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.

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, 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.

“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.

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

John Lauritsen