Christmas Eve shopping procrastinators hit stores

December 24, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Along Michigan Avenue, it was crunch time.

"I'm more strategic - I'm a hunter versus a gatherer, but we're gathering today," said a last-minute shopper named Jesse Jackson.

"Took the train in, taking the train back out after we go to Water Tower Place," said last-minute shopper Keith Novak.

At the Macy's in Oakbrook, there were bargains aplenty. Robert Wagner got his wife something to keep her ears warm - although the warming properties of earrings do remain to be proven.

"I was up, took the dogs out, so I figured I'd go out and get her what she asked for last night," said Wagner.

Though final holiday sales numbers won't be available for a few weeks, signs point to a season of solid demand.

The Macy's in Oakbrook has been open around the clock since Wednesday.

"Whether you work at a hospital, people actually who work in the mall that get off late, I've seen some of them in at night," said Macy's Operations Manager Kevin Rohman.

Despite those extended hours, procrastinators Saturday had plenty of excuses.

"The holiday's just been real busy, just a lot of work, and then Christmas parties, and all sorts of other stuff that's been going on," said Mark Aguilera.

Most stores close at five or six Saturday evening, but for true procrastinators, Meijer closes at seven, Walmart at eight, and Kmart and Toys R Us at ten.

Some 24-hour Walgreens locations, including one in Greektown, are open all night.

"We have gift cards," said Walgreens Manager Mark Burdzinski. "We have greeting cards, roll-wrapped bows, toys, many last minute gifts under $20."

Perhaps unsurprisingly - Burdzinski says the vast majority of the last-minute shoppers he sees this close to Christmas are men.

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