Sandusky shoppers flood stores with Christmas returns, exchanges

SANDUSKY Too big, too small, or just the wrong color -- it's inevitable that some holiday gifts will
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010



Too big, too small, or just the wrong color -- it's inevitable that some holiday gifts will head to the return counter this weekend.

For Peggy Rutherford, it was a brown corduroy jacket she purchased at Kohl's for her husband.

The Fremont resident said she was shocked by how many shoppers packed into the parking lots along Milan Road on Friday.

But exchanging the jacket the day after Christmas wasnecessary, she said.

"We're having a big holiday party at my mother's," she said.

Kohl's manager Brian Perdue said although the store was crowded Friday, the number of returned items has decreased from last year. He said the majority of customers at the store were there to make new purchases.

According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, 35 percent of shoppers said they returned at least one item after Christmas in 2007.

"It seemed this year, people didn't pick up just anything," Perdue said. "They knew what they were coming here for."

He said shoppers' more conscientious approach to buying this year may have prevented long lines at the return counter.

Kohl's returns supervisor Michael Wambold said many shoppers also made returns before the holiday this year as they kept tabs on their budgets.

"People actually made a lot of returns the week before Christmas," he said. "They say, 'OK, too much money went out. I need to return this stuff.'"

The majority of the returns were clothing.

Char McCormick, Sandusky, joined the return counter line with a Strawberry Shortcake gift bag filled with clothes that were the wrong sizes.

She said she was glad to find the return line was short -- especially with the mess of traffic outside the store.

"It hasn't been that bad," she said.

Best Buy store manager Mike O'Neill said the store was also tallying more new sales than returns this year.

O'Neill said the short return counter line in the packed electronics store was a good sign to him.

"We want our customers to get what they need when they come here," he said as customers exchanged headphones, video games and electronics accessories at the return counter.

Bellevue resident Angie Nida waited in line to exchange two Nintendo Wii games her teen daughters got from an uncle. The girls had unwrapped "Facebreaker" and a "Wario" game, but they wanted two "Mario" games.

Nida was also surprised at the number of shoppers out after the holiday.

"Did you see the mall?" she asked.