With less than 48 hours to go until Christmas, Vince Brown, who was just about to start his holiday shopping, wanted to make one thing clear.
“This is definitely not last minute,” he said mid-morning Friday outside the Kohl’s store in Evans. “Saturday is last minute. That’s when it gets busy.”
Brown was shopping for his fiancee, Sandra Jenkins, his mother, Kattie Brown, and his daughter, Whitney, who turns 17 Saturday.
Two days before Christmas could almost qualify as early for him, he joked.
Less than half of Americans finish their Christmas shopping by mid-December, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
Nearly 37 million people - about 17 percent of Americans - said they hadn’t started their shopping by the second week of the month.
Some retailers are bracing for a late rush with longer-than-normal hours this weekend. Store clerks say they’re preparing for crowds.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Quanisha Miles, who works at the guest services counter at the Evans Target. “People come in on Christmas Eve looking for toys we sold out of three weeks ago.”
They’re often looking for this year’s hot items, such as Lalaloopsy and Fijit dolls, or a Kindle Fire.
“If you wait until Dec. 23, chances are, we don’t have them,” she said. “If we do get them, they’re gone, off the shelf, two minutes later.”
Cecilia Long was shopping Friday at Target for her 17-year-old son, Sawyer.
“I didn’t plan to wait this long,” she said, “but it’s not easy shopping for a boy.”
Long describes herself as a “habitually late” holiday shopper.
“I don’t think I bought one thing early this year,” she said from the aisle of remote-controlled airplanes and cars at Target.
“I’ll be up wrapping presents at 3 a.m.,” she said.