Last minute shoppers hit the stores as Christmas Day nears in East Bay

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) -- Five days to go until Christmas, and if you haven't bought online, it probably means a trip to the store to buy those last minute holiday gifts. ABC7 News went to an East Bay Walmart to see what it's like.

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We ran into Karen Morgan at the store on Hesperian Boulevard in San Leandro. "I am a last minute shopper. I'm looking for something for my grandkids right now," she said.

But, being a last minute shopper means you're definitely not alone. Shopper Harrice Taylor said, "Oh god the lines. The lines are going to be crazy"

Of course, not everyone thinks a crowded department store is a bad thing.

Phillip Waldrop, the manager of a San Leandro Walmart said, "It's picking up. These last few days are going to be pretty intense. We'll do well over $350,000 each day for the last few days."

Shoppers we talked with chose one of two simple reasons for hitting the stores late. Some people wait until the last minute because they are procrastinators. Others do the bulk of their shopping online and pick-up odds and ends at the store.

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Ramon Osborne of Oakland actually likes the feel of store shopping and says he shops late so the kids won't find out.

"I kind of look around and see what they want and come back alone and pick it up for them"

On the other hand, Laura O'Reilly is a true 21st-century shopper. "I'd rather do Amazon Prime," she said when asked if she liked coming to the stores.

Sales at the San Leandro Walmart are up eight percent over December of last year, even though shoppers say it doesn't feel as crowded as in years past.

If there's one piece of advice from the professionals -- it's shop early.

"We'll do the bulk of our sales between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.," said Waldrop.

And if you're stuck about what to buy, do what the professionals do.

We overheard a checker telling a customer: "Whoever I didn't find anything for I just did gift cards."

And last but certainly not least, remember who Christmas is for. Merry Christmas kids!

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