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On Your Mark! Get Set!

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RALEIGH — And early Friday morning, before the daybarely gets started, the instincts of shoppers everywhere will reverberateto an unspoken yet forceful, "GO!" Store parking lots will fill up onceagain, as people come to spend the money tucked in their holiday stockings-- or to return items that didn't quite make the mark, no matter the goodintentions of the giver.

Many stores hope to lure shoppers with price tags bearing marked downprices. December 26 routinely finds many Christmas-related items, such aswrapping paper, lights, ornaments, candles, wreaths, tinsel and wire hookson sale, for half-price or better. In addition, many stores will havestandard merchandise on sale. No wonder that holiday money burnsa hole in one's Christmas stocking!

And where Santa brought the wrong size or color, or possibly two orthree of the same item, it's time to hit the return lines. Be sure tobring the receipt if you have it. If it was bought by credit card,remember that most stores will make a refund applicable to that card; theyrarely hand over cash for a credit card purchase. So have your card withyou as well, if needed.

Be prepared for long lines, and as much or more hubbub as there was in the days preceding Christmas.

Everyone headed to malls and stores on the day after Christmas also needs to bring along good amounts of civility and patience -- and asense of humor wouldn't hurt either.

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