This is War: Black Friday Edition

A Super-Shopper's Guide to the Perfect Black Friday Battle Plan

Set your alarms, strap on your best running shoes, grab a Thermos full of coffee, your warmest winter coat and lastly, don't forget your ... beach chair?! Just be prepared, because where you're going, that beach chair won't be sitting in any sand -- more like a freezing parking lot at 3 a.m. with hundreds of other savage, bargain-hungry shoppers.

You are a warrior. You are a soldier. You are going into battle armed with colorful fliers, coupons, sheer determination and your credit card. Let the retail attack on Black Friday begin.

So Meriden super-shoppers, you have your assignment. Now let Meriden Patch and your fellow die-hard Black Friday shoppers give you some valuable tips and insights on the best bargains to make your mall showdown a victorious one.

We have been on the hunt for the top three, most hardcore of Black Friday enthusiasts and squeezed out their top secret tips.

Super-shopper 1

Meet Danielle Pirone Ryerson; Platt graduate, wife, mother of two, and self-proclaimed super-shopper. Danielle informed Meriden Patch that she has been preparing for Black Friday since October when the ads slowly began to leak online.

Friday morning, Ryerson and a friend, fueled by coffee and donuts, will be out the door by 2 a.m. for their first stop at Walmart, where she believes the best bargains are, then off to Target and the Westfield Shopping Mall. This year Ryerson has her eye on a 32-inch LCD television.

To make your trip as fast and convenient as possible she offers this advice, "Bring a lot of coffee, all your ads, and to save even more money check the stores you like online for printable coupons. Bring your ads with you because it's faster to show stressed-out associates pictures of what you're looking for."

Danielle says she doesn't usually return home until 10pm the next night.


Super-shopper 2

Patch asked Meriden Police Officer Kat Maldonado if she knew anyone who might fit the super-shopper bill and she directed us to her friend and Meriden resident Sarah Gihdini because, "The girl stretches before she goes out!" She adds in jest, "Throwing elbows and knees is an understatement."

Gihdini, a mother of three, is pumped up for her yearly Black Friday tradition with her mother, sister-in-law, and cousin. They will be up at 3:30 a.m. Friday, ready to tackle Target, Michael's, Olympia Sports and then end at the mall. This year she has a Nintendo DSI in mind from Best Buy. When asked why she makes this crazy trip each year Gihdini said, "I have three children and it's the most affordable day to shop for toys and clothes for them."

Super-shopper 3

Paola Curcio Carino, mother of two Platt students and wife of Jay Carino (owner of Meriden's own The Big Belly LLC), is still carrying on the Black Friday tradition even though her kids outgrew their toys years ago. Carino, her sister and her brother prepare for their trip at the Thanksgiving table by laying out their advertisements. They make a game plan and map out the stores they plan to hit. Carino and her crew start at midnight at the Clinton outlets and make their way to Kohl's, Target, and then the mall searching for items such as clothes, laptops, and GPS systems. They are usually gone until 1 p.m. the next day. Jay told Patch, "It takes her two full days to recover."

Now that you have received sage advice from the diehards, here are some Black Friday deals you may or may not be aware of at Meriden's Westfield Shopping Mall.

Black Friday general mall hours: 5 a.m.-10 p.m.

Stores that open early at 4 a.m.: Macy's, Sears and JC Penney's.

The majority of stores in the mall take their shopping deals quite seriously and would not disclose their Black Friday sales over the phone. Here is a list of the ones who gave them up:

Forever 21: $6 jeggings, $9 cardigans, $12 boots, $7 denim, $3 hats, and $5 skirts

Torrid: All outerwear 30% off, all shoes, accessories and intimates are buy one get one free (BOGO) 50% off, all jeans BOGO 50% off until 1 p.m.

Lane Bryant: Entire store is BOGO

Aeropostale: First 100 customers receive free bottle of perfume, $10 hoodies and $7 graphic tees, the rest of the store is 50-70% off.

Bath and Body Works: Buy a VIP bag for $20 with any $40 purchase (VIP bag is filled with $115 worth of product).

Express: 40% off everything in the store until noon and then 30% off after noon.

Pacific Sunwear: First 40 people in the store get a bonus scratch-off ticket that can be redeemed for percentages off purchase.

Macy's: Macy's has over 200 amazing specials and we suggest visiting their online catalog for more details. The best deals we saw were a 5 pc. Tag Fairfield luggage set $49.99 (orig, $200) and ½ carat diamond earrings $199 (orig, $600).

JC Penney: Sign up for mobile or e-mail alerts to have coupons sent directly to you. Once again, JC Penney's has way too many sales to list but some highlights are 65% off all coats, select kitchen appliances for $9.98 and  extra 30% off clearance merchandise. Check out their online catalog.

Sears: Just like Penney's and Macy's, Sears is having a ton of deals. Check out their catalog here.

So, to all the brave souls putting on their Black Friday game faces, we at Patch salute you! Go forth and shop till you drop!


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