Here is a little good news. Plenty of shoppers still have gifts to buy. Apparently, this year’s calendar — leaving us five fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas — has left shoppers with much to do before Dec. 25.
The average person had completed only 47.1 percent of her shopping by the second week in December, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey. That is about 10 percent less than the 52.6 percent average completed by the same time last year.
Even better for retailers, the survey discovered that more than 41 million people have not yet begun to shop. Not surprising to me anyway, the biggest procrastinators are men (20.7 percent haven’t started) and 35- to 44-year-olds (20.9 percent haven’t started).
And, only 8 percent of shoppers say they have completed their holiday shopping.
So, retailers, rejoice and welcome the shoppers who are yet to grace your doorways.
Shopping at a mall in Atlanta on Saturday, I noticed again and again how helpful the retailers were, and I must point out that Macy’s employees took the prize for friendliness and willingness to help. Not only was I greeted again and again with smiles and offers of assistance, I even attracted the attention of one Macy’s employee who saw that I really needed an extra pair of hands. And quick. (I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.)
The handle on a large and heavy box I had been lugging around the mall was about to give way, so I had to balance the box on my hip with my arm wrapped as far around it as it would go, while holding a heavy bag and my pocketbook in my other hand. It was touch and go.
As I was about to exit Macy’s and head to the parking lot, this nice man — who must have forgotten his red suit and white beard that day — came to my rescue and carried the box to my car.
Ho. Ho. Ho. It really ’tis the season.