Word Of Advice: Don't Buy Your Gifts At A Drug Store

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s not just the big department stores that are packed with holiday shoppers. Lots of alternative places are chock-a-block as well.

But as CBS 2’s Magee Hickey reports, there are some places to avoid.

Avoiding the big department stores doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding the Christmas crush of holiday shoppers. At the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair on Wednesday shoppers were cheek to jowl and on a mission to find something unique that was made locally.

Grand Central shopper Allan Reznick showed Hickey some Swarovski crystals not made in Brooklyn and real cashmere.

Others like the idea of handicrafts made in South Africa.

“If anything can help out, buying something beautiful here. I was looking at these napkin rings,” shopper Jennifer Tarlton said.

Hickey said she couldn’t resist the Andean collection, helping poverty-stricken artisans from Ecuador.

“And every time I wear them I will think of the people I am helping,” a shopper said.

So with just two shopping days to go 56 percent of all Americans have finished their holiday shopping, but 20 percent still haven’t even started.

Of those procrastinators, 43 percent plan to take the easy way out with a gift card. Another 39 percent will buy gifts at a drug store, while 9 percent will purchase from street vendors and a small sliver, 1 percent, will hit a vending machine.

When asked if it would make her mad to know she got a gift from a vending machine, Amanda Iger said, “Depends on who it came from. But it might make me a little mad.”

Clearly a lot of procrastinators buy last-minute gifts at a drug store, but recipients aren’t always thrilled.

“My husband once got me a Whitman’s sampler and I thought it was the worst gift ever. I said what did you do, get me the first thing you saw? And he said, no, the first thing I saw was a neck brace,” shopper Sue Wagner said.

So maybe avoid the drug stores and vending machines as the deadline looms.

And what do you do if you really can’t manage to buy all your gifts in time? Half of those surveyed said they would just give their intended a big IOU, 36 percent said they’d pretend it didn’t happen and 8 percent would avoid the person altogether.

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