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Big crowds return gifts, scout sales

December 27, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

Big crowds return gifts, scout sales



Stephanie Harding requested Christmas gift certificates from stores at Prime Outlets at Hagerstown so she could get more bang for her gift-givers' bucks at after-holiday sales.

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Another Hagerstown resident, waiting in a long line at Old Navy in the Valley Mall on Tuesday to return one of four fleece sweatshirts that he unwrapped on Christmas Day, said he wished he'd asked for gift certificates.

Stores across the Tri-State area were busy Tuesday with people scooping up after-Christmas bargains and returning unwanted or ill-fitting gifts.

Some of those returning items asked not to be identified at all or to be quoted by their first names only.

In Pennsylvania, Chambersburg Mall opened an hour early Tuesday to accommodate after-Christmas shoppers who were hunting for sale signs and reduced prices.

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Jen Martin, 20, rested on a bench outside Value City in the Chambersburg Mall while her family finished making some purchases. The Martins came from Waynesboro, Pa., and started shopping around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

By noon, Martin said, "We've already gotten a lot of good bargains.

"It doesn't seem that crowded - until you get near a register," she said.

Jan Wertman, 48, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she was at Martinsburg Mall Tuesday, "Looking to get bargains."

"I was just returning books," said Mary Ellen Thornton of Inwood, who said she "got a couple that were the same." She said she also bought a couple of blouses that were on sale.

"I saw a shirt on sale and I bought it," said Pat Linaburg, 47, of Martinsburg. "It was $18 and I got it for $9.99."

She also exchanged a pair of shoes that were too small.

"I took a watch back to have a couple of links removed," said her daughter, Sarah Linaburg, 19, of Bunker Hill, W.Va. "I'm still waiting."

Melody Matter of Hagerstown said she arrived at Prime Outlets at 10 a.m. to shop for sales. She toted a bagful of holiday cards, ornaments and wrapping paper that she bought for 50 percent off, she said.

Clear Spring resident Shirley Mills also came out to Prime Outlets to buy discounted gifts for next Christmas and to replenish her supply of holiday cards and wrapping paper.

"I always come the day after Christmas to look for bargains and shop for next year," Mills said.

Rick and Cindy, who live near Downsville, made their after-Christmas trek to Britches Factory Store at Prime Outlets to return a pair of too-long pants. The ill-fitting trousers were among about four gifts the couple said they planned to return Tuesday.

Justin H. of Smithsburg said the "Spam" T-shirt that he returned to the We're Entertainment outlet store "just wasn't my style." He decided instead on a Red Hot Chili Peppers compact disc.

Brad Wright, 17, said he hit Chambersburg Mall Tuesday morning intending to buy sweaters and khakis. Wright, of Inwood, W.Va., said he had more or less accomplished his goal by about noon.

"I do this every year, trying to get bargains after Christmas," he said.

Brenda Orner of Chambersburg munched on pretzels with her husband, Paul, and mother, Helen Stahl, as they wrapped up their regular post-Christmas shopping trip.

"We just wanted to check on the sales and we bought a few Christmas things," Orner said. Despite heading out Tuesday morning, they still weren't early enough, she said.

"Things were pretty well picked over."

At Waldenbooks in the Valley Mall, a woman from Halfway prepared to return a cookbook, a Christmas gift from her husband.

"I think it was a hint," she said, laughing.

She traded in the cookbook for a romance novel.

Debra, a Hagerstown mother who was full of good Christmas intentions, waited in line at Babbage's Software in Valley Mall to return a Nintendo 64 Game Shark she had bought her son.

"It was on his list, but he couldn't get it to work," Debra said. "Then he didn't want it. I'm going to try to get him something that he does want."

Employees at Old Navy in Valley Mall set up a table to process returns, and customers waited in lines that stretched from the front cash registers to the middle of the store.

Lisa Hepfer of Chambersburg stood outside the crowded Old Navy store with two large satchels of new clothes.

"We're shopping, not returning, so the line seemed to move really quick for us," Hepfer said.

Eric Schnebly of Hagerstown was at the Valley Mall to bargain shop, but said he wasn't happy with the crowds.

"This is worse than before Christmas," he said.

The packed quarters didn't bother Debbie Green of Smithsburg, who said she was finding great day-after deals. At the Geppedo doll kiosk, Green paid half price for a doll similar to the one her husband bought at full price prior to the holidays, she said.

Paul Gordon of Martinsburg, W.Va., relaxed on a bench while he wife sought bargains.

"I did all my shopping before Christmas," he said. "This is her day. I could be here for awhile."

Mary Jorgensen of Middletown, Md., expected to spend a few hours Tuesday afternoon perusing the stores at the Centre at Hagerstown.

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