WARNER ROBINS -- At 8:45 a.m. on Christmas Eve, radio host Tom Joyner delivered this message:
“If it ain’t already done, it ain’t getting done,” he said. “Don’t go to the mall today.”
But it was too late. The parking lot at the Galleria in Centerville was already packed. Vehicles were already on the road. Residents had thrown on their most suitable errand clothes for a last-minute dash to the stores.
“I usually forget that one thing, and have to run back out to the store,” said Chantelle Sams, of Fort Valley.
Sams had forgotten pie crust and a gift bag this year. In years past, she’s had to wade through crowds on her last-minute store run, but to her pleasure, Target was a breeze. People hopped out of the vehicles and returned almost immediately with shopping bags.
“I was really surprised,” she said.
Not everyone out Saturday were grabbing odds and ends. Some were shopping for those all-important Christmas morning gifts.
Wylene Rose, of Warner Robins, was in Target to finish her Christmas shopping, which didn’t begin until Thursday.
“I work, I have five kids,” she said. “It’s always last-minute.”
Rose said her children want certain things but are happy with any gifts, so she’s not so pressured to make sure to get a specific gift early. She visited Wal-Mart on Thursday, Toys R Us on Friday and finished at Target on Saturday morning.
She said she hit the stores with a full paycheck, which also allowed for the quick shopping. Other shoppers also explained funding Christmas was the reason for the Saturday trip to the stores.
“I had to get my money together,” said Marco Miles, of Butler, trying with all his might to fit a bicycle for his 5-year-old son into the bed of his truck outside of Toys R Us. His wife waited inside with other toys, he said.
Still, not everyone in the stores Christmas Eve was buying.
Barbara Griffard, of Warner Robins, said she was on a mission to return Lincoln Logs to Toys R Us and Kmart. She’d spent weeks looking for matching sets for her grandsons before finding them and was returning the extra sets.
“I just wanted to bring these back,” she said, adding the ones she was keeping were also more of a bargain.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685