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"Forgot to get a gift? Try the airport"


 
Monday, December 25, 2006

Forgot to get a gift? Try the airport 
PDX shopping oasis - The 26 retail stores are required to be open, and the
salespeople look forward to Christmas Day customers 
BY JONATHAN BRINCKMAN 
The Oregonian


Forget to buy a Christmas present for somebody key? Being engulfed by a
rising wave of panic? Wondering if you can find the perfect gift for the
person you love most at the nearest Plaid Pantry? 

Relax. You're not doomed. You can shop at Portland International Airport,
where every day is a business day. 

By contract with the Port of Portland, the 26 retail stores at Portland
International Airport are required to be open seven days a week, 52 weeks a
year. 

Even better, for Christmas procrastinators: the 12 stores in the central
terminal -- including Brookstone, Powell's and The Real Mother Goose, a
high-end craft shop -- must be open by 6 a.m. That means the truly desperate
can leave home early this morning and be back with a fine present by
breakfast -- perhaps before anyone else is out of bed. 

Store employees who will be working today said last week that they look
forward to working the day that most people would rather spend at home. 

First, there's the pay -- many said they will get time-and-a-half, extra
money for the holidays. 

Second, there's the fact that many of the stores will buy their employees a
Christmas lunch, consolation for being away from family. 

Then there's the energy. 

"Everyone's in a good mood, we have fun," said Judi Barger, a sales
associate at the Spirit of the Red Horse, a Native American gift shop. "The
planes never stop, and neither do we." 

William Flesher, a sales associate at Brookstone, a store filled with
distinctive consumer products, plans to go to bed early Christmas Eve so he
can get up by 4 a.m. and get to the store by 5:30 a.m. 

"There'll be a few last-minute shoppers," Flesher predicted. "We'll be here
for them." 

At The Real Mother Goose, merchandise ranges from $10 wooden boxes to a
$5,498 bracelet by Charles Deeks of Eugene. The bracelet, of engraved
sterling silver and 18-karat gold, includes five Burmese rubies. 

"It beats Walgreens," said Monica Padden, a sales associate there. 

Padden is ready. "I've been expecting this for a couple of months now," she
said. "We have our own little party." 

Stephanie Lusk, a sales associate at Powell's, is excited about the prospect
of helping people find last-minute gifts. 

Why? "People are in their magic orbits."

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