Those who dared to fight the frigid weather idly strolled through mall corridors, some taking advantage of their time off from work and school, hitting stores with returns, gift cards and eyes peeled for bargains.
Department stores such as JC Penney, Belk and Sears had holiday merchandise marked down to 40- and even 60-percent off.
“It’s usually a big shopping day. People think it’s a big return day, but it’s a big shopping day,” said Kris Cheek, store manager at JC Penney. “People are using up gift cards, and they’re looking for those bargains after Christmas.”
She said there weren’t as many people out shopping as usual, and Wednesday’s cold weather could have been a small factor. Still, people usually target the decorations and Christmas ornaments that are left on the shelves and racks.
It was a different story down at American Eagle Outfitters, where cashiers were having hard a time keeping up with the lines of customers waiting for their turns at the register.
“You can see the customers; it’s more than what I expected for today,” said Cindy Brooks, manager. “Usually we get more a few days before. Last year we got a good bit the day after. Everyone comes in using their gift cards, and we get a lot of returns.”
She said in the days before Christmas the store was busy, since winter wear was 40-percent off.
“Our sales a few days before Christmas were really good,” Brooks said. “We were slammed.”
Tracy Weaver took her teenage daughter Lauren shopping on Wednesday.
“We’ve already been to Calhoun,” Lauren said, adding that she was spending some of her Christmas money.
Tracy Weaver said she almost preferred to go shopping on the day after Christmas for several reasons.
“The sales are better than Black Friday sales,” Lauren said. “The mall is less crowded. We’re going to American Eagle, Victoria’s Secret, Hibbett’s (Sports) and Bath & Body Works.”
Christy Reed took her niece Chayse Colbert shopping, and as they were walking into Journey’s the aunt said it was a tradition to hit the mall the day after Santa came to town.
“It’s not very busy with people going back to work,” she said. “We’re spending some gift certificates she got. We’ve already been to Paula’s, everything’s 50 percent off there. We got twice as much stuff than on Christmas.”