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Last-minute shoppers desperately seeking anything

It’s the eve of the holiday and come 6 p.m. the malls will be shut, their piped-in seasonal music mercifully muted until at least next October.

For those who ignored Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday, and all the other retail hoopla, it will likely come down to this - scouring the aisles of a CVS, Walgreens, or gas station mini-mart in hopes of finding a gift. Shoppers low on options can convince themselves that a box of professional strength teeth-whitening strips makes a perfect present. By 8:15 tonight, even a windshield scraper - dressed with a festive ornament, perhaps - will suddenly pass muster as a thoughtful offering for that special someone with an icy vehicle. And imagine the look on their faces when they unwrap those lottery scratch tickets. You shouldn’t have!

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Tardy shoppers, you know who you are. And so do the businesses that will save you from scorn by keeping their doors open a few extra hours. Each year, drug and convenience stores anticipate the arrival of the desperately seeking anything. Most Walgreens and some CVS Pharmacy stores will let customers in until 10 tonight, certain locations are scheduled to open up again at 9 a.m. tomorrow for uber-procrastinators. (If your household is populated by late-risers, it might be possible to get out and back undetected.)

If you need more floor space to roam, discount emporium Ocean State Job Lot says its stores are keeping the lights on until 7:30 tonight.

We surveyed some of these merchants’ last-minute - and we do mean last minute - holiday gift suggestions to offer a sampling of bailout buys.

Oh, and on the way to register, don’t forget to pick up a roll of picked-over wrapping paper and a bag of generic bows. Nothing says you kind of care quite like a ribbon with an easy-to-affix adhesive backing.

Mark Pothier can be reached at mpothier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @markpothier. Jenn Abelson can be reached at abelson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jennabelson.
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