12/20/09 — Last minute hustle, bustle keeps cash registers ringing

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Last minute hustle, bustle keeps cash registers ringing

By Laura Collins
Published in News on December 20, 2009 1:50 AM

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Jim Bloomer, fine jewelry manager at the Belk store inside Berkeley Mall assists a customer with a Christmas purchase Saturday. Many shoppers hit the stores this weekend to wrap up their holiday shopping.

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Ione Kuhns wraps gifts at the WOOF, Welfare Of Our Furry Friends, wrapping station inside the Berkeley Mall.

Randy McNeil will never get those 30 minutes back.

After spending "entirely too much time" smelling different samples of perfume at Belk Department Store in the Berkeley Mall, McNeil said he found one that would make the perfect gift. Unfortunately, it was only one of the first presents he had purchased this holiday season.

"Technically it's a late start because Christmas is only a couple days away, but it's actually earlier than I usually start shopping," he said.

McNeil was one of many people that filled Berkeley Mall Saturday afternoon finishing up -- or starting -- their Christmas lists. A variety of people were there, from a senior citizen speed-walking and talking on her cell phone getting the finals details for the perfect present to the devout dad standing in the corner, holding bags and trying to stay out of the way.

Dawn Eason, of Goldsboro, and her mother were teaming up to get the last of their shopping completed, but said there were some detours along the way.

"We're in pretty good shape," she said. "If we could just stop buying for ourselves, too."

The two were out shopping for Mrs. Eason's children Saturday and said it's a yearly tradition for them to get in some holiday shopping together.

"We're shopping buddies. If you see one of us in the mall, you usually see both of us," she said.

The Goldsboro Mayor's Youth Council manned a gift wrapping table at the mall. By 2 p.m. they were already making a run for more boxes and wrapping paper, one volunteer said. The organization was collecting donations for its scholarship fund and said they've had a steady stream of customers throughout the day.

The mall will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. It will be closed Christmas Day.