Many happy returns for area shoppers |

Many happy returns for area shoppers

A curious thing happened when shoppers headed back to Glenwood Springs’ retail centers Sunday. The day after Christmas is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. People head to places like the Glenwood Springs Mall and downtown Glenwood Springs to exchange gifts, spend gift certificates and cash in on bargain prices. Though shopping is the main attraction the day after Christmas, the benches, couches and planter boxes at Glenwood’s retail centers were just as busy as retailer registers. The strange part: Males, almost exclusively, occupied the seating.”This is where I do my best shopping,” said Mark Whalen of Carbondale as he sat on a bench yesterday outside the J.C. Penney store at the Glenwood Springs Mall.”I’m sitting on a bench, and my wife and daughter and her friend are shopping,” he said. Whalen had done some shopping himself earlier in the day but took to the bench when his crew headed into J.C. Penney.”I don’t think my advice would be worth much when it comes to clothes,” he said. Whalen’s wife, Anna Maria, soon appeared from the store with a bag of Christmas gifts for next year – two throw blankets they’d found discounted from $40 to $10. Whalen guarded the bag while his wife headed back in to the store.Spending part of the day on the bench wasn’t all bad. In fact, spending time with his family and watching the crowds go by was kind of enjoyable, he said – more enjoyable even than the San Diego Chargers-Indianapolis Colts game he’d given up watching when he left for the mall.”It’s a little more live entertainment than watching a football game,” he said. Whalen could have finished watching the game if he’d wanted to, though – and had some company doing it. At the other end of the mall a group – mostly men – stood in Radio Shack with their arms folded or with hands shoved deep in their pockets staring at the game on a Radio Shack television. Of course, the stereotype of men sitting waiting for their wives didn’t play out completely – plenty of men shopped just as hard as the women, and plenty of women waited on benches or planter boxes. George Chalberg shopped alongside his wife, Audrey, and son Connor. The three browsed the stores, but had come from Vail specifically for Bath & Body Works in the mall and for popcorn chicken from KFC in north Glenwood Springs. And Jennifer Wettstein of Dublin, Ireland, waited patiently on a planter box outside Summit Canyon Mountaineering downtown for her mother, Sharree, of Eagle, who was exchanging gifts for the right size. By and large though, it was men who were taking it easy. “We found the husbands’ bench,” said Perry Hart of Redstone. Hart had just greeted his son-in-law, Chad Hodgson of Kearney, Neb., who sat on a leather couch in the center of the mall, packages by his side. “We’re killing time,” said Hart. “Girls shop, boys chauffeur.”A business roundup will appear in a future edition of the Post Independent.Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext.

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