Saturday, December 25, 1999

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
In Waikiki, these two window-shoppers, Mike Kelley
and Art Obester, were festive yesterday in their red antlers.

shoppers crowd
isle malls, stores

The mood at Ala Moana Center
is upbeat, with smiling faces,
music and unfrenzied shoppers

By Eloise Aguiar


Thousands of yuletide procrastinators combed malls and department stores yesterday looking for the perfect gift for the last person on their Christmas list -- and in some cases, for all the people on their list.

At Ala Moana Center, the parking lot was full at noon, but shoppers said stores weren't crowded and they had no trouble finding parking spaces.

Tomorrow may be another story, though, according to Ala Moana security staffers. The day after Christmas is traditionally busy, they said.

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
At Ala Moana Center, last-minute shoppers crowd the mall,
which is sure to be more crowded tomorrow, a
traditionally busy shopping day.

Last-minute shoppers yesterday were surprised at how easy gift-buying could be, but some said they'll change their shopping habits next year.

Most of the people spoken with said work kept them too busy to shop. Bill Baker, who lives in Japan, had another excuse: His wife gave birth 10 days ago.

The Bakers, who came to Hawaii for the birth of their child, had started shopping a week ago and planned to finish by the time the mall closed at 6 p.m. The key, he said, is not to do any comparison shopping.

"We still have five hours to go," said Baker, a computer software salesman. "I think we got it timed just about right. We should be able to wrap it up in time."

Diane Yadao, a hotel assistant manager at Hale Koa, was pleased to be in and out so quickly. She had only a few items to buy, managed to find some of them on sale and was ready to leave by noon.

"It was amazingly slow compared to the other night when it was crazy," Yadao said. "And they're marking things down already."

One man who didn't want his name used admitted he was at the center to purchase gifts for friends who already had given him presents. He was wrapping his purchases outside of Sears with boxes he had bought, saying gift wrapping the store provides would take 45 minutes.

The atmosphere at the center generally was upbeat with smiling faces, holiday music and shoppers who weren't rushing around in a frenzy.

But not everyone was able to finish their Christmas shopping. Tina Ioane had to leave without completing her task because she had to go to work. A student at the University of Hawaii and a working mother, Ioane said she'll have to come back.

"I think I'll wait until after Christmas, save some money," she said.

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