Originally created 11/29/97

Wrapping options available

As part of the shopping trek at department stores, many dedicated gift-buyers head to the wrapping department to bring their shopping to a sense of completion.

But some shoppers might be surprised to find that there is no wrapping department at Sears or Montgomery Ward.

And others might be happy to learn J.B. White is not charging for certain Christmas wrapping.

Then others might be surprised at the prices charged for some wrapping -- $15 or more for oversized gifts.

One shopper left the Macy's wrapping department Friday disgruntled because he was told it would cost $6.50 to wrap his gift, which looked like a 16-inch Sesame Street figure.

"Six-fifty," he said as he took the toy from the wrapping clerk and set it in the basket of his walker and rolled away. "It don't make sense." He did get a free Macy's box for the toy, however.

Shoppers can usually get free gift boxes even at the stores with no wrapping departments. But they might have to purchase items first, as at Montgomery Ward.

Two nonprofit groups, trying to raise money, are hoping their wrapping booths will lure shoppers.

Proceeds from a gift-wrapping booth in Augusta Mall will benefit the Medical College of Georgia's Children's Medical Center.

The booth, at the mall entrance near the J.B. White construction, has helped raise $10,000 to $15,000 for the hospital for two seasons, and a similar dollar gain is expected this year, said Cheryl Beck of the hospital's development department.

She said Augusta Mall donates the space, which is worth about $8,000, and thousands of dollars of wrapping paper, while 350 to 400 volunteers from Augusta businesses and groups wrap the presents.

Volunteers get training before the Christmas shopping season to "make them look nice," said Beverly Calvert, also of the hospital's development department.

At Regency Mall, a gift-wrapping booth is designed to raise money for the band of the Academy of Richmond County for a trip to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 1.

A lone clerk showed customers suggested prices from 25 cents for a tiny gift to $2 for a medium-sized one, but she said donations are being accepted.

"Some kids don't have the $260 to go," she said, so knitted snowflakes and angels are being sold at the booth to help with that, too.


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