Last-minute Thanksgiving shoppers brace for busy stores

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Shoppers are filling up their grocery bags with Thanksgiving meal essentials, preparing for a marathon of cooking ahead as the holiday quickly approaches.

Josie Gabriel was last-minute shopping at a Foodland Farms location; his mother, Ngaire Gabriel, is visiting him from Samoa after spending the COVID pandemic apart.

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“I actually want to do more, but she said no,” Josie Gabriel said. “We’ll do turkey, ham; all of the classics like your green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, stuffing with sausage in there, just everything.”

Grocery stores, like Foodland, began locking in turkey orders and other items since spring 2021, knowing supply chains have been impacted by COVID-19. This allowed shoppers to find what they need on the shelves — but maybe at a higher price — and it is even more noticeable for some who are visiting from out of state.

The Retail Merchants of Hawaii President Tina Yamaki said it is costing stores more to ship items from the mainland and between neighbor islands.

Yamaki said, “Anytime you go grocery shopping and you compare to what it was last year, and just even a few months ago, you can see the grocery bill has slowly crept up some.” 

Some retailers, like Walmart and Target, will be closed for Thanksgiving day; shoppers should expect a rush Wednesday evening.

For 2021, retailers advised shoppers to get shopping done earlier to avoid lines and make sure the items needed are still available.

“My mom was telling me for, like, two weeks before, look for turkeys, look for turkeys,” added Courtney Inter, a Hawaii resident. “So, yeah, we did get ours early.”

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In 2021, families will be able to gather more freely than in 2020. Ngaire Gabriel is thankful to spend the holiday with her son.

Ngaire Gabriel said, “So, so happy I can’t explain it, yea I am so happy to be able to be with him and spend Thanksgiving with him this year.”

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