The shelves are clear

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Remember my Hallmark ornament addiction?

I’ve got a side story for you.

If you’re anything like me and my cousin, Linda, you usually hit the department stores for those after-Christmas sales. Usually there are aisles of merchandise marked down anywhere from 50 to 75%, especially Hallmark ornaments.

Not this year.

Barely three or four days after ol’ Saint Nick made his yearly visit to all of the good boys and girls, there was hardly anything left on the shelves.

It wasn’t because consumers had bought everything in sight.

Although, store managers want you to believe that.

During one of her post-Christmas excursions with a good friend, my cousin hit the craft stores. The few items she found had been pushed aside due to either being broken or chipped.

What really caught her eye were three Christmas trees that remained on display.

All were marked 66% off and each had burned out lights.

“Why would I buy a tree with burned out lights?” she asked.

Can’t argue with you on that one, cuz.

She expressed her disappointment.

“I can’t believe that these stores were full of stuff the week before Christmas and there’s nothing out there, anywhere,” she said.

So, curiosity got the best of me.

Done with work for the day, I hopped in the car and headed to a couple of Hallmark stores.

I took pictures since my cousin wanted to know what they had on the shelves. The ornaments were 50% off, however the selections were limited.

Totally baffled at the lack of ornaments, I found the manager.

She confirmed that was all the store had left, but accidentally let a surprising statement slip. Some ornaments had been put in the stockroom.

The reporter came out in me and I pounded her with a series of questions. I won’t bore you with the conversation, but she back-pedaled on a couple of statements.

We all know the economy is in recession and the pandemic drastically reduced in-person shopping. Many people opted to avoid holiday crowds and make their purchases online.

It seems stores had merchandise left over and decided to stockpile it for next season.

Makes sense, in a way.

But, some of these stores have sold the same merchandise for the last two or three years, and just “added” items depending on customer demand. I’m sure managers and corporate offices will dispute this observation.

To take it a step further, these same stores were already putting merchandise out for Valentine’s Day, which is more than seven weeks away.

We haven’t celebrated the arrival of 2021.

I wonder what will happen to those items Feb. 17?

Rudy Coggins is the assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at rcoggins@mountolivetribune.com.

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