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by John Ewoldt

Ellen Lohse of Buffalo doesn’t have time to shop for Christmas gifts at store after store, ‘Dale upon ‘Dale. Instead, she does a quick in and out, flitting from kiosk to kiosk.

“It’s my shopping strategy,” she said, stopping briefly last week at the Crocs kiosk at Ridgedale before moving on to the See’s Candies kiosk nearby.

And it’s a good strategy for procrastinators who don’t have the time or stamina for holiday shopping but still want distinctive gifts. So to help out those shoppers, I hunted down some interesting, last-minute gifts at kiosks in the halls of six Twin Cities malls — Burnsville Center, Mall of America in Bloomington, Maplewood Mall, Rosedale in Roseville, Ridgedale in Minnetonka and Southdale in Edina. I went in search of the unique and popular — but not too popular. Everyone knows Hickory Farms, for example, so it’s not exactly a novel choice.

The upside of cruising kiosks is hassle-free shopping. The downside is making returns.

Even if you’re not anticipating a return or a defect, ask for contact information and return policies, which are strict at most kiosks. At Cake Towels in Mall of America, for example, exchanges are allowed up to three days after the sale, but there are no refunds.

Read complete article.

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