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Square Shops, Customers Feel Holiday Crunch

By Sandhya R. Rao

Holiday shopping seemed to reach frenzied heights in the Square this weekend, as shoppers elbowed each other in search of the "perfect" holiday gifts.

Students doing last-minute shopping before their vacations and hordes of gift-seekers formed long lies inside stores and gathered in large numbers to watch street performances outdoors.

"I haven't seen it this crowded ever," said shopper Joann Milas on Saturday. "Some [stores] are very claustrophobic."

Despite the massive influx of lastminute shoppers, most workers and customers alike did not mind the long lines and jostling herds of people in the stores.

"It's just a little crazy, that's all," said shopper David F. Keefe. "It's a great time of year, it really is."

Shoppers interviewed Saturday agreed that Crate & Barrel and Urban Outfitters were the busiest stores in the Square.

"Don't even go near Crate & Barrel, it's a madhouse," said shopper Karen B. Bisgeier, a first-year Business School student.

"I love working under stress, there's so much to do," said Eric W. Underwood, an Urban Outfitters employee. "Every-one is generally nice and polite, but some do get out of hand and have an attitude."

One woman who "got out of hand" on Friday, Underwood recalled, asked him to beat up "Dickson" of Dickson Brothers Hardware because the store lost the $600 gift she gave it to send to her son.

According to Underwood, the same woman comes in every year and "does the same thing."

The hottest items people were buying this weekend, according to shopper Christopher Bergson-Rosen, were compact discs and knitted gloves.

But shopper Sabrina Coroette '94 said, "I'm waiting for the last minute, so I'm buying whatever catches my eye first."

Some shoppers expressed disappointment at the lack of holiday spirit in the stores.

"It doesn't really feel like the Christmasseason to me," Bergson-Rosen said, criticizing thelack of holiday music in the stores.

Bisgeier also displayed vehement hostility tothe grunge music playing in Urban Outfitters--"Ihate grunge," she said--but she still felt theholiday spirit. "There's a warm feeling in theair," she said. "It definitely feels likeChristmas."

Those hoping to evade the holiday madnessbraved the cold to watch side shows and streetperformers.

Bisgeier suggested stopping by the puppet showheld in memory of Frank Zappa, where shoppers canadopt an orphan from any country in the world.Also, magicians and Christmas carolers attractedflocks of onlookers.

Michael P. Grabtree, a worker at the HolidayCraft Fair said, "In a nutshell: It's exciting,it's fun, it's chaotic, it's busy, it's great.It's fun to watch [shoppers] push and shove, too.

"It doesn't really feel like the Christmasseason to me," Bergson-Rosen said, criticizing thelack of holiday music in the stores.

Bisgeier also displayed vehement hostility tothe grunge music playing in Urban Outfitters--"Ihate grunge," she said--but she still felt theholiday spirit. "There's a warm feeling in theair," she said. "It definitely feels likeChristmas."

Those hoping to evade the holiday madnessbraved the cold to watch side shows and streetperformers.

Bisgeier suggested stopping by the puppet showheld in memory of Frank Zappa, where shoppers canadopt an orphan from any country in the world.Also, magicians and Christmas carolers attractedflocks of onlookers.

Michael P. Grabtree, a worker at the HolidayCraft Fair said, "In a nutshell: It's exciting,it's fun, it's chaotic, it's busy, it's great.It's fun to watch [shoppers] push and shove, too.

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