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Shoppers scour stores

December 23, 2000

Shoppers scour stores



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer


Jennifer Starkey's last-minute Christmas quest for Sock'em Bopper inflatable boxing gloves took her to numerous Hagerstown area stores Saturday.

The Hagerstown resident was about to lose hope after leaving Toys 'R Us near Valley Mall with a bagful of wrapping paper but her main mission unfulfilled.

"We've been looking for the Sock'em Boppers everywhere. The stores are all out," Starkey said. "I'm going to Kay-Bee Toys next, but I was trying to avoid the mall at all costs."

Starkey joined a last-minute wave of Christmas shoppers scouring area retail stores two days before Christmas for everything from stocking stuffers to diamonds.

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Many stores boasted extended hours to meet these consumers' needs.

Keedysville residents Deb and Bruce Carriere said it's an annual tradition to wait until just before the holiday to make some major purchases. On Saturday, they filled their Toys 'R Us shopping cart with gifts for their grandchildren.

Peggy Hayzlett, of Hagerstown, found a tricycle for her grandson at the toy store and was headed to nearby Michael's Arts & Crafts for a children's rocking chair, she said.

"And that's it. I'm done," Hayzlett said. "Then I'm going to go home and cook."

At Valley Mall in Halfway, Jeff Snyder, of Hagerstown, took a bench break from stocking stuffer shopping while Kelly Harless, of Martinsburg, W.Va., was in go-mode to find gifts for his wife.

Harless started shopping for his spouse on Saturday, and didn't rule out picking up a few things for himself- after he left the jewelry counter, he said.

Dale Boward, of Hagerstown, said his mother was wrapping gifts at the mall so he was charged with completing her Christmas shopping. He brought his aunt, Wanda Baker, along for help.

"She found everything," Boward said. "I can't match colors."

To overcome the challenge of finding the perfect last-minute gift, some shoppers - mostly men - opted for goodie-filled gift sets at Bath and Body Works in the mall, store manager Teresa Parker said.

Diamond earrings were the gift of choice Saturday for male shoppers at King's Jewelry in Valley Mall, store employee Jennifer Nowak said.

Also at the mall, some kids queued up to see Santa while other youngsters picked up presents for their parents.

Hagerstown resident Sean Livingston brought his children, Virginia, 6, and Aaron, 4, to the mall to go shopping for their mother, he said.

"It's fine," Livingston said. "It's actually not too bad this year.

Some area merchants said Saturday was busy but couldn't hold a Christmas candle to this year's Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - retail rush.

"It's busy, but not that busy," Kay-Bee Toys Store Manager Vernon Campbell said.

Saturday sales were "phenomenal" at Toys 'R Us, but it was a different type of shopping day than the expected-to-be-hectic Black Friday, Store Director Erin White said.

Most toy store shoppers were picking up stocking stuffers and one or two last-minute items, White said.

But Dalton Rennhack was test-driving a toy on his Christmas wish list.

"This is cool," said the 4-year-old from Fayetteville, Pa., as he played on a large plastic back-hoe while his parents, Dawn and Duwayne Rennhack, tried to finish their shopping while juggling Dalton's two younger siblings.

"This is definitely a challenge," Dawn Rennhack said.

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