It depends where you go in Lodi to see how crowded it is the day after Christmas.
Downtown Lodi businesses were almost completely empty on Monday, though School Street was filled with cars. The reason? They were all going to the movies.
But if you go to Walmart, it’s a whole different world. It’s difficult to get inside to the shopping area because the line to return or exchange Christmas gifts was at least 20 people deep.
And you couldn’t miss the line — it was right inside the front door.
“I’m glad we’re not returning anything right now,” a customer said as she entered the Walmart store at Kettleman Lane and Lower Sacramento Road.
Lodi resident Angela Shaw said she came because some socks she bought as gifts were too small. She was rather cheerful about it, even though she was near the end of the line.
“I get to buy them; now I get to return them,” Shaw said.
Kohl’s department store, also on Kettleman Lane, had a lot of people returning Christmas gifts on Monday, but a Kohl’s employee said that no one who works at the store was allowed to talk to the media and referred inquiries to its Wisconsin headquarters.
Downtown Lodi clerks say they think they’ve escaped the traditional post-Christmas returns because Christmas fell on a Sunday, and people continued visiting friends and family.
“I’m thinking we’ll get some more (gift exchanges) when the week goes on,” said Monica Clasen, who works at Christensen’s Fashions.
“People seem to like what they got (for Christmas),” Fashion Safari clerk Bina Jurado said, “except for one who wanted a different color.”
Lonnie Saechao, who works at Lodi Cooks in the Downtown area, thinks people are too busy visiting friends and family, or else going to the movies, to exchange gifts.
Instead of finding a swarm of people exchanging gifts, four non-Californians were busy browsing. Two of them were from outside the country. April and Beth Schander, both from Atlanta, were busy visiting relatives, but took a break to check out Lodi Cooks with two Canadian relatives, Frances Schander, of Victoria, and Heather Schander, of Toronto.
Stores’ policies vary when it comes to returning or exchanging merchandising. At a small shop like Christensen’s, you don’t need a receipt because the clerks know their merchandise well enough to know how much an item is worth, Clasen said.
Many chain stores require that media inquiries be made to their corporate office. A check of company websites revealed the following policies:
Kohl’s: Bring the item and a receipt to customer service. If you have a Kohl’s credit card, credit may be applied to your account. But if you don’t have a card, you have 16 months to return the item. Then you’ll get a Kohl’s card or a refund check. If you don’t have a receipt, you can get an even exchange or a credit for the return value of the item.
Walmart: Most store items can be exchanged or refunded with a receipt within 90 days of purchase. Visit www.walmartstores.com to see exceptions for electronic and regulated items. Walmart’s no-receipt policy applies to items returned in a store only. You have the option of a cash refund (for purchases under $25), a gift card for the amount of the purchase (for purchases more than $25) or an even exchange for the product. You can make up to three no-receipt returns within a 45-day period.
Target: Most items must be returned within 90 days and must be in new and unused condition. If returning your Target.com purchase through the mail, it must also contain all original packaging and accessories.
The following items must be returned within 45 days: computer hardware (netbooks, e-readers, tablets), cameras and camcorders. Gift cards, prepaid cellphones, prepaid cards (including music, game and phone cards) or other items may have varying return polices. Check your receipt, the item details or shipping page to verify the return policy. The following items are non-returnable if opened and may only be exchangeable: music, movies, video games and software. Photo ID may be required for in-store returns.
Big Kmart: An original receipt/email confirmation dated within 90 days of the original date of purchase is required for all returns and exchanges. An original receipt or email confirmation within 30 days of the original date of purchase is required for all returns and exchanges of air conditioners, gas-powered equipment, jewelry and watches. Returns without a receipt/email confirmation will not be accepted.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.