#55 Returns & Exchanges


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The day after Christ­mas must be as dread­ed to retail­ers as the day after Thanks­giv­ing is wel­come — you know, Black Fri­day, the biggest shop­ping day of the year.

Used to be, before online shop­ping & big box stores, all the depart­ment stores from Sears & Pen­neys (as it used to be called), to Saks & Nord­stroms, had a spe­cial win­dow or room all its own (with a classy, dis­creet sign) that han­dled returns, exchanges & com­plaints. Next to that was the gift wrap­ping ser­vice & lay­away department.

Remem­ber the smell of fresh pop­corn & can­dy when enter­ing your neigh­bor­hood Sears?

Today a cou­ple stores still offer a com­fort­able set­ting for such returns & exchanges (no can­dy or pop­corn, though), but the big box & deep dis­count chains most­ly just have a return counter (with a tacky “Line Starts Here” arrow hang­ing from the ceil­ing) and a  trail of cus­tomers (all “dressed up” in the lat­est Big Box fash­ion) that extends out the door.

So Decem­ber’s Amper­Art #55, Returns & Exchanges, repeats the trip to the same brick-&-mortar store (or the online equiv­a­lent) that Novem­ber’s Amper­Art #54 por­trayed: Stop & Shop (in case you missed it, get tram­pled here).

listen up!

I don’t usu­al­ly have to return any­thing, but I do rush to the stores the day after Christ­mas to pur­chase lights, orna­ments & oth­er dec­o­ra­tions at 50% off. Then next year one of two things happens:

1) I light up the place with twice as much wattage as the year before, cre­at­ing a spec­ta­cle & turn­ing my nice neigh­bors into sea­son­al ene­mies; or

2) I for­get where I stashed my pre­cious half-​price dec­o­ra­tions & most like­ly spend so much time look­ing for them I run out of time to put up any­thing at all. (At least I keep peace with the neighbors.)

One year I even pur­chased a ton of lights & doo-​dads at half price & hung them on the out­side the day after Christ­mas to light up the neigh­bor­hood (& irri­tate you-​know-​who) through half of Jan­u­ary. With loud Christ­mas music, of course. Wan­na be my neighbor?

Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: Futura
Ampersand: Hand-​drawn in the style of the typical Art Deco-​era Department Store signage
Popcorn aroma: Sears, Roebuck & Co. back when it was the favorite store in town

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