Bunches of last-minute shoppers hit area stores

By Rochelle Dean - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Santa Claus isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice. So were last minute shoppers who hit the stores this Christmas Eve in droves.

It's a race to the finish as hundreds packed their carts and their patience at area stores so they could get those hot ticket items still left on their Christmas lists. "It's really been an intense holiday season," says Wesley Prichard, general manager of the Best Buy on Harbison Blvd.

From the youngest shoppers to the young at heart, lines of gift givers braved the crowds to get their hands on this year's "must have's." Area retailers say they were flying off the shelves faster then they could restock them. "iPads, eReaders, game systems...obviously, iPods and mp3 players as well," lists Prichard.

Many who waited until the last minute to begin the mad dash to area check-out counters didn't mind digging a little deeper if it meant walking out with the perfect present.

But the giving spirit wasn't only reserved to those bustling through area stores. This year lawmakers got in on the action by throwing out blue laws that kept Lexington County stores from opening before 1:30pm on Sundays. "It's kind of magical how that worked, how it ended up being the day after Christmas," says Prichard, "You couldn't of planned it better for us."

Or for that matter, you couldn't have planned it better for area shoppers who retailers predict will be out in full force taking advantage of the extra time.

Walmart and Target indicate they will still allow shopping at their normal times. Columbiana Mall says it will change its Sunday hours to noon starting next year.

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