Quad-City shoppers returned to the malls, big box stores and local shops Wednesday in search of bargains and the gifts they did not get under the Christmas tree.
“We’ll see a lot of returns and gift card redemptions today,” said Jamey Fah, assistant manager of the Davenport Best Buy. “We opened at 8, and right away, we had customers in who wanted to get things taken care of.”
He said the day after Christmas is usually “a fun atmosphere because people get to come in and buy what they want. They’re using their gift cards, so it’s like free money, and they’re happy.”
Among those shoppers were Christopher and Sarah Boyum, who were looking around as their 2-year-old son Auryn sat behind the wheel of the car-like shopping cart.
“We had the blue (cart), but he jumped out, and the yellow one was the one,” Christopher Boyum said.
He added that his job for the day was chauffeur.
“Still more shopping, there’s always more shopping,” he said.
Long known as the day for returns, Fah said “gift cards have changed those dynamics. When I started here 13 years ago, we’d have lines and lines of people waiting to take back their gifts. Now we’ve moved those customers to buying gift cards,” he said, adding that the store still overstaffs its customer service counter.
Nick Campbell, assistant manager at Menards, Davenport, said his staff was seeing a similar situation with gift card shoppers outnumbering those with returns.
“The traffic has been brisk, busier than it would be on a Wednesday,” he said.
But he thought a mid-week holiday might have kept the day-after crowds down.
Still, plenty of shoppers were out picking up the after-holiday bargains.
“We’re out re-stocking our supplies with Christmas wrapping paper, decorations and lights,” said Gina Whitehead of Davenport, who as of late morning had been to several retailers with her sister, Angie Wakeland.
“We didn’t get up at 5, we overslept and got up at 7:30,” said Wakeland, who was home for the holiday from Dakota Dunes, S.D. She convinced her sister, who worked at Menards before enrolling at Iowa State University, that the dancing Menards teddy bear that plays the store’s jingle was a “must-have.”
“We were surprised there weren’t a lot of crowds where we’ve been,” she said. “We wondered, ‘Where are all the crazy people?’”
Betty Harmon of Davenport was among the early morning shoppers, beginning her day at Walgreens to pick up bargain Christmas decorations. But at Menards, she was still worried about cleaning up after last week’s storm.
With a brand new shovel that also chops ice, she and her grandson Justus, 12, were headed home to use it.
Bob Burchett of Davenport also was glad not to find crowds like on Black Friday.
“Apparently, they’re not buying hardware,” he said, as he looked over a small display of Wilson golf clubs at Menards.
Kathy Jurgens, the senior property manager for NorthPark and SouthPark malls, said by early afternoon the two properties were reporting heavy streams of shoppers.
Moline’s SouthPark, she said, “was very busy. It has had heavier traffic than Christmas Eve. The food court is packed, and people are definitely buying — they’re carrying two and three bags. Hopefully, they’re all out spending their Christmas cash and gift cards.”
Ty Fansler, the general manager of Books-A-Million, or BAM!, anticipated bigger crowds as the day went on.
“We’ve been busy, but we haven’t had people breaking down the doors yet,” he said.
Among the shoppers at the Davenport bookstore was Cathie Adkins of Clinton, who was making a morning of shopping with her husband, Gary, and daughter Kimberly.
“I had to get my calendar, but I have to wait until its 50 percent (off),” the high school English teacher said.
With just a couple stops on their list, she added, “We were pretty content with what we got for Christmas.”
Kimberly Adkins, however, had a pair of boots on her mind to go with her new winter coat she got for Christmas.
“I have a pair picked out at Von Maur shoe room,” she said. “I hope they’re still there.”
At Best Buy, 11-year-old Samantha Zeimet also was looking to add to a gift she received.
“I got an iPod, and now I need a case and a charger,” she said.
Her mom, Lisa Zeimet of DeWitt, said she also had plans to “pick up the usual wrapping paper and gift tags while we’re here.”
At NorthPark’s J.C. Penney, store manager Scott Klingbiel said the day began quiet, but as of 10 a.m., business was brisk.
“I think a lot of people had to go back to work,” he said, adding that given how the holiday fell in the week, “I think we aren’t going to see a lot of the long lines until Saturday.”
Klingbiel said most the shoppers were families, especially those with high school or college-age students off on break.