Last-minute shopping in Vallejo jibes with regional study
Dec 25, 2012 (Menafn - Times-Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Robin Boyd of Vallejo said she doesn't know why she waits untill the last minute to do her Christmas shopping, but it's inevitable, putting her squarely in the Bay Area majority, a new survey shows.
The Times-Herald caught up to Boyd at Kohl's early Christmas Eve day.
"I always procrastinate, I don't know why," she said. "But, I have two jobs and it's been like this for the past few years."
A new Visa, Inc.'s survey of Solano and the other eight Bay Area counties reveals that residents here tend to do more last-minute shopping than those in the rest of the country, spokesman Jason Alderman said Monday.
"The gist of what we found is that Bay Area folks are leading the nation in terms of procrastinating buying Christmas gifts, with 79 percent still having shopping to do as of last weekend," Alderman said. "Nationally, it's only 73 percent."
The survey also found that 16 percent of respondents nationwide who were still planning on buying gifts hadn't even started as of last weekend. Last year, it was only 13 percent.
"We call them professional procrastinators, and I'm guessing it's more this year because people feel even more busy, cramming more things into our lives," Alderman said. "Some are waiting longer because they can't find the time."
By contrast, in the Midwest, only 69 percent were still scrambling for presents last weekend, he said.
The survey also found that Bay Area people planned to spend an average of 352 between last
weekend and Christmas Day, where nationally that figure is only 304.
"I think it reflects the cost of things in the Bay Area," Alderman said.
Not everyone out shopping on Christmas Eve was doing last-minute gift shopping.
Oscar Aguilar of Vallejo said he finished all that by Dec. 1. He was at Target on Monday for food, he said. But, he said he thinks people will continue spending money for the holidays, even if they don't have it.
"As long as they have credit cards, they're going to spend," he said.
A Vallejo man, "Mike," who asked that his last name not be published, said his last-minute shopping consisted of added wrapping paper, but he admits to being a Christmas shopping procrastinator. He said he thinks people are still being more careful with their spending despite reported economic improvement.
"Everyone I know is cutting way back; getting gifts only for their immediate families, and cards for everyone else," he said.
On the other hand, Denise Williams of Vallejo said she doesn't think people are as worried about the economy as they have been.
"Not when it comes to gift-giving," she said. "Maybe for things they need to take care of for themselves, they may put on hold."
And that jibes with the Visa survey, too, and is essentially the reason for the survey, Alderman said.
"It's socially unacceptable to give a gift after Dec. 25 -- it's a very hard deadline -- so there's panic shopping going on now, and it's a bad choice for managing a budget," Alderman said. "We're trying to help people manage money wisely because no one wins when people over-extend themselves. We saw that during the recession, people spending more than they could pay back."
R. Davis, who said she's in town visiting relatives for the holiday, said she thinks people try to forget their money worries during the holidays.
"People are shopping; whether they have money is another thing," she said. "I think they're being optimistic."
Alderman agreed that "often in the waning days people throw out their budget so as not to be seen as a Grinch. But, that's what budgets are about, the idea is finding a balance. None of your loved ones wants you to go into debt on their behalf."
Contact staff writer Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at Rachelvth.
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