Malls were crowded with folks getting something new or making exchanges
UNIVERSITY PARKWAY -- Christmas Day may have passed, but the shopping season has not.
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Some ventured out Saturday to return that one Christmas present they didn't really like, while others just needed to exchange it for the right size. Many just took advantage of the traditional day after Christmas sales where the things they wanted while they were busy shopping for others, were now deeply discounted. Some came armed with gift cards.
Regardless of their day-after-Christmas mission, people came out in droves on Saturday to The Mall at University Town Center.
Elizabeth and Kenzie Delaurier, 47 and 17, made a mother-daughter day out of it.
"The crowd is not as bad as I thought it would," the mother said.
She sat waiting for her daughter on a bench, taking a break for a quick bite of something to eat.
She was thankful she did not have to make any returns or exchanges. But she did have gift cards she received as Christmas gifts that she was putting to good use.
Her daughter was about the sales, she said.
They had started their day at the Ellenton Premium Outlet mall, and despite the crowds had scored some great deals.
Kenzie was happy with her purchase from the Kate Spade store.
Traffic between the two malls, was backed up, the mother added, but it kept moving.
Many people were making a family day out of it, with the day after Christmas coming on a Saturday. Shoppers didn't appear to be rushed and restaurants were bubbling with people.
Mya Offenbether, 20, was taking break during her shopping. She was impressed with the very tame crowds.
"It wasn't bad at all," she said.
As far as returns, she said she only had one small one.
Stores seemed well staffed and prepared for the day after Christmas rush.
At Michael Kors, store manager Erica Olsen, was all smiles as she too greeted and helped customers while helping to keep the store looking good.
"It's your typical day after Christmas, but a lot busier than a typical Saturday," Olsen said.
They store had been busy with returns or exchanges, in addition to those shopping the sales.
"We also do watch re-sizing," Olsen added.
And as the afternoon wore on, the watch counter was consistently busy.
Many people had a seat or stood outside stores waiting for loved ones who were shopping.
Jeff Johnson, 59, was waiting for his girlfriend outside one shop.
"I'm just along for the ride," Johnson said.
His girlfriend had brought some things back to return or exchange, he said. She had also scored some good deals.
"We're here on vacation," said Johnson, who lives in upstate New York. "I'm enjoying the nice weather."
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.