MODESTO -- Ah, the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas whatever you choose to celebrate, you probably have participated in the Black Friday shopping experience, or at least know someone who has.
Black Friday has been an annual event for quite a while, and many shoppers look forward to it with excitement. In recent years, retailers have inched up the time they open their doors, with some now opening for business well before midnight on Thanksgiving. Wal-Mart, for instance, will open at 8 p.m. today.
Sure, there will be a ton of great deals on everything from TVs to jeans, but is it worth it? After a worker was trampled to death at a Long Island, N.Y., Wal-Mart in 2008, many were shocked and angered to see how out-of-control the shoppers had become. Still, people are willing to risk the crowds to save some money and experience the rush of bargain hunting in the wee hours.
For many young shoppers, that experience surpasses the reduced prices as the real attraction. Kelly Krause, a 17-year-old senior at Valley Charter High School, said, "Even if you have no money
it's just fun to go out and look at everything."
If you plan to do more than just window shop, remember to have a plan and stick with it. Getting swept up in a wave of energy drink-swigging adolescents and their exhausted parents may be inevitable, but there are a few basic things you can do to try to stay on track:
Prepare a list of what you're looking for and stick with the list.
Bring a friend or relative who will give you quick, honest feedback.
Know thyself. Are you really going to wear that dress that's two sizes too small?
it's on sale!" may become your frantic and frequent reply when your friend points out that you'll never wear those neon-green stilettos outside of your house, but try to see through the overspending haze created by retailers. Isn't it better to save a few bucks than spend them on something you won't use in a million years?
"I went last year, stood in line for two and a half hours and purchased one thing.
Not worth it," said Deseree Jones, a 16-year-old senior at Gregori High School.
Online shopping is a popular option on Black Friday, with many retailers offering deals on their Web sites similar to those in their stores.
For people who wish to avoid the lines and the general insanity of going out at midnight or very early in the morning, shopping from home definitely is the better choice. Huge crowds, long lines and mass hysteria don't quite sound like my cup of tea, so I think I'll stick to avoiding the mall (and the gym) and just enjoy my usual post-turkey relaxation on the day after Thanksgiving.
Maggie White is a senior at Valley Charter High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.