By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There was a mad dash to get last-minute shopping done. Now there’s a steady stroll to return what’s not wanted.

“Things you can’t fit into: clothes, shoes, shirts, things like that. Things that your parents bought you or your auntie bought you. Things you don’t want that you just want to return,” said shopper Nytasha Tobe.

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It’s estimated that about 17 percent of Americans plan to return or exchange unwanted gifts.

Experts recommend waiting until after January 1 to avoid lines. But if you have to do it right after Christmas, consumerreports.com recommends: keeping your gift receipts, not opening boxes that gifts came in, knowing the stores return policy, and bringing your ID when you make a return or exchange.

“So many stores now have easy returns with the receipt or they put a sticker on it so it’s easy to return without a receipt,” shopper Stephanie Forbes said.

And because stores know people will be making returns, they try to ride out the pre-holiday rush into the New Year.

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“There are a lot of 50 percent off deals. Otherwise I got things for 25 percent off. Things like that,” shopper Megan Wellner said.

About 50 percent of consumers will take advantage of after-Christmas sales at retailers and shopping malls. This is when Craig Lucci and his family get a lot of their shopping done.

“My wife bought some shoes. I got a couple of bathing suits and a pair of pants. We’re ready for our trip to Mexico,” Lucci said.

And it’s not just mall shoppers that will take advantage of the after-Christmas sales.

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According to the National Retail Federation, 45 percent of consumers will do the same thing online.

John Lauritsen