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Holiday shoppers swarm mall

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Folks head in all directions while shopping at the Mall of Georgia.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Folks head in all directions while shopping at the Mall of Georgia.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Visitors at the Mall of Georgia in Buford walk the mall, possibly searching for the last minute Christmas gift.

BUFORD -- Every last gift was scratched off her list last week. Every cousin, aunt, niece, nephew, uncle and in-law accounted for. But last night something dawned on her, and Samantha Hart remembered one more thing she forgot to buy.

And then another thing, and another thing. Before she knew it, there was a whole new list of gifts she needed to purchase ... three days before Christmas.

"I knew it was going to come down to this," Hart huffed, standing outside the Old Navy store. "I always forget somebody's present and have to scramble. It never fails."

Like Hart, shoppers from all over the area swarmed the Mall of Georgia Thursday afternoon in search of that hard-to-find toy, that discounted pair of shoes or even a parking spot at the crowded shopping complex.

"I have never seen it this busy," said Jamie Hayes of Snellville as he circled the JCPenney lot in a minivan, eyes narrowed at the prospect of brake lights and a car backing out.

"But then again," Hayes said, "I've never waited so late to do my Christmas shopping."

Hayes likely could take a lesson from veteran last-minute holiday shoppers like Sabrina Green of Lawrenceville.

"Are you kidding?" Green asked, eyebrows raised. "This isn't that bad at all. You should have seen it last Christmas. This is nothing."

Green came out to buy gifts for her son. And what did she buy?

"I can't tell you that," she laughed. "He's old enough to read this. Wait, when's this coming out in the paper?"

Hart too declined to comment on her gifts.

"Santa Claus is taking care of my daughter's gifts," she said. "Santa needs to plan better for this next year though. He needs to get all his ducks in a row before Dec. 22."