Holiday shopping continues as many make gift returns, exchanges

WICHITA, Kansas – – Just when you thought the holiday shopping season was over, it continues.

Thousands of people here were expected to head out to the stores once again, this time looking to return or exchange gifts.

A wrong purchase landed Wichita resident Doug Stark in the long lines at Best Buy on the east side of town.

“I made a hasty purchase the other day and unfortunately bought the wrong size computer,” said Stark.

Stark says he’s never come out the day after Christmas to make an exchange.

He says he was shocked to see the long lines and shopping madness.

“I heard and I’m not sure this is actually right but there are more transactions the day after Christmas than before Christmas on any of those days,” said Stark.

Best Buy General Manager Courtney Hans says the crowds were steadily busy throughout the day.

“It’s not like the Super Saturday before Christmas, but it’s still a very heavy day, gift card redemption is really big, a lot of folks had gifts cards in their stockings and using those,” said Hans.

Hans says to handle the influx of shoppers, they have more staff on hand to make things run smoothly.

Unlike most years, Hans expects the return and exchange season to last a little longer than usual.

“The after Christmas and exchange season, and than the gift card redemption is falling on a Friday, which leads into a weekend, a lot of folks are still off from work, there’s a lot of time, the store hours are still longer than general so we’ll stay busy through the weekend,” said Hans.

The annual post-Christmas return surge also has retailers preparing for potential fraud.

According to a recent survey released by the National Retail Federation, merchants expect five percent of all holiday returns to be fraudulent.

That comes at a hefty price, with an estimated loss of around $3.8 billion.

Best Buy says they’ve experience return fraud in the past.

“The way we combat it is just making sure we’re asking the right questions, we do check all the boxes to make sure they haven’t been tampered, to ensure that next customer isn’t going to get a product that isn’t in the box,” said Hans.

Many stores have also started requiring customers to show a drivers license to make a return.

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