14 Safety Tips for Black Friday & Holiday Shopping
Staying Safe on Black Friday
Recent Black Friday sales numbers can be linked to several factors; the start of holiday shopping, heavily discounted merchandise, sensationalized marketing strategies, and along with most companies, 24 states in the U.S. celebrate the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday, giving the vast majority of U.S. workers a four-day weekend. But as much as retailers and shoppers enjoy the enormous profits and sales that roll in on “Black Friday,” the day has not been good for the public’s well being. Over the past ten “Black Fridays” seven deaths have occurred in addition to nearly 100 injuries. Many consumers put themselves at risk by spending the night camped out to secure a place in line for first crack at the best deals, which often lead to the stampedes that we see every year on local news.
The most notorious case was in 2008, when around 2,000 people gathered overnight outside of a Wal-Mart in Long Island, New York. That November morning at 5:03 a.m. tragedy struck when the crowd, worked into a frenzy, broke down the front door of the Wal-Mart and plowed over a 34-year-old employee, trampling him to death. On that same tragic “Black Friday” two people were shot and killed at a Toys ‘R’ Us in California. Although these are extreme anecdotes of what have happened on “Black Friday,” and events of this nature are rare, it is good to be prepared for what you may find when shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.
14 Safety Tips for Shopping on “Black Friday”
- For your safety; officials recommend taking only one credit card to shop instead of paying with cash, multiple credit cards, or a debit card.
- Before heading out; make photocopies or take pictures of your credit card (front and back) so you will have the account number and contact information needed if lost or stolen.
- Report stolen or missing credit cards immediately.
- Laws protecting consumers from unsafe shopping conditions are in place so that if you face injury while shopping, a claim can most likely be filed against the store or landlord.
- Police officials across the country are asking shoppers to be careful, not to rush, and be respectful to other customers on “Black Friday,” especially when facing large crowds.
- Always ask about return/refund policies before making a purchase.
- Identity thefts and frauds increase this time of year. Do not take your credit card out until payment is ready to be accepted and keep your wallet close at hand.
- Do not bring any unneeded credit cards or information like your social security card.
- Do not give out your social security number unless you are applying for a new credit card or entering into a pay-over-time contract directly with the retailer.
- Check your receipt before leaving the store and make a copy or take a picture with your phone when you get home.
- Purchase gift cards directly at the retailer to avoid scams.
- Lock all purchases in the trunk—do not leave them visible and unattended in the back seat.
- Bring water and snacks. Many injuries reported on “Black Friday” are related to dehydration.
- Here’s a little known secret: most retailers slash prices again on the Saturday before Christmas, driving prices even lower than on the fourth Friday of November.
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