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Last-minute shoppers seek final gifts

November 30, 1999|By PEPPER BALLARD

Cars snaked and whizzed from Prime Outlets at Hagerstown to Valley Mall on Saturday as shoppers rushed to get last-minute Christmas presents.

At Prime Outlets, at least one shopper was slowed in her tracks. Sarah Brown wandered aimlessly, hoping the perfect gift for her picky husband simply would fall into her hands.

"He has everything," an exasperated Brown said. "He doesn't need anything else."

Brown, 36, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., said she was getting an early start Saturday. She usually waits until Christmas Eve.

"I'm just a major procrastinator," she said.

Ronita Rupert always finds herself shopping in the last few days before Christmas, she said.

Rupert, 43, of Shippensburg, Pa., said she has missed the Dec. 25 deadline in the past. When that happens, she just holds a New Year's gift exchange, she said with a laugh.

On Saturday, Rupert studied a map of Prime Outlets trying to figure out what to buy her teenage daughter, who, she said, is the hardest to shop for on her list.

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"She has New York taste on a Shippensburg budget," said Rupert, who was shopping with her husband and teenage son.

Like Rupert, Casey Laird likes the sales, but doesn't like the crowds.

Laird, 22, of Waynesboro, Pa., was at Valley Mall on Saturday, but not because she needed to be there.

"I've been done," Laird said. "I'm just getting more."

For others, the Saturday shopping excursion involved more sitting than checking price tags.

Jacob Poffenberger, 68, of Hagerstown, sat on a bench at Valley Mall and watched shoppers shuffle.

"I'm shopping for women," he said with a laugh.

Regina Smith, 42, of Hagerstown, took a break from her shopping while her teenage daughter perused one of her favorite stores.

"I take her to get her own clothes," she said.

Smith, like Carolyn Stull, said teenagers seem to make shopping the hardest.

Stull, 68, of Thurmont, Md., said her two grandsons are at the age where she doesn't know exactly what to buy them.

In Bryan Jones' case, shopping Saturday seemed futile.

He sat on a bench between a Ronald McDonald statue and his cousin.

Jones, 33, of Hagerstown, said he wouldn't comment about why he finds it hard to shop for his wife.

"It's easier to give her cash," he said. "It keeps a happy home."

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