items like tablet covers, screens and cases are bought.
"It's a smaller day than Black Friday," Sinnott said. "We still have televisions on sale, though, and tablets are always popular."
One tablet in particular -- the iPad mini -- rarely stays on the shelf long. Best Buy received a new shipment of 25 iPad minis about noon, and six of them already had been sold by 2 p.m., with none of them expected to be in stock by closing time.
Maintaining an orderly return and exchange line was among the annual preparations Sinnott had to plan for the post-Christmas shopping spree. Sinnott appropriates six registers for exchanges and returns, including even some Geek Squad registers, and staffs those registers with experienced workers.
"The steadiness and experience of those workers helps for not struggling with returns," Sinnott said.
Tom Cody, 60, stood in the return line at Best Buy to exchange a video game that was bought for the wrong video game system. He described the line as "fairly light" and even left it briefly to pick up a thermostat in another section of the store without fear of losing his spot.
Once Evans left the Christmas section scrum at Target, he complimented Kohl's for its return policy that he encountered earlier Wednesday.
"We had a good experience there," Evans said. "Sometimes those return lines aren't fun, but Kohl's wasn't bad."
Thomas Bruch can be reached at 686-3188 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasBruch.
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