WITH the nation’s mourning over, people were out shopping with a vengeance yesterday. High noon at Liberty Midlands Mall saw scores of would-be shoppers swirling slowly around the carpark looking intently for an empty bay, while inside swarms of people thronged the aisles. “Sales are way better this year,” said a shop assistant in Poetry, where a pack of test tubes filled with different leaves, tastefully packaged as “The art of Tea”, will set you back R299. The air was heavily aromatic, which could account for scented candles being one of the shop’s top sellers. Manager Sarah Ebrahim said customers “don’t worry about the price” when purchasing one of these candles, which can cost up to R399, while if you’re looking for something especially exotic there are picture frames made of camel bone, costing R150. At Guess, just up the way, a shop assistant who declined to be named confirmed that their sales were also better than last December, and denims and handbags were their top-selling items. The average amount spent on a gift was R800, she said, while gold handbags priced at R1 899 twinkled merrily at husbands who might want to spend a bit more. At Reggies the staff were completely schtum. “We’re not allowed to speak,” said the manager when asked about their popular items. “You have to go through head office.” A grandmother who breezed past in the doll aisle was more vocal. “Monster frikkin’ High,” she groaned at the sight of a wall of ghoulish dolls (R199-R449), part of a range of merchandise, including hair accessories and make-up, related to the Monster High craze. Her family’s debate was whether to buy them for two young relatives. “Simon did say don’t get this sh*t because he can’t stand it,” said Mom. “Yeah, but the kids love it,” replied Gran. “Ugh! No wonder you don’t see Santa any more. He’s scared to death.” At Cape Union Mart a helpful Matthew Muller was happy to discuss popular gifts. “We sell lots of torches. They make quite a good weapon. You can shine them in [criminal’s] eyes,” he said. “Some flash too.” Go-Pro cameras are also selling well and telescopes priced at R800 have been snapped up. When it comes to shopping habits, he confirmed that “women search the store, while men know what they want”. Helpful guests who aren’t cooking the Christmas dinner might want to consider adding a set of palm leaf disposable plates (R60 for a dozen) to their list too.