Shoppers Return

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The post-holiday shopping surge begins again, just like it did after Thanksgiving, though retailers say consumers don’t spend as much after Christmas like they used to.

Stores like Dick's Sporting Goods, JC Penney, Old Navy, Sears and Target opened at 7 a.m. Thursday, but the rush is driven by different priorities.

The general manager at Bass Pro Shops in Council Bluffs says they used to find a line out the door of customers eager to make returns, but now it's less about bringing items back and more about redeeming gift cards.

“We still make sure we have an adequate staff here, probably schedule one or two extra people that wouldn't normally be here just in case we get that big line ‘cause you still have the typical, traditional shopper, but as a whole, no, it's kind of business as usual you might say,” says Duane Ebach.

If you are making returns or exchanges, your best bet is to have a receipt. Also, any time of year when buying gifts, get in the habit of getting gift receipts. Another idea for easier returns is to bring the original packaging or tags for clothing, anything that has the UPC on it.

If not returning there’s always re-gifting. A number of psychological studies found the original gift giver is less offended than we might suspect when we give their gift away. Many are happy to find out their gift is going to someone who will appreciate it. But not everything is re-giftable. Handmade, one of a kind items, monogrammed gifts, anything with special meaning.

The best re-gifts include wine, inexpensive jewelry and unopened household items. Successful re-gifting requires fresh wrapping. Even those prepackaged gift sets are sometimes better off re-wrapped to make the present look fresh and put together.

If you awoke Christmas morning to new electronics you likely ripped inside the package and didn't have much interest in the box, but this is exactly what would-be robbers want to find. Operation Break It Down is an effort to keep those boxes, which are basically an advertisement for expensive items, out of the trash and away from curbs.

Neighborhood advocates call it quality community policing from OPD. “We wanna keep you safe, we wanna keep your family and your property safe, so if we work together, utilize these drop-off sites that we have set up for you, it helps reduce crime,” says Liz Moldenhauer with the Benson Neighborhood Association.

Omahans can take the cardboard boxes from their electronics products to The Christian Academy, 10233 Wiesman Drive (adjacent to the Northwest Omaha police precinct) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Only broken-down boxes will be accepted.

You may also take your cardboard boxes to the following sites that have been set up by Keep Omaha Beautiful:

-South 26th Avenue and Douglas Street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
-The parking lot at 75th and Corby Streets from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
-River City Recycling, (6404 South 60th St.) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. This site accepts recyclables free and is a dump location for bulky items (there is a fee for all materials except recyclables).
-Firstar Fiber (10330 I Street) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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