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The day after

Shoppers hit stores hunting for bargains and making returns

Shoppers hit stores hunting for bargains and making returns

December 27, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

If there's a strange pheromone in the green benches stationed outside Valley Mall shops that attracts men to test their planks, the signal was its strongest Monday, drawing mostly shopped-out husbands and boyfriends to wait it out as thousands rushed to swap and sell back Christmas presents.

Seasoned shopping observer Howard Montgomery looked peaceful despite the flurry that surrounded his chosen bench, which was parked between two busy kiosks, one of which was selling calendars at half price.

The Funkstown man considers himself a shopping-bag depository for his wife, Carol, he explained. Because he is a more focused shopper, Montgomery takes little time to shop, while his wife takes her time trying on clothes and shopping for deals. As she works her way through the stores, she "brings her presents here and deposits them."

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"Once I've found them or can't find what I'm looking for, I'll watch people," he said.

Guy Spitzer does his people watching standing up. After only about 30 minutes at the mall Monday, the 59-year-old man already was walking its corridors aimlessly, carrying a Styrofoam cup of coffee. Coffee, he said, is a shopping must.

His wife "had one thing to return and she figured she could get some after-Christmas specials," the Maugansville man said, and then waved his hand.

His wife had pointed to the entrance of a store and Spitzer acknowledged he knew where he could find her.

Spitzer said he likes shopping "to a point." He's never "tempted to buy," he said, but he usually ends up leaving with something.

At The Bon-Ton, the store his wife was entering, the line in the men's department stretched more than 20 people deep, while others lined up in other parts of the store, some juggling clothes and store bags to prepare for exchanges. Brightly colored signs jutted from racks, some boasting 40 percent and 50 percent off merchandise.

Just outside the store, Shamokin, Pa., resident Rick Boyer, 54, sat on a bench behind the abandoned Santa Claus visiting station. His son-in-law, Matt Yanick, 28, of Smithsburg, sat on another bench next to him.

"We both don't talk much," Boyer said with a laugh. The pair had only been at the mall for 15 minutes before staking their claim on the two prime spots as their wives went to hit the sales racks.

"They wanted to go to Bath & Body (Works)," Boyer said, followed with an I'd-never-go-there, "Yeah."

Yanick joked that Boyer would start looking at his watch soon.

Asked how long they would be at the mall Monday, Boyer said, "as short as possible," and laughed.

But not everyone was sitting down for the busy shopping day.

Flanked on either side by her daughters, Megan, 14, and Lindsey, 19, Peggy Clipp took advantage of sales at Hallmark and other stores, coming out with a nice bracelet, among other bargains, she said.

Brenda Nycum, 43, of Hagerstown, had the day off, so she decided to go to the mall and use her Old Navy gift card to buy some clothes, she said.

Wearing festive sweaters, LaDonna Johanson, 55, and her mother, Kathryn Nave, 73, walked briskly through the mall's open area.

Johanson, armed with a store coupon, was on a mission, she said. The Coconut Creek, Fla., woman was visiting her mom, a Fairplay resident, for the holidays and said she wanted to go to Hallmark and The Bon-Ton on Monday.

"I had to drag her out because she'd rather be home picking up" after Christmas, she said with a laugh. Nave said she has a lot more "Christmasing" to do. Her family won't stop celebrating until Jan. 8.

Friends Jessica Garnane, 15, of Waynesboro, Pa., and Stephanie Malee, 15, of Hagerstown, wore matching silver hoop earrings and white T-shirts for their shopping spree Monday.

If they had enough money, they'd like to get Timberland boots, they said - in unison.

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