Although it may be better to give than to receive, some people think it's better to return than to grieve.
And with that in mind, the return-the-gift season begins today, the day after Christmas. Retailers compare this day with the day after Thanksgiving in its scope. So, advice similar for that day has been given: Have patience, and drive carefully.
But here is some extra advice: Bring bar codes and receipts.
"The best thing folks can do is leave bar codes on items," said Matt Dehn, manager of the Target discount department store in the new Augusta Exchange shopping center in west Augusta. "That makes it tremendously easier to process returns."
The bar codes, which look like computer talk on a price tag, contain what are called skew numbers. Those numbers tell a retail outlet information, such the price of an item and just where it was bought.
Without the bar code, "it makes it a little bit harder" to handle the returns, said John Brooks, manager of the Lane Bryant women's clothing store in Augusta Mall.
Various retailers use receipts to determine whether customers get money or credit. Usually, if no receipt is available, only exchanges are allowed.
Clothing is one of the main things that gets returned because gift-givers don't pick the right sizes, Mr. Dehn said.
Gina Ivey, assistant manager of American Eagle Outfitters, said, "We do whatever we can to accommodate because some people get things they don't like."
Today, people are going to stores to return items, but retailers hope they will use their cash or credit from those items -- and extra cash or plastic in their pockets -- to purchase what they really want.
"We're looking forward to the day after Christmas because it's a big sales day," said Edward Asbridge, manager of the J.C. Penney department store in Augusta Mall."If you make them happy with a refund, they tend to spend in the store."
And making customers happy doesn't just happen, he said. He holds training meetings with his employees to make sure they understand how important it is to please the customer.
"I think they should plan on having a good time shopping because there are a lot of sales," Mr. Asbridge said.
But remember: Be patient, drive carefully, and bring bar codes and receipts.