Day-after dealing

Tammie Trotter of Clovis stands in line at Wal-Mart to return gifts Tuesday afternoon. Trotter said that the process to return items was quick. Merchants reported a busy day with returns and sales. (CNJ Staff Photo: Tony Bullocks)

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

A rapidly filling parking lot and moderately long lines awaited shoppers Tuesday morning at North Plains Mall.

With two sweaters in hand — a shocking pink cardigan (size small) and a pale blue crew neck (size medium) — Carole Peterson stood patiently in line at Dillard’s department store.

“I have to exchange this,” Peterson said, holding up the pink sweater, “because I really hate it.”

The 35-year-old Clovis resident said the garment was a gift from her husband of six years.

“He (husband) is just not good at picking out presents,” she said. “I keep telling him to buy me gift cards instead.”

Peterson was one of many returning or exchanging gifts on what is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year. But the Air Force wife said the crowd and lines didn’t bother her.

“I’m pretty patient because I return gifts every year,” she said, “and the stores always have great sales the day after Christmas.”

A steady stream of customers poured through the doors of the North Plains Mall, according to Junior Gonzales, manager of the Buckle, a clothing store in the mall.
“We (Buckle staff) have been crazy busy,” he said. However, Gonzales said only a handful of customers were exchanging gifts.

“We had several items marked down,” he said. “So, people were shopping for sale items.”

Rebecca Gutierrez, 20, said she came to North Plains Mall specifically for the sales. The Eastern New Mexico University student said the Christmas cash she received from family was burning a hole in her pocket.

“I just couldn’t wait to spend the money my parents sent,” she said. “I got here when the mall opened.”