Last-minute shoppers hit stores

ESCANABA – Many view shopping the day before Christmas Eve as waiting until the last minute. Holiday shoppers, though, were out facing the challenge of finding the perfect gift on a deadline Monday either out of choice or necessity.

When Bob Poore took to the stores Monday he was getting a head start on his holiday shopping.

“I usually wait until Christmas Eve Day,” said Poore, pausing from his shopping in the Escanaba Kmart.

Even though late season shopping is something of a ritual for Poore, he admitted there was no particular reason for his shopping habits.

“No, I’m just a procrastinator,” he laughed. “You don’t have all the mad rush either.”

Poore isn’t alone. According to a National Retail Federation survey, the average holiday shopper had only completed half of their holiday shopping by Dec. 9 and 32 million shoppers had not even started their holiday shopping by that date.

While Poore and others who frequently take to the stores at the last minute were purchasing gifts, other last minute shoppers were out Monday simply because that was when they were able to pick up those last few presents on their gift lists.

“I actually got paid today. I had to wait until I got paid,” said Chelsea Koster, pausing from her shopping at the Escanaba Walmart Monday.

Koster admits she is usually done with her Christmas shopping much earlier in the season, but because her paychecks this month came in on the 7th and the 22nd some of her gifts needed to be purchased last minute.

“(I’m shopping for) just my mom and my dad and my boyfriend. A few last minute things – I (already) got most of them,” she said.

Koster is not the only shopper who planned last minute gift purchases around their job.

“I’ve been busy with work … and just had some time today,” said Courtney Nolde, who was picking up gifts for four people on her list at Positively! The Center for Success in downtown Escanaba.

Also like Koster, Nolde typically does her Christmas shopping earlier in the season but her work schedule meant that some of her list remained unfinished Monday.

“(It’s) just a few last minute things that we have to get,” she said.

Not all shoppers who were finishing their lists at the last minute were kept from the stores due to work obligations.

“I was sick,” said Kathy Murphy, whose Walmart cart contained gifts, candy, and a pre-lit Christmas tree that was on sale, noting she usually was done with her Christmas shopping by now.