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Christmas tree lots line strip-malls. Families trek to shopping centers for photos with Santa. Mariah Carey’s“All I Want for Christmas”drowns out the screams of children in department stores. The Christmas season is undoubtedly upon us, and it is not even December yet.
Consumerism is the secret sauce behind this Christmas madness, perhaps most aptly illustrated on retailers’ favorite day of the year, Black Friday. Millions of Americans, coupon books and credit cards in hand, rush to stores to score big-time savings on the day marking the official transition from Thanksgiving to the Christmas season.
In some ways, Black Friday brings out the best in American tradition. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family members (who may have been adversaries at the Thanksgiving dinner table) traverse the holiday crowds in communion. Putting their differences aside, they are united by a common cause and custom.
However, Black Friday does not always foster love and kinship. Every year seems to bring about a variation of the same story: “Black Friday Stampede Leaves Innocent Employee Dead,”or “Brawl Breaks out over Television Set”.Stressed by over-crowding and the “scarcity” of door buster deals, many people lose self-control, return to their aggressively primal instincts, and turn violent towards other shoppers. Some walk away with a black eye; others walk away thousands of dollars short. Ultimately, the “Black Friday Effort” of spending hours in line, navigating crowded stores, and fighting for the most coveted items begs the question: Is all the trouble really worth it?
For most people, the answer to this question is no. While retailers may lose money on heavily discounted items, they often benefit off the irrational thought of consumers. Because door busters are often limited in quantity, many shoppers miss out, but are nonetheless swept up by the Black Friday hype. They feel obligated to buy something, regardless of whether it is heavily discounted. Furthermore, operating off a “savings-high”, many patrons waste money by purchasing things that they do not actually need.
Ultimately, the greatest benefit of Black Friday is the experience; if you are looking for a worthwhile savings, chances are, you may not always come out on top. With that being said, here are some of the best places around Chapel Hill to get experience true Black Friday insanity (and maybe save big, too!):
1) Target: Eager Target shoppers can rush the aisles as early as 5pm Thursday night, so many consumers will forgo a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, instead opting to bring the family to line up early Thursday afternoon in hopes of order to scoring the big-ticket items in limited quantity. Among Target’s most promising deals are a free iPhone X or Samsung S9 (with a qualified cellular activation), as well as an $80 32” Polaroid flat-screen television.
2) Walmart: Following a Target run, customers can head to Walmart, whose doors do not open until 6pm. Walmart’s most prized possessions include a $99 40” Hisense flat screen television and an Xbox One S Minecraft Bundle for $199 (regularly $299), so the store will likely be packed with early Christmas shoppers.
3) Best Buy: The electronics giant will not disappoint this year; Best Buy is offering a Toshiba 43” flat screen television for just $129.99 (regularly $329.99), as well as a Microsoft Surface Pro for $599.99 (a savings of $360!). Even though shoppers will have to make a tough decision between Target and Best Buy (whose doors also open at 5pm), the latter promises to roll out a new set of door busters at 8am on Saturday morning for those who cannot make it Friday.
Freshman at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.