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.”
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.
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.
These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.