BURLINGTON — Traffic along Burlington Boulevard and checkout lines in stores across town were congested Saturday as thousands of people finished up their Christmas shopping.
Stores were filled to the brim with shoppers, as were the parking lots. From Fred Meyer to Best Buy, shoppers waited for parking spots, shopping carts and in checkout lines that extended well into aisles.
“There’s no carts in there anymore. People are waiting on carts,” said Derek Jonasson, 29, of Burlington, who was waiting for his father in the bed of his pickup truck in the Fred Meyer parking lot. He completed his Christmas shopping earlier this week, but came back to pick up some wrapping paper and lunch.
All checkout lanes have been open for the last two days in anticipation of the high volume of customers at Fred Meyer, according to assistant manager Alina Putnam.
Store manager Bill Pelan said the last couple of days have been busier than in years past. Pelan has worked for Fred Meyer for over 32 years, including the past year and a half in Burlington.
“It’s [been] a little heavier the last couple of days,” Pelan said. “Everyone’s in a good mood though, so it’s been flowing nicely.”
Some of the top selling items have been instant pot pressure cookers, Legos, Barbies and board games, Pelan said.
Jeannie Marin, 48, of Anacortes came to Fred Meyer looking for last-minute stocking stuffers and to get some groceries for dinner.
“[I’ve got] a lot of things I wouldn’t normally buy,” Marin said. “Stocking stuffers, wrapping paper. You can’t leave empty handed.”
Michael Hoeppner, 61, of Conway made the trip Saturday mostly to pick up a prime rib for his Christmas dinner. He said that if he notices someone is unable to pay for all their items at the checkout lines, he’ll offer to pay.
That’s just something you do, he said.
“You got to. We’ve made enough and it’s time to give back,” said Hoeppner, who has worked at Boeing for over 30 years and will retire in three months.
The holidays are also a busy time for electronics. Burlington Best Buy spokesperson Boua Xiong said there have been holiday shoppers since as early as September and that the store’s deals have kept people coming back.
Some of the big ticket items for electronics have been fairly diverse, according to Xiong, from new smart home technology, such as Google Home, to Apple watches and wireless headphones.
Vince Espinoza, 41, and Patty Espinoza, 36, came to Best Buy looking for deals on television mounts. Although they finished their shopping earlier in December, they enjoy going out to see if there are any deals that they missed.
Their 5-year-old daughter, Charlize Espinoza, is hoping that Santa brings her a “robo-horse.”
“She’s been asking for one forever. It’s kind of like a real puppy because they eat,” Patty said.