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by Tom Tobin

No, not the silver bells on Santa’s sleigh, though those will be heard soon enough. It’s the cash registers — noiseless now, through the gift of technology — of Rochester-area retailers as the holiday shopping season reaches a crescendo.

The parking lots at Eastview Mall in Victor, The Marketplace in Henrietta, The Mall at Greece Ridge, Pittsford Plaza and along upper Monroe Avenue are seas of vehicles this week as shoppers rush to complete their buying before Christmas Day. Or begin it.

Surveys by the National Retail Federation and other analysts of shopping behavior found that two of every three consumers didn’t get serious about completing their holiday purchases until last weekend.

One in five didn’t even start to get into the buying spirit until last Saturday, meaning this week has been something of a mad rush, with crowds of intent shoppers juggling packages, fumbling for car keys in the freezing air, coping with traffic around the malls.

“Last Saturday and Sunday were both big days here,” Eastview marketing director Marie Karasinski said Tuesday. “There was a lot of traffic and that made the retailers very happy, of course. I really think a lot of people didn’t get started until the weekend, thinking that because Christmas is on a Friday this year they’ll have almost a whole week to get it done.”

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