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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).
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
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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