May 22, 2018
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Day after Christmas means shopping for bargains

By Jessica Bloch, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The day after Christmas may be traditionally thought of as a day to return gifts, but several local stores were seeing just as many shoppers Saturday morning out to take advantage of deep discounts on Christmas-themed items and electronics.

In fact, at Target near the Bangor Mall, the line at the customer-service counter, where clerks were doing returns, was light, at times, compared to the line at the self-service photo center.

“A lot about today isn’t about the returns,” said Dave Scott, the Target store team leader. “A big thing today is the buying of clearance products. The majority of people who come in are here to see what they can get for deals. It’s a very busy day, and it rivals what we do in the days leading up to Christmas.”

The parking lots around the Bangor Mall area were crowded, but not full, and lines inside stores seemed to move quickly.

Richard Moreau of Veazie arrived at Best Buy Saturday morning for an exchange. He brought back a 32-inch Samsung LCD 360 television set — “It would not turn on,” Moreau said simply of the reason for the return – and exchanged it for an identical set.

Moreau purchased the television in the weeks before Christmas, but he decided to do the return Dec. 26 despite the possibility of long lines at the customer service counter.

Instead of lines, Moreau found the exchange process to be easy.

“I had errands to do today so I thought, let’s get it done,” he said. “They were extremely efficient. I wasn’t in line much more than two minutes. You can’t beat that.”

Scott Kigas, the product process manager for Best Buy, said the store was ready with extra return lines and clerks. So was Target.

“The return process, we’re ready for it, the systems are quick, and I think it goes very smooth,” Scott said. “It’s never been a concern for me, being overwhelmed.”

Both Kigas and Scott said there were customers waiting outside when their stores opened Saturday morning.

Most of the large mall-area stores were open by 9 a.m., while the downtown Grasshopper Shop opened at 11 a.m. Saturday to give employees a break, said co-owner Laurie Schweikert.

There had been a few returns by noon but no refunds, Schweikert said.

“It’s been pretty steady since we got here,” she said while arranging a table of discounted Christmas items. “We’ve had more sales and exchanges than returns.”

Scott and Schweikert said their respective stores were ahead of their sales goals this year, while Kigas said Best Buy saw sales comparable to last year.

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