A serious and perhaps panicky stream of men are expected to come out and shop in the last few days before Christmas, according to several Manhattan merchants.
Not so much.
This has to be considered a very unscientific study, but store employees at Manhattan Town Center said it’s their most notable observation in this final stretch before the holiday.
The gender gap was even more obvious on Saturday night, since only the brave or desperate ventured out as the first full day of winter turned ugly.
The National Weather Service reported that nearly 5 inches of snow fell on the Manhattan area prior to 10 p.m., with another possible 5 inches forecast by morning.
It should have been enough to keep the mall deserted – but an almost entirely male contingent of lonely shoppers struggled through the facility, even as snow was burying cars outside.
“Stressed out men – they get their wives presents at the last minute, because they’ve waited 364 days,” said Sacanna Spencer, an associate at Harris Jewelry.
Angie Streeter, co-owner of Streeter Family Business, agreed with the last-minute-man theory.
Streeter, who owns Baskin Robbins, Kansas Kollections, and Vista Drive In, was set up at the mall with gift-wrapping services to help some people out – specifically hurry-up customers.
What was Streeter’s first observation about late shoppers?
Yep, the last-minute guys.
“The percentage of men goes up the closer we get to Christmas, especially out here at the gift wrap, because they just don’t want to deal with it,” Streeter said. “It’s the last several days before Christmas that you see men making big purchases.
“Women are in and just out, buying stocking stuffers and just little fill-ins.”
Giving an estimated ratio, Streeter said the shopping disparity between the sexes was about 2 to 1 in the final run-up toward Christmas.
Meanwhile, a group of three men – members of the same family – were wandering around the mall on a snowy Saturday evening, checking out stores for some sort of gift ideas.
The father said that he’s stumped for inspiration. He needs a gift for his son, who is deploying to Afghanistan after Christmas.
“I can’t figure out what to get him. I’ve been watching. That’s why we’re running around doing things to try to get an idea,” the father said.
As for advice from holiday workers to last minute shoppers, whether men or women, the message was clear.
“Don’t do it,” Spencer said. “Plan ahead.”
“Lower your expectations,” Streeter suggested. “Your chances of finding exactly what you want go down.”