5 Places To Do Last-Second Shopping

Merry Christmas! Finished shopping yet? If the answer is no, relax. You’ve still got time. And you’re in good company. Remember, after Scrooge got scared straight, he had to do all of his shopping on Christmas, and managed to pull it off. And according to one recent poll, 4% of consumers don’t plan on finishing their shopping until after Christmas. Compared to them, you’re an early bird. Just give these stores a try, and you can avoid showing up empty-handed — or worse, bearing gift cards.

1. Supermarkets.
Plenty of major chains are open at least part of the day today, and you should be able to scrape together some decent gifts, ranging from the obvious (food baskets, baked goods, booze) to the unexpected (we’ve seen LCD TVs, high-end coffee-makers and even furniture in supermarkets).


(Photo: Morton Fox)

2. Drug Stores.
CVS, Walgreens and others have positioned themselves as the desperation play of choice, by stocking toys, electronics, perfumes, and, of course, greeting cards and wrapping paper. This year, Walgreens even put out its own gift guide, recommending everything from digital cameras to — gasp — Snuggies.

3. Convenience Stores.
Whether it’s 7-Eleven, Wawa or the nameless gas-station pit stop, you can find the perfect gift for that special someone — if that someone is into extra-large soft drinks, motor oil or beef jerky, that is.

4. Redbox.
By now, pickings may be slim, but the ubiquitous rental kiosks never close (though some are located inside of stores that do), and the company’s terms of use state that after you’ve kept a DVD long enough to incur its maximum charge, it’s “yours to keep.” Unfortunately, that charge works out to a hefty $25 per disc. But, hey, when you’re this desperate, it might be worth it.

antigiftsmall.jpg5. Just Give Cash.
You may have some of this around the house. And if you don’t, we trust you to track down a nearby ATM. Print a Consumerist Anti-Gift Card to go with it, and you’re all set!


Edit Your Comment

  1. BluePlastic says:

    A used movie for $25? Awgh! I hope nobody has to resort to that! Merry Christmas everybody!

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      If you must resort to that, Redbox will usually let you purchase movies that have been out a few weeks for about $7-8 IIRC. About the same as the used movies elsewhere, though you won’t get the original box, cover art, etc. Just make sure you tell the recipient NOT to return it at that point since it’s already paid in full.

      Granted, it would still be a somewhat tacky gift, one which said sorry, I really don’t know you that well so I didn’t know what to get. Nor did I want to blow a bunch of money on your behalf. But it’d still be much, much better than gifting someone a Twinkie and a Slim Jim.

      • BluePlastic says:

        That would sure be better than the $25 mentioned in the article and at least a somewhat decent gift, though it still screams “last minute,” I guess. I think at that point it would be better to just get a gift basket of food from the grocery store or something like that. I didn’t know you could outright purchase from Redbox.

        • RandomHookup says:

          In some states (Mass., for example), groceries stores can’t open today.

          • BluePlastic says:

            Can’t as in not allowed? Turns out our grocery stores are closed today but I believe it’s because they want to be, not because they HAVE to be. There might be something at Walgreen’s, although it’s probably pretty picked over. Okay, just give money.

  2. Japheaux says:

    If you are this point, just forget about it. Better yet, make an online donation to a desrving charity in the original recipient’s name.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  3. 2 replies says:

    #5 should be first on the list because if someone is waiting till the last second to do Christmas shopping, then their judgment is already in question. Their choice of last second gifts are going to be questionable as well, and they should be urged to just give cash.

  4. Coles_Law says:

    Scott Adams’ take on giving cash:


    I laughed.

  5. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had to do this but Walgreens is full of stuff. Also, tomorrow at Walmart the boxed sets (mugs, barbecue stuff, etc.) that pop up at Christmas go on sale for half price. Woo! If you get several of those that don’t have any food in them, you can stash them for emergency gifts for next year. Or enjoy them yourself. :)

    Merry Christmas! Everyone have a safe and happy day!

  6. Hoss says:

    If you’ve got a crazy aunt, the Susan Boyle download is $3.99 today at Amazon

  7. nodaybuttoday says:

    I’d also like to add to the list with movie theaters. Most are open today and you can get gift certificates.

  8. Kishi says:

    It was a running family joke that, every so often, my dad would give me a bag of jerky wrapped in a 7-11 bag for my birthday or Christmas.

  9. The Cynical Librarian says:

    7 Eleven wouldn’t be a terrible choice, as they have a small, but decent selection of video games and related gift cards. Of course if you’re not buying for someone that would appeal to, I guess you can always give them cigarettes and chocolate milk.