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December 23, 2012

Weekend crammed with last-minute shoppers

Chatsworth residents Justin and Brandi Holden are opposites when it comes to how they plan their holiday shopping.

“She normally plans ahead,” Justin Holden said as the two headed with a buggy of goods to their vehicle in the Walnut Avenue Walmart parking lot. “I’m the procrastinator.”

Brandi Holden said her shopping was complete except for a couple of items while Justin Holden has more to buy. The Holdens were among oodles of last-minute shoppers who are flooding the shops, stores, streets and highways this weekend in preparation for Christmas. While Justin Holden said he shops last-minute almost every year because, well, the season just seems to come faster than expected, others are intentional, down-to-the-wire gift-getters.

Walnut Square Mall General Manager Brandy Whaley said many stores count on and accommodate that, slashing their prices even more the closer the clock ticks toward Dec. 25 and staying open later. While Whaley said she didn’t immediately have numbers on Saturday, she said sales at the mall are up this year and that some stores are expecting their Friday and Saturday sales to equate to spending sales of up to 25 percent of the whole holiday season.

“We always account the last 10 days are the busiest of the holiday season, but this year there’s an extra weekend (before Christmas) than there was last year,” Whaley said.

The mall is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.  Stores at Market Street Shops are open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, according to its website, www.daltonshops.com, and from noon to 6 p.m. today. Many other retailers, such as Kohl’s, which is open from 6 a.m. to midnight today and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, have extended their hours because of the last-minute rush. Academy Sports and Outdoors is open from 7 a.m. to midnight today and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, according to its website, www.academy.com.

Several people on The Daily Citizen’s Facebook page said they like waiting until closer to the holiday to shop.

“I do better under pressure,” said Kathy Burkhalter Satterfield. “No time to think about what to give, and prices are better.”

“I do better under pressure, too,” Deanna Davis said on Saturday. “Plus, it helps when I’m in the Christmas spirit! Oh, and the sales have been great! May go again tomorrow...”

Still others said they waited longer so they could make more money, pay their bills before buying gifts or because they had family emergencies.

Several shoppers said their weekend dashes were relatively pleasant where other shoppers are concerned.

“The Kroger parking lot and light on Walnut (Avenue) is crazy busy!” Jenny Young Suddath said. “T.J. Maxx had lots of people working and were so very polite and friendly!”

Davis said she shopped at the mall in Dalton on Friday and people there were nice and there were no lines.

“Today I went to Beall’s in Chatsworth and found the same to be true,” she said.

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