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Holiday Burnout? Short Lines to Return Gifts, Shop for Sales Monday

Customers face minimal hassle while trading in unwanted presents and taking advantage of post-Christmas sales.

If the return lines on Monday were an indication of holiday bliss, then Santa Claus did a remarkable job of gift giving this Christmas season.

While the day after Christmas is typically a notoriously busy shopping day, second only to Black Friday, area businesses saw steady but not outrageous lines throughout the morning hours. Perhaps due to gift cards, earlier discounts promotion dates and online shopping, early-morning customers benefited from the reduced volume of patrons out on a sun-splashed morning.

“I noticed the same thing,” resident Jane Kunka said while shopping for some seasonal items at . “I won’t go out the day after Thanksgiving but I do go out the day after Christmas. This is the calmest it’s ever been. I didn’t get out to stores super early this morning but compared to previous days, this is empty.

“I think people are happy with 50 percent off. I don’t know if they’ll go through the trouble of waiting for 75 percent off.”

One of the shoppers to prosper from the short wait times was Linn Stewart, of Wheaton, who drove with her two children to the Plainfield Target to return some unneeded presents.

“I didn’t need the items so I figured I would return them today,” Stewart said. “I figured there would be lines if I came at 7 a.m. because of the after-Christmas sales. However, I was a little surprised that it wasn’t really crowded.”

Despite the lull throughout the area, businesses braced for the rush of late-arriving consumers.

“I think we do anticipate a lot of returns right after Christmas,” Target Executive Team Leader Erin Green said.

“However, there haven’t been a lot of lines. I know a lot of times business picks back up after all the holidays are over. I really don’t know the reason why (it’s quiet) but I’m happy about it. If people need to do returns, we’re set up to handle it, but it hasn’t been like that so far.”

Even at , where the post-holiday wait can stretch more than 30 minutes, patrons joyfully took advantage of the easy shopping experience.

“I expected to be standing in line for hours,” Plainfield resident Susan Beckman said after returning a broken toy in less than five minutes. “I normally wait three or four days (to go out) so I was expecting it to be a little worse.”

That said, there are still some die-hard shoppers who, rain, ice or shine, make it an annual ritual to take advantage of those deeply discounted holiday decorations, including wrapping paper, lights, Christmas trees, ornaments and cards.

“It’s just tradition,” Linda Robinson, of Joliet, said at Walmart. “I come out for stuff for next year, including table clothes and napkins, because you get them for half price. It seems like today there are less people, but maybe they haven’t woken up yet. This is just tradition for me, no matter what the weather is like.”

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