Holiday shopping fantasies have just become a reality

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Do your holiday shopping fantasies include glittering lights and beautiful gifts — or a “balloon ride” and a three-second jog on a “running track?”

Welcome to “experiential retail” — a mushrooming gimmick to make us feel we’re having fun without spending a dime.

A wave of in-store demonstrations, hands-on customer workshops and low-grade special effects are supposed to save us from the Amazon-age blight of empty stores. Mostly ranging from tame to lame, the “experiences” typically proved to be slightly cooler-than-average settings to try on makeup, colorful backdrops for Instagram selfies, and tricks to make you spend more than you planned.

Just in time for Black Friday, we went shopping for the experience.

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