Shoppers scrambling for last minute gifts

FRESNO, California

There are still some shoppers out doing their Christmas shopping at stores like Macy's and JC Penny which are open until midnight. But earlier Friday evening, the parking lot was full.

Holiday shoppers packed the Fashion Fair Mall in Northeast Fresno as they scrambled to find last-minute gifts for their loved ones.

Daniella Pavelich said, "I actually tried to start early this year but it ended up still going until the day before, obviously Christmas Eve."

Pavelich found it a challenge maneuvering through the crowds with her baby girl. "I hate, it. It gives me a headache haha, especially with her, it's just hard because there's so many people and it's hard to get through lines."

But other shoppers seemed to enjoy the mad holiday rush.

Action News asked, "Why did you decide to wait to the last minute?"

Karen Col-Hamm replied, "Because I love all the people, the decorations. I'm a New Yorker, so we kind of thrive on this action."

It was a bigger mess outside the mall as cars tried to get in and out of the parking lot.

A holiday shopper told Action News, "It's crazy I'm not going to find no parking lot now."

Mall employees directed traffic trying to move cars through as quickly as possible. Most entrances off of Shaw Avenue were closed - signs redirected drivers to enter the mall from Fresno and First Streets.

Michael Strle said, "The whole goal is to get people in, get them out and with the least amount of resistance and least amount of frustration and road rage."

Once out of the traffic at the mall, drivers found more congestion on the highway, with many travelers already on the road for Christmas.

Frankie Delgado said, "It just picked up once I hit Fresno, it got a little intense."

Delgado of Hollywood was on his way to see family in Merced when his left rear tire blew out. "I was just driving on the freeway and there was some foreign object in the middle of the road and I'm assuming it hit my car."

Delgado thought the blow out would alter his Christmas plans. "So I got to get home, I've got no choice, so if Santa's out there maybe he can pick me up and get me where I need to be."

Luckily, a Good Samaritan helped change his tire so he could be on his way. And Delgado should be with his family by now. As for shoppers, they will have one more day to pick out gifts for all those on their Christmas list. The mall will open Saturday morning at 6am and close at 6pm in the evening.

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