Black Friday: Amid inflation, NH early bird shoppers combine frenzy for deals with family traditions

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The Fritzes woke up at 4:30 a.m. to be on time for their local Walmart doorbusters. Photo/ Gabi Lozado

Story produced by NH Public Radio, a member of

On Friday, the Fontaine family woke up at 4 a.m. to ensure they could be first in line to get into the Hooksett Target. They sang Christmas carols on their drive-in – the only music allowed in the car.

Every year, the grandmother Didi Fontaine wears a Santa hat, and her 12-year-old granddaughter Eva, who went Black Friday shopping for the first time this year, followed suit.

“I have been doing this for 50 years, and my mother of 85 years old still does it, too,” said Didi Fontaine.

This family rite of passage starts at twelve years old “because you have to be able to walk and make it for 20 hours,” jokes Jennifer Fontaine, Eva’s mom. “[We] are too old to carry bags; now we brought kids.”

April Burnham and her daughter Adisson say they plan to do Black Friday shopping every year from now as a way of bringing them together.

While waiting in a line of about 25 people for the doors to open, they reviewed the plan to grab the pajamas Eva had been looking for.

The Fontaines look happy, but they are also a little worried. Jennifer Fontaine said they usually don’t buy a lot; they like the experience of being up early, but inflation this year may motivate them to buy even less.

“We feel the prices going up,” she said.

Many shoppers were experiencing the same situation. High electricity and grocery prices attracted them to chase Black Friday deals, but many came out empty-handed or without the items they wanted.

“It is not quite like before,” said April Burnham. She went to a local Walmart in Manchester with her 14-year-old daughter Adisson, who was out on her first Black Friday.

“It isn’t how it used to be,” Burnham said.

She was expecting better prices and more people fighting for TVs and game consoles but didn’t find that. The Burnhams only bought a set of lights and a videogame controller that they weren’t sure were on sale. They were on their way to another store to see if they would have better luck elsewhere.

Lines at the Target in Hooksett started to form at 6 a.m. The social experience of shopping in person attracted the Fontaines. They say they missed it in the past years because of COVID and returning felt great.

Alison Fritz and her sisters went to look for arts and crafts toys for this Christmas, but she said some of the items they purchased last year were more expensive this year. At least, they said, they were happy their kids preferred these toys over digital ones.

“That would have been expensive!” Alison Fritz said.

The Fritzes missed going out on Black Friday during the pandemic and were excited about returning to the stores. They said although they were looking for deals, what really brought them out was their memories of doing this as a family.

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About this Author


Gabriela Lozado

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?. She has over 10 years of reporting experience and is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who specializes in covering social issues. Her documentary, “El Ultimo Hielero Del Chimborazo” (The Last Iceman of Chimborazo) and La Marea, are the films she is most proud of. She holds an MFA in filmmaking from the New York Film Academy.