It's not just mail carriers who live by the motto "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," as crowds of shoppers proved by braving the season's most severe weather to get to the after-Christmas sales.

Shoppers Monday had more than a foot of accumulated snow and the gloom of yet another storm to contend with as they made their rounds of area malls that featured a wide variety of sales, ranging from clearance-priced Christmas items to markdowns on winter clothing.Most shoppers questioned by the Deseret News said no amount of snow could have kept them from arriving at the stores as early as 8 a.m. to exchange unwanted gifts or buy the presents they wanted but didn't get.

"Where there's a will there's a way," said Joan Berg of Sandy, who arrived downtown at the Crossroads Plaza shortly after 9 a.m. armed with a shopping bag. "It's an empty one," she said. "I'm going to load up."

Other shoppers were already leaving the mall with bags of purchases from Nordstrom, which drew the most post-holiday shoppers by beginning its semiannual men's sale Monday.

"I was amazed when we opened the doors and people just started streaming in," said the store's personal shopper, Peggy Pendleton. "These are some dedicated shoppers - dedicated Nordstrom's shoppers."

The men's department was jammed with men, women and even children sifting through tables and racks of sweaters, shirts, coats and other items reduced for the sale. Several shoppers gleefully pointed out they had been able to return one item purchased at full price before Christmas for several similar sale-price items.

"Our parents shop here before Christmas. We shop here after," said Dave Dellenback of Salt Lake City. Dave and his wife, Amy, were exchanging two pairs of pants for five pairs of pants.

University of Utah student Greg Miya of Salt Lake City said he couldn't afford to buy clothes at full price. "I'd rather sleep, but this only comes twice a year," he said as he balanced a stack of sale-price pants.

Bobbye Sloan of Jacksonville, Fla., said she never misses the after-Christmas sales even if she's traveling during the holiday. Only a short time after the mall opened, she already had a full shopping bag.

Inside were Hallmark Christmas tree ornaments, which she said she has been buying since the company started producing the collector's items in 1973. Sloan said she shops the half-price sales after Christmas to complete her set.

At the ZCMI Center, the pace was a little slower but there were still many bargain hunters scrutinizing markdowns. Mickey Weidenbacher and her daughter, Jamie Patterson, were looking over sale-price men's pants but planned to visit other departments during their daylong outing.

"You have to get what you need to go with what you got for Christmas," Patterson said.

Some shoppers had young children in tow. Wendy Martin, who went downtown with her husband and two boys, ages 2 and 12, said the children enjoyed the crowds. The family was exchanging a sweatshirt that was too small and socks that were "real weird" as well as looking for new clothes on sale.

Other stores expected good crowds later in the day. The Foot Locker in Crossroads Plaza had five employees wearing the company's black and white referee-style uniform when it opened at 9 a.m. and more employees were scheduled to arrive by noon.

At B. Dalton Bookseller, manager Matt Whiting wasn't expecting to handle too many returns. "People like their books," Whiting said. "It's not like a shirt that's the wrong size."