WESLEY CHAPEL — "Show her the jeans you got," Bridgitte Tanner said to her friend, Carl Simmonds. They leaned against the outside wall of Barnes & Noble at the Shops at Wiregrass Friday — the day after Christmas, a day when shopping for yourself is okay again. They debated on whether or not to go inside. All of their Christmas money could be gone. Books are their weakness.
Carl, 15, pulled out his jeans. He got them for 10 percent off at Hot Topic. Every store at Wiregrass had a sale, and the sidewalks hummed with shoppers. The jeans were pencil-thin and glowing, even under the bright afternoon sun — a yellowish green highlighter color.
"Aren't they awesome?" said Tanner, who is 18 and lives in Land O'Lakes. She is fair-skinned with short, choppy black hair; her lips and tongue pierced and a Hell Girl tattoo on her chest and a Resident Evil tattoo on her wrist. She held a girly, pink and red bag from Victoria's Secret.
"Check out the underwear I got," she said. "Girl, these are cute. Five for $25!"
Her brother, James Tanner, 15, already wore what he bought — a necklace with a charm of Jack Skellington, a character from the Nightmare Before Christmas. He also dug through a shopping bag to pull out something else he bought — a T-shirt from the movie Beetlejuice that says "Handbook for the Recently Deceased."
James is really excited about the Harry Potter wand he got from his parents for Christmas.
"Before my wand, I was using chopsticks," he said, for when he would cast spells around the house — such as shouting "alohomora," the spell for opening a locked door, before busting into his sister's room.
He said that if the whole holiday season is about fussing over other people, the day after Christmas "is when we fuss about us."
Many go shopping the day after Christmas as a tradition. Few seemed to be there to return unwanted gifts. Myra Ziegler, 15, came from Zephyrhills to use the Wiregrass gift card that her stepmother bought for her. She was using it for school clothes.
Lisa Gillam, 17, checked her MySpace account from her new iPod. Arron O'Dell, 17, wore her new diamond earrings and was happy that her boyfriend liked the watch she got for him.
Rachel Chiaverini, 75, rested in a chair while waiting for her daughter to bring the car to pick her up. Chiaverini couldn't stop herself from buying gifts for other people — though they are gifts for next Christmas. She did get herself one thing: a holiday sweater with a snowman on it for only $10. She also got her boyfriend a Hawaiian shirt for $11.
"It was down from $40," she said. "Can you believe that?" She hopes he likes it and can wear it on their cruise to Aruba this spring. They go on a cruise every year. She also bought him jeans for Christmas.
"He tried them on this morning," she said. "And they fit. Thank God!"
Lots of shoppers had coupons to use, in addition to taking advantage of after-Christmas sales.
"We got some pretty good bargains," said Carol Walker of from Land O'Lakes, who was there shopping with her daughter, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Their arms were heavy with bags. "We're helping the economy," Walker said.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4609.