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Dickinson's last-minute shoppers add to holiday spending; face emptying store shelves

A last-minute shopper walks past a window display in downtown Chicago on Saturday. As the clock counts down to Christmas Day, retailers have begun a big push to snare procrastinating shoppers searching frantically for last-minute gifts and hoping for final-weekend deals.

Shoppers were out and about to get in last minute shopping for Christmas gifts, food and decorations Saturday evening. Every year people flock to stores before they close for the holiday, hoping to get that final gift, but there are different feelings about the frenzy.

"It's too stressful, but I don't know why I do it all the time," said Sandra Taylor of Rapid City, S.D. "I still have some to get because we are doing Christmas next week with my other daughter who lives across the state."

Sandra said she does it every year, like many in the U.S. Last minute shoppers will help top off an expected $469.1 billion spent on gifts for the holidays.

Sherry Schmeling of Beach said she likes the rush of shopping in the last days before Christmas, but Jeff Schemling, also of Beach, said it is too stressful.

"There's too much going on, and there are too many people," he said. "I get too nervous around too many people."

Sherry shopped in Bismarck on Friday and again on Saturday in Dickinson to get gifts for her family, adding she got some good discounts.

While there may be some discounts for late shoppers, some found that the items on their lists were gone from the shelves.

"We were shopping to make gingerbread houses," Dickinson resident Jeanette Fischer said. "They were supposed to have kits (at Walmart), and they didn't have them."

Jeanette said she had to improvise by buying separate ingredients to make a house from scratch.

Jeanette and Sandra think people may wait until the last minute because they get caught up in shopping.

"It just goes so fast, and everybody scrutinizes," Jeanette said. "Then you add a little extra because there is still time."

Alan Fischer, Jeanette's husband, said he waits until the last minute because he is busy at work. He added that weather may have played a factor.

"It was so nice this year," he said. "If it was colder, they probably wouldn't be out."

Sandra said she didn't notice any discounts for shopping last minute. She said it is harder to find gifts.

"Everything is so picked over," she said.

Jeff noticed some shelves at stores were not fully stocked. He said the added population from an oil boom in western North Dakota may have a part to play in it.

"With the economics here, they have a hard time keeping things stocked because there are so many people around," he said. "You don't know if everything is going to be here because there is such an influx of people."

Sherry said things may get picked over, but she still has fun doing it.

"You take that chance of not getting what you want, but I love it," she said.

Jeanette said people should not wait until the last minute to do their shopping, and Sherry agreed.

"I would rather have it done early and then just come out and watch everybody be frantic," she said. "That's the best part."