For the past several years I have been disheartened by Black Friday. I was unable to understand why people would stand in line for hours to get a deal on a flat screen TV, or wait outside of Toys R Us for a ticket, to get access to a limited edition Elmo.

This year, I became a believer.

On Friday, November 26, 2011, I slowly waded into the pool that is the craziness of Black Friday consumerism. It all started with a 9AM trip to the Shoppes at Farmington Valley. My first stop was to Talbots, to look for something for my mother-in-law. I snagged one full priced item for 50% off and 30% off my remaining purchase, saving $80.

My second stop was to Ann Taylor Loft. I have a holiday party quickly approaching and I was on the hunt for a glittery, inexpensive, festive top. The entire store was 50% off. I scooped up, one holiday top, one sweater dress, and a silk top for work, saving a total of $104. Granted, this stop did nothing to help me reduce my ever expanding holiday gift list, but the tops were a great deal!

My final stop of the morning was to Gymboree. My feelings toward Gymboree are mixed. I often find my shopping experience to be hit or miss, but I do find that the clothes are good quality and excellent for daycare or school. This particular stop was a definite HIT! For starters, the entire store was 30%, including the sale items, which were already marked down 30%. I found several items and made my way to the registers. While standing in line, a generous woman behind informed me that if I sent a text to Gymboree they would send me a code for an additional 20% off! I bought five outfits for my girls, one baby outfit for a friend, three pair of underwear, and eight pair of soxs, saving a total of $212! That’s right, I got $317 worth of clothes for $105.

My total Black Friday savings was $396. Not bad for three stores and two hours worth of my time. I have a new found respect for those people you see on the evening news camping out in front of Best Buy in their tents, waiting for the $200, 42 inch flat screen TV. Amazing deals are addicting!

I hope that all ctworkingmoms.com readers and bloggers and their families had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and enjoy the upcoming holiday season.