Force Protection sold: $360 million deal may be completed today

Force Protection workers seal metal frame parts on one of their armored combat vehicles, which will be shipped overseas.

As of Tuesday morning, one in five men had not started holiday shopping, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation.

Am I shocked? No.

Just yesterday my good friend called to ask what he should buy his sister for Christmas. And his dad. And his nephew. And his best friend.

To the 20 percent of men (and nearly 14 percent of women) out there who haven't bought the first present, I'd like to tell you that this behavior is just as insane as it is unacceptable — but I won't.

You don't have time to listen to me lecture. With only five shopping days until Christmas, you don't even have time to sleep. What you need is an action plan.

Unfortunately, it's too late to do any of your shopping online, unless you want to pay more for overnight shipping than you spend on the gifts themselves.

You can, however, still take advantage of the wonderful World Wide Web. Almost every store has a Web site these days, so all you have to do is search for gifts online and then go to the store to pick them up.

Do not, for any reason, walk into a store expecting to peruse the aisles until the perfect gift jumps into your cart.

If I were you, I would try to get all of my shopping done in one place. I usually don't like to do this because I like my gifts to be unique and a true reflection of my feelings toward the person I'm buying for, but that's a luxury you forfeited long ago.

In this case, let me direct you to the Web sites for Northwoods Mall and Citadel Mall that just might save Christmas — yours anyway: and

The sites — run by California-based NearbyNow Inc. and co-sponsored by the malls' owner and management company, CBL & Associates Properties Inc. — allow you to search more than 600,000 products and hundreds of sale items within the North Charleston and West Ashley shopping centers. When you find an item you want, you can check its availability and even put it on hold at the store until you pick it up.

I was skeptical at first, but after browsing and interacting with the Web site for the better part of an hour, I'm amazed. There's also a way for you to use your mobile phone to locate items at the malls' stores.

Just stick to the Web sites for now. If you start today, you might just finish shopping before it's time to put out cookies and milk for Santa.