Weatherford Democrat

December 21, 2012

Panic mode

Stores brace for rush of last-minute gift buyers – especially procrastinating men


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH | bsmith@weatherforddemocrat.com

Dave Thompkins really had no idea what he was doing at JCPenney Thursday morning.

“My wife told me either I get started on my Christmas shopping now or I slept with the horses tonight,” Thompkins, a Poolville resident, said with a smile. “I just haven’t had a chance to get out and I really don’t know what to get anyone.”

Thompkins wasn’t alone as many men this time of year suffer from what Weatherford JCPenney Store Leader Jeff Colley calls MIP, or “men in panic.”

“I heard that at a conference I was at and it speaks volumes for what some men are like (this time of year),” Colley said. “We’re getting the guys who are looking at the jewelry right now.”

Thompkins said he usually shops early for the men of the family and the grandkids while his wife takes care of the ladies.

“I’m just a big kid at heart,” Thompkins said. “I’ll get it all done with days to spare.”

Still, Colley says retailers are in the calm before the storm right now, as this weekend is expected to be even busier than last year. With Christmas falling during the week this year, retailers are taking advantage of the extra weekend day leading up to Tuesday.

Colley says many retailers are noticing a trend where many people aren’t doing all their Christmas shopping on the last day as in the past.

“We’re seeing a lot of women shoppers who have had very full baskets,” Colley said. “Right now, many shoppers are picking up the last minute stuff. More of the gift gadgets, slippers. Items like that.”

Linda Freeman of Linda’s Jewelry, says while the season has been good so far, she is also preparing for people wanting those last minute gifts.

“Mine won’t hit until the weekend, the very last minute,” Freeman said. “It’s like that every year.”

Colley predicted a good crowd early on Christmas Eve, but will thin out.

Some shoppers were like Billy Gilbert, who “let the wife do most of (the Christmas shopping).”

Gilbert was just checking out some items for himself and “staying out of the way mostly.”

Others were like Daniela Ortega, of Weatherford, who said she was pacing herself and not wanting to get bogged down late.

“I’m just shopping for family members,” Ortega said. “I don’t like the crowds.”

MaryAnne Ellsworth, of Granbury, said this was her first day of shopping and she and her husband Alan had a lot to do.

“I hate crowds and this seemed to be the perfect time to go,” Ellsworth said. “From what I can see I was right.”