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Last minute holiday shoppers crowd retail stores

Posted at 6:34 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 20:13:49-05

HARKER HEIGHTS, TEXAS — Shopping for last-minute Christmas gifts is something most of us are guilty of. With three days left until the big day, it’s a retail frenzy.

“Some of us have to work for a living,” Bill Bird, an early morning customer, said. “We have to work, you know, utilize the best time of opportunity, time management that you can, and so here I am.”

Donna McMillan, a teacher, is in the same boat, searching for last-minute gifts after the school year came to a close.

“I just finished teaching. So, you know, the end of the school year was on the 18th, and I just been so busy that I just finally got around to it,” she explained.

Getting the deals in-person may be more time-consuming during the pandemic, with longer checkout lines and stores enforcing COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“There’s just no precedent that has been set for what we’re experiencing would be the biggest challenge that we’ve had,” Michele Robinson, the executive team leader at Target in Harker Heights said. “So a lot of things are just reacting to what’s occurring in the moment.”

It may be too late to order online, as expected delivery times for packages are days after Christmas.

“Online is tough now, you know. The last few years I’ve had issues,” Bird said. “Something’s been breached, and now I’ve gotta change my debit card and so forth or credit card, and so for me it’s just much, much easier in person. ”

These obstacles are making more people crowd to the stores, a scenario some companies were trying to avoid.

“A lot of focus has been placed on online shopping in order to reduce crowds and to help with social distancing,” Robinson said. “Target has done an incredible job with promoting online sales and that sort of thing.”

If you’re someone who wants to avoid the crowds completely, check to see if your favorite stores have in-store or curbside pickup.

Both are very popular methods at many stores, especially at Target. In fact, the company says it's seeing an over 200% increase in pick-up services this year.

”We’re such a fast-paced world, and so they’re able to supplement their life with these types of options, and it’s worked out incredibly well for everyone involved," said Robinson.

If you are planning on shopping in-person, a new feature on Google Maps may be able to help by showing you in real0time how crowded a store may be, making it easier to limit your in-person contact.