Last-minute Christmas shoppers share stories of procrastination

Several stores are extending hours to accommodate those who have waited until the last minute to shop for Christmas.

AUSTIN - With only one weekend left before Christmas Day, there are still many people who need to find a couple more gifts. For many of these procrastinators, there is usually a well-described reason for this procrastination.

Renee Rangel is not used to shopping at the last second, but she got a bit behind this year.

"I have never done this before," Rangel said, as she sat outside of the Toys "R" Us doors in South Austin.

"I've done some last minute shopping in the crowds but not waiting for a store for them to open at 6 a.m.," she said.

The reason Rangel found herself at this store so early in the day was that she was actually there the day before on Thursday, needing to snag a WowWee Fingerlings Unicorn for her daughter. If you haven't heard of these toys, they are some of the most popular gifts for kids this holiday season. This Thursday, Rangel found herself with somewhat of a shopping nemesis.

"I was standing there at the service desk asking for the item and there was a man standing there waiting for someone on the phone," Rangel said. "I answered the question for him and directed him to the right location. When I went over there, the very last silly thing that my daughter wanted was in his basket. I was like, 'Is there anyway...' and he's like, 'Oh no. My daughter really wants this, too."

Russell Mann has no crazy reason he found himself at Toys "R" Us that early, other than the fact that he had just gotten off work and needed one more present.

"I'm here to get some toys for one of my friend's kids," Mann said. "I work from 10 to 6, so it actually is pretty perfect for me. I can come when it is much calmer right now."

Benito Lozano and her husband had more than one more present: they still had all of their shopping to do on the Friday before Christmas.

"We just started Christmas shopping," Lozano said with an annoyed look on her face. "There was definitely some procrastination that wasn't supposed to happen this year. We're just looking for anything that lights up, makes noises."

Lozano expected to land a few items at Toys "R" Us but didn't have as much luck as she had hoped.

"They don't have much left," Lozano said. "We didn't get everything that we wanted to get. We ended up getting stuff that was the second choice and wasn't our first choice."

Just like Rangel, Andrew Bocanegra was also looking for the WowWee Fingerling Unicorn Friday morning, except for his niece. He was able to nail down most of his gifts, but this specific one has been extremely difficult. As someone who travels a lot for work, he knows very well how popular these toys are.

"I've been to Houston, Dallas and Arizona," Bocanegra said. "It's all sold out everywhere. It's crazy."
    
Stores around Austin are trying to help out these procrastinators by extending their hours before and after they usually open and close. Toys "R" Us opened Friday morning and will remain open 24/7 until the night of Christmas Eve. Kohl's is doing the same thing, while actually opening a day earlier than Toys "R" Us.

Even though shopping during this weekend isn't as crazy as it used to be, the National Retail Federation is expecting 126 million people to shop over this weekend. You can fully expect plenty of Austin shoppers to be out and about and taking advantage of these altered hours.

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