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Confessions of Two Black Friday Shoppers: The Sorrells

A husband and wife team hit the Black Friday crowds and live to tell about it.

Editor's Note: Earlier this week we put out the call for locals to join our Patch Black Friday Street team and share their Black Friday tragedies and triumphs. Here's the story of two Black Friday shoppers.

Name: Suzanne and Jim Sorrell from Manassas Park.

How long have you been doing Black Friday? Black Friday is an annual tradition for us.  We've been going as long as I can remember.

Black Friday Game Plan: We plan to go to Manassas Mall and surrounding shopping centers/stores. We will start Thursday night around 11 p.m when the malls open and continue shopping Friday until we run out of energy. We are mainly looking for toys and clothes deals for our three granddaughters: Olivia,almost 7, Hannah ,age 5, and Delilah - age 2.)

What actually happened on Black Friday Suzanne: "Thanksgiving dinner was delicious.  I’m stuffed with Aunt Toni’s famous macaroni and cheese.  Uncle John and my husband, Jim, are getting ready to watch the Redskin’s versus Cowboy’s football game.  My mom is resting with her dog, Babe, by her side.  Now, I’m off to start my Black Friday shopping spree at the Manassas Michael’s.

I arrived at the Manassas Michael’s at 4 p.m sharp.  They had a 30 percent off total purchase coupon.  Since I only had the coupon on my phone, I could not read the details.  I specifically asked the store clerks if the coupon included everything. 

All three clerks said yes.  I further inquired if it included clearance and sale items too.  Again, they said yes.  After spending and hour and a half in the store picking through clearance items, I went to the register to pay and not one thing was included in the sale. 

I refused to buy most of it and left feeling defeated.  The first store was a bust.  I bought one gift and spent about  $15.  I did get a free Godiva Truffle Bar for my trouble, though. 

Next, I dropped into Walmart on Liberia for an hour.  I walked the entire store.  People started laying claim to items that were going up for sale at 8 p.m.  When I first arrived, it was quiet.  Over the hour, you could hear the frenzy building.  I rushed to the checkout to buy a few things before the crowds started forming to pay for their items.  I had a great sales clerk named Desiree who waited on me with a great attitude and a beautiful smile.  All in all, it was not a bad trip to Walmart.  I spent about twenty dollars and purchased some things that I needed, but no gifts for Christmas.

So, the Redskin’s won the game.  Now, it was time to pick up my husband, Jim, and head over to Manassas Mall.  Target was the first store we hit.  We shopped for about two hours in the store and together spent over two hundred dollars.  We were able to get some great deals without using any coupons.  We got a bunch of Christmas gifts too.  The cashiers were friendly and the lines moved fast.  The only negative was that we had to wait for a shopping cart because the store was so busy that they were all in use.

The Manassas Mall officially opened at Midnight.  While I waited to get into Hot Topic, Jim took a break and had a cup of coffee.  Hot Topic was having a sale on t-shirts: ‘buy any t-shirt for $10’. 

Since most of the shirts are regularly $20-$25, it was worth taking some time out to go inside.  By the time I shopped and stood in line to pay for the items, however, two hours had passed.  I bought four, cute, specialty t-shirts for $40.  All of the Hot Topic management and staff were helpful and welcoming.  When I asked about purchasing a store display ornament, the manager went into the back room and returned with one in hand and gave it to me for free.  Now, that is what I call great public relations.

By this time, it was 2 a.m.  We ventured into Macy’s with a pocket full of coupons.  Together we spent about $250.  We bought a lot of Christmas gifts, most of which were 50 percent off.  My only issue with Macy’s is, the tons of coupons that they put out never work on anything you want to buy because they always have so many restrictions and exclusions.  To be specific, I was unable to use any of the coupons for my purchases. I was not surprised, however, because that is what Macy’s does year-round.

Finally, it was 4 a.m.  At this point, I’d been shopping for twelve hours and Jim had been shopping for eight.  It was time for breakfast at the Mall IHOP.  We were escorted to our booth by a friendly hostess.  Jim ordered a western omelet and I tried strawberry-topped crepes.  The waitress, Olivia, was wonderful and our food hit the spot.  It was now 5am.  We thought about waiting for( (JC) Penney’s to open at six, but we decided to call it a night.

As we left, we decided to take a picture of the Mall sign.  When we got home, we zoomed in to take a closer look at the picture.  Much to our amazement, we caught the word “great” as it scrolled across the sign.  Jim and I looked at each other smiling.  Ironically, “great” was the one word to sum up our experience at Manassas Mall.

We shopped from dusk until dawn.  We spent over $500.  Most of the items we purchased were 50 percent off.  All of the workers were friendly.  The store lines were minimal and the parking situation was not bad either.  If asked if we would do it again, we would say without hesitation, “of course.”  It has become an annual tradition and a test of endurance.  The only recommendation, however, is to go at night because the real Black Friday madness starts when the sun comes up."

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