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A friend went out this a.m. in search of post-Christmas deals and found few -- and about as many shoppers too, much to her surprise (these folks' too). Then again, buying new is so 2007; we're the Garage Sale Nation now, sucking up the second-hand and the slightly worn for pennies on the dollar. In the days before Christmas, Jason Cohen at Curiosities in Lakewood noted an steady uptick in shoppers. Likewise Julii Baack in McKinney, among those profiled by the Associated Press in a piece about new small businesses doing well in bad times. Baack's in the buy-back business, selling the "gently used" togs that hang in Plato's Closet. Says the former loan officer for a home builder, "People usually don't buy used products for Christmas, but this year, they are." Speaking of, you think this leisure suit makes my ass look big? --Robert Wilonsky