SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The countdown to the weekend is on, and shoppers are using all their remaining time to find gifts.
Whether the reason is procrastination or just being too busy, shopping plazas are packed with last-minute buyers, and the stores are ready.
Over at Tanger Outlets, shoppers noticed the traffic was pretty crazy leading up to the holiday weekend, but, for Paulette King and Marva Greene, that was the busiest crowd they ran into.
“Parking was a bit of a problem. (That’s about it.) Yeah,” they said.
Depending on the store, shoppers would run into a tight squeeze.
“It was one store me and Noah went in, and it was just crowded. I was like, ‘no, there’s too many people. Leave,'” Michael Parrott said.
At the outlet mall, you will find a mixture of locals and tourists either finding the perfect gift with just days to spare, or some who are already spending their Christmas money.
Parrott and his family decided to buy their own gifts with the Christmas money they received.
“First one we bought was this (toy). It comes with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee,” Luther Castille said.
For Greene and her family, they were all shopping for different reasons. A little bit of personal shopping, some last-minute Christmas gifts and souvenir buying for family and friends.
“I had to get a gift for my husband, and I had to get a gift for myself for my uh, what do you call it? The little gifts, the gift card. Cause he gave me a gift card,” Greene said.
“Some last-minute things. My dad bought me a bag from Coach, and then my dad is with my mom and my sister right now getting them some jewelry and everything. So, just some last-minute knick-knacks,” Tre King said.
Anytime someone has to buy last minute, there’s a good chance that specific item they’re looking for has already been snagged.
But stores such as Byrd’s Famous Cookies, try to prepare for that. However, the lingering effects of the pandemic and supply chain issues mean managers have to think a little creatively.
Rachel Cox, the manager at the Tanger Outlets location, said they’ve been crazy busy all week. She’s had to staff every day like it’s a Saturday.
“It’s been pretty rambunctious. It’s definitely been Saturday business every day. We’re fine with that though. We’re here to make sweet treats come true,” Cox said.
She said the supply chain issues hit her store. They weren’t able to re-order some clothes after they were bought up. They were also missing some Christmas decorations and gift bags.
But, she managed to figure out a backup, at least for those gift bags.
She’s said she’s seen a lot of last-minute shoppers. Most of them, in her experience, seem to be husbands and dads that hadn’t started on any of their lists yet.
“Pretty busy, lots of husbands, lots of dads coming in for last minute. When you ask if they’re almost done, they’re like, ‘no, I just got started.’ Alright,” Cox said.
But, she said, cookies are a perfect gift when it’s crunch time.
They have plenty to choose from.
“Our top-selling cookie has been the Key Lime Cooler for over 30 years straight. So that’s definitely the one to get for sure. And this week, we’ve sold out of our Gingersnaps already. Those are already a big seller during the holidays,” Cox said.
Customers have figured out how to handle the supply chain issue as well. The good part about shopping in person is that there’s always something that could be a good backup gift.
Even the kids know that.
“I spent the day looking for a toy store to buy a fake heart and we couldn’t find it, so we bought drinks, Funions and Crocs,” Parrott said.
When in doubt, store managers like Cox or other employees will be able to help find that perfect gift, and friends and family won’t be able to tell you just bought it a day or two before.