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Last-minute shoppers find they aren't alone at the mall

Last-minute shoppers make their way around Roosevelt Field

Last-minute shoppers make their way around Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City on Monday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Joe Payne's shopping trip to Roosevelt Field Mall on Christmas Eve morning had an edge of urgency.

"I've got to save my marriage," the Wantagh resident said with a twinkle in his eye as he waited in a line to enter a jewelry store.

Payne, 70, said he was looking for earrings for his wife and that he hoped to beat the crowd of other last-minute shoppers by getting to the mall early.

He said he had bought some cookbooks and sweaters online, but he wanted to see jewelry in person.

"Happy wife, happy life," he said.

Payne is far from alone in making last-minute Christmas shopping trips.

A nationwide survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics found that 7 percent of shoppers said they would still be shopping on Christmas Eve and 4 percent said their final gifts would be bought after Christmas.

The survey found 53 percent of consumers already had bought clothing as gifts; 38 percent gift cards; 37 percent toys; 32 percent video games, books, and movies; 24 percent food or candy, and 23 percent electronics or computer accessories.

Also making the rounds at Roosevelt Field was Taina Altinma  of Freeport.

"I'm a procrastinator," said the 25-year-old.

Altinma said she came to the mall at 7:30 and was buying for "everybody."

She said that online shopping doesn't suit her because she doesn't like to waiting for deliveries.

At the mall, Altinma said, she can view items and pick them up on a "whim."

"I'm always last minute," she said. "That's just me."

Also trying to beat the late-day crowd at the mall was Dana Brustmeyer, 32, of Richmond Hill, Queens. 

She came to the mall at 7 a.m. along with her 14-month-old daughter, Layla, and husband, Bruce Brustmeyer, 33.

Dana Brustmeyer said she shopped online and Monday was her third mall excursion of the season.

"You always think you're ready for the holiday season and you're never prepared," she said.

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