FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW)– Last-minute holiday shoppers were out and about in Florence Thursday to find the perfect gift.
The parking lots at Magnolia Mall and other area shopping centers saw a constant stream of shoppers hoping to get gifts before it’s too late. One local business owner said he has come to expect a mad dash in the days leading up to Christmas.
“Every year, we try to plan ahead to handle the larger crowds in December, and we always underestimate how chaotic it is going to be,” said Brice Elvington, owner of The Toy Shop.
Elvington said he saw more shoppers get their gifts early this year than normal, but that didn’t stop others from coming in droves this week.
“I think about a week before Christmas, people start realizing that they can’t rely on the online shipments to arrive in time,” Elvington said. “It’s just gotten busier and busier up until today and we expect tomorrow from eight to two to be just as busy.”
Lorenzo Robinson spent the afternoon shopping at Magnolia Mall with his children. He said he prefers shopping under a time crunch because it forces him to make game-time gift-giving decisions.
“For me, I usually wait until the last minute to shop. I don’t shop other than last-minute shopping,” Robinson said. “It’s just easier for me. That’s just how I do stuff, last minute.”
Robinson said finding the right gift for his wife was worth braving the crowds.
“It’s just a lot, but it’s OK, we’ll get through it,” Robinson said.
Evington said one popular strategy he has observed is to buy a gift online, then buy something in-person as a backup in case it doesn’t arrive. For shoppers who missed out on getting gifts Thursday, Magnolia Mall and The Toy Shop will have reduced hours on Christmas Eve.