Customers visited The Pines mall Tuesday to return Christmas merchandise and take advantage of sales. Devin Herron of Rison serves in the U.S. Army Reserves and is preparing for training and then a deployment to Cuba, where he will remain for nine months. He bought clothes for himself in anticipation of his upcoming deployment.

“I am spending a little Christmas money, checking out the sales,” Herron, 19, said. “It seemed like a good idea.”

He shops at The Pines mall less frequently now than he did as a child.

“If they started bringing in more shops, I would probably shop here more often,” Herron said. “I remember being a kid and [the mall] being much bigger and much more alive. But now you hardly see anybody here except for Christmas sales.”

“I remember when I was little coming to see a movie,” Herron said. “Even the food court used to be so much bigger.”

Samuel Bailey of Gould came to the mall to return a bracelet he bought for his wife and find a bracelet that fit her.

“That is my sole reason for coming to the mall today,” Bailey said. “I probably would not even be in Pine Bluff if it was not for this.”

Winfred Ashcraft of Woodlawn was shopping for presents for his children. He shops at The Pines mall about twice a year.

“It was so crowded before at Bath & Body Works,” Ashcraft said. “That’s where I usually get my kids some things. I thought the day after would be better and it was better but it is still crowded.”

Ronnie Lawson of the Watson Chapel neighborhood of Pine Bluff bought tennis shoes for himself. He had not planned to buy new shoes until he happened to be near the mall.

“This is a spur-of-the-moment idea,” Lawson said.

Truzella Benton of Houston, Texas, is visiting friends and family members in Pine Bluff. She came to the mall to shop for clothes and shoes. She usually waits until after Christmas to take advantage of sales because stores are less crowded.

“I like this little city,” Benton said. “This is my first time in Pine Bluff.”

Ariel Jones of Monticello came to the mall to return unwanted gifts and received a gift card in exchange.