Traffic wasn’t an issue for Carolyn Johnson. Especially inside Washington Crown Center.
“I’m surprised. It’s dead compared to what is usually is,” she said Thursday, while accompanied by her niece, Debbie Kesner. “It’s great because we’re not getting pushed or knocked over.”
'Twas the day after Christmas, and all through this mall and other regional retail sites, there were shoppers seeking bargains and returning ugly slippers purchased by their husbands. But their numbers seemed to be fewer, and less feverish, than previous Dec. 26ths.
At least as of late morning.
Those who were interviewed between exchanges and/or purchases at Crown Center could only speculate as to the reason(s) for the diminished crowds: more would-be customers avoiding the expected hustle and bustle; Christmas falling at midweek, forcing more people back to work the day after; increased Internet retail; a post-holiday malaise; or a simple shopping overdose.
“I’m surprised there aren’t many people here,” said Frank Besedick of Monongahela. “It was a lot more hectic the last time I was here (on a Dec. 26), Actually, it was mostly crazy.”
He and his brother-in-law, Art Navrat of Eighty Four, said they were left holding the bags – literally. They were together, carrying the treasures of their wives, Jessica Besedick and Gloria Navrat, who were elsewhere in the North Franklin Township mall with the Besedicks’ daughter, Ashley.
“Our wives are making returns and doing a lot of shopping and looking for bargains,” Art Navrat said.
Not that these guys don’t shop for the holidays. They have families.
“For the first time, I shopped a little on the Internet,” Navrat said.
“Yeah, but I like to see what I buy,” Frank Besedick said.
Bargains are an incentive for Beverly Perkins and Dennis Tate, and why post-Christmas shopping is a family tradition for the Canonsburg couple and their sons: Alex Perkins, 12, and DeAngelo Perkins, 10.
“We’re looking for clearance items and bargains,” Tate said. “We always come back the day after Christmas to see what things cost.”
They weren’t just buying seasonal items either, Beverly said.
“Even if they’re not Christmas presents, you can get gifts on sale that you can use later in the year.”
Year-round gift thrift is paramount, Beverly added, when your children are at an age at which they are continually growing – along with bills for true necessities, food and clothing.
Four weeks after Thanksgiving, Johnson, of Ruff Creek, and Kesner, of Waynesburg, were giving thanks for the smaller and less-manic masses – and for simply being at Crown Center on this day after.
“We sure do like the sales,” said Johnson, who wasn’t into returns this year. She is keeping the diamond earrings from her boyfriend, whom she identified simply as Frank.
She wondered whether an uptick in stores offering generous pre-holiday discounts may have cut into the crowd while she and Kesner were there.
“A lot of them are putting stuff half-price before Christmas,” she said. “People don’t have to come out now.”
But they did, and so did others. Just not as many others.