Black Friday is one of the year’s busiest shopping days for consumers and retailers. Some stores are opening earlier than ever, at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening. The push towards earlier store hours applies to retailers like Kmart, Sears, JCPenney, and Macy’s. Target announced that it will offer holiday shopping deals as early as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving this year.
With this heightened excitement, anxious shoppers will be eager to capitalize on the holiday savings from electronics and toys to the top clothing brands. Unfortunately, with the holiday rush comes the danger of more car accidents, robberies, and in-store accidents, which can result in serious personal injury.
Read on to learn more about what you can do from experienced personal injury lawyers.
- Have a game plan. Come up with a plan for the day, detailing the stores you will visit and the deals you hope to get. Make shopping decisions before entering the store. This will organize you and alleviate potential stressors.
- Proper attire. Dress comfortably and anticipate cooler temperatures. It is a good idea to wear layers and comfortable shores. Stay hydrated and consider leaving small children at home in the care of a trusted family member.
- Enter with caution. Every year, at least one crazed shopper makes the news for mobbing the entrance doors as soon as a big retailer opens its doors. Be safe and courteous to employees and other shoppers when entering the store.
- Check-out Etiquette. Wait politely during check-out. Do not hold spaces in line for other shoppers, and never push up against those in front of you.
- Practice patience. Expect long lines and do not get derailed by grumpy shoppers. Shouting matches and fights often erupt in the store. Remember, you do not have to participate. Be the bigger person and walk away.
- Avoid crowds and long lines. For stores opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, try visiting between midnight and 3 a.m. The initial crowds will die down, and stores might restock during this time. Electronic stores like Best Buy often have the longest lines, not to mention some of the earliest lines. Check stores like Target and Walmart for the same items, which will likely have the same deal with shorter lines.
- Protect yourself. Women should always carry their purses close to them, and men should carry their wallets in their front pockets to deter pickpockets. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash when you are out shopping. Be on the lookout for loiters around your car and watch for any suspicious people following you. Shop in a group whenever possible. You are less likely to be a target.
- Conceal your purchases. Nothing is more tempting to a thief than a car full of shopping bags. Always lock purchases in your trunk if you are heading back into the store to continue shopping.
- Park safely. Anticipate limited parking availability during the holiday shopping period, particularly on Black Friday. When returning to your vehicle, always stop, listen and look around. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions like talking on the phone or texting. Have your keys readily available before you get to your vehicle. Try to park somewhere in the open, preferably under bright light, if you will return to your vehicle at night.
- Obey traffic laws. Drive the speed limit and stop at stop signs. Be mindful of pedestrians- particularly children and the elderly. Never walk in the middle of a traffic lane or jaywalk. Learn more about driver safety from our Orlando car accident lawyers today.
- Stay alert and aware. Always pay attention to all of your surroundings and try not to allow yourself to be distracted by children, cell phones, or anything else. Distractions in a large crowd can make you a prime target for theft. Thieves will not hesitate to steal your wallet from your pocket or purse. Also, avoid carrying a large amount of cash with you on Black Friday. Try shopping with a credit or debit card, so pickpockets will be less likely to be targeted.
- Be wary of certain merchants. Retailers promising special coupons or gift cards to a select number of customers entering the store can lead to all kinds of issues, including fights or stampedes. That can often be a bad sign when you must park in front of a store and wait for it to open. With many large crowds, people can be trampled and severely hurt or killed as soon as the doors open for business.
- Stay connected. When you are shopping with other people, such as family or friends, you will want to be sure everyone has access to a cell phone, so you can find one another should you become separated. You can also benefit from every person in your party wearing brightly colored clothing to make them easy to identify in a crowd. When it comes to your children, make sure they know that if they get separated from you, their first action should be to go straight to a store employee or even a security guard or police officer.
- Avoid ATMs. Many thieves specifically seek people who withdraw large amounts of cash, so you should avoid making yourself a target. Should you want to carry cash, then get it beforehand instead of risking anything while in a store. Try to make sure you are using well-lit machines.
- Let the family know what your plan is. Tell your family members where you will be going, and then keep in touch throughout the day. Write down every store you plan on visiting, the order you intend to visit, and approximate times if you can guess. You can call to let your family know when you have left one store, so they will know where you are.
- Avoid fights. There are always certain items that are high in demand, but you must not engage in any confrontations over toys or other goods. You never know how violent another person is willing to get, so do not take any chances. If another party is more aggressive about grabbing a certain item, let them get what they want rather than making an issue.
- Use your trunk. Always keep the items you purchase hidden in your trunk because this will keep your goods out of the sight of thieves looking for cars to break into in the parking lot. If you leave items in the back seat, others can see them.
- Look out for slick spots. Slip and fall accidents can be particularly common on Black Friday because there are often more reasons for people to spill drinks or track snow into stores and cause slippery floors. Make sure you wear proper shoes for these conditions with soles that are not too smooth or slick.
- Save your receipts. You never know which goods might require returns, so keep all your receipts for the day in a single location that will make them easy to find.
- Watch out for skimming. Skimmers are small devices that can scan and store credit card data from a magnetic stripe. Some store employees may scan your card at the register and swipe it through their small, handheld skimmers. After a card goes through a skimmer, it records the data, and thieves can sell your information. Always watch for cashiers who ask to swipe your card for you and then turn their backs to you when they are swiping your card or walk away with it.
Not everybody wants to partake in the in-person hassles with shopping, making online shopping a far more convenient option for such individuals. Cyber Monday is not long after Black Friday, but many merchants are certainly offering online deals for Black Friday.
When you intend to shop online, try to keep these tips in mind:
- Shop on secure sites. When making purchases, buy from a website with a closed padlock in the browser bar or a URL that begins with “https,” not “http.” The added “s” on the URL means that the website is encrypted, and your data and information are better protected from hackers.
- Use one credit or debit card for all of your online purchases. When you do this and a card gets compromised for any reason, you will only need to make a single cancellation call.
- Try to stick with the familiar brands and avoid deals that are too good to be true. Many online scammers con people into sharing credit or debit cards without intending to deliver products. Only buy from the merchants you know you can trust. When buying from a small or independent store, research and check out customer reviews online and complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
- Avoid public WiFi. When you have no other option, use a VPN that creates a “tunnel” that allows you to transmit your encrypted data securely so hackers cannot intercept or steal your information. Public WiFi connections are usually unencrypted and unsecured, which makes you vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack that may allow a scammer to grab your name, address, credit card number, and other personal information.
- Protect all your online accounts. Update your passwords before shopping, and avoid keeping any credit or debit card on file with a retailer because a person who hacks your account can use the card for their purchases.
- Beware sales ads by text. When you receive a text message from an unknown number that contains a link to a remarkable, time-limited deal, do not click it. Phishing via SMS is incredibly common, and clicking any link from an unfamiliar sender is always a bad idea. Keep in mind how much harder it is to spot a fake website on a mobile device.
- Enable two-step verification when possible. Two-step verification is another layer of security for your account that prevents anyone from accessing or using the account, even when they know the password. This will be handy if you are shopping online because you will sign in with your password and then have to enter an additional code that goes to your phone.
Be Safe While Shopping For Deals This Black Friday
The holiday season is peak travel time and increases the likelihood of accidents. You should know how to travel and shop safely this holiday season, though even the safest person can suffer injuries due to the negligence of others. If someone else’s negligence injured you or a loved one in a car accident, hire an experienced car accident attorney immediately.
An experienced team of accident attorneys can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to seek a free case evaluation with a trusted legal professional right away.
Black Friday Safety Tips for Businesses
A packed store can be great for business, but it also provides prime conditions for accidents and theft that can spoil the holiday cheer.
When opening their doors on Black Friday, business owners should:
- Plan for success. Consider collaborating with local law enforcement for ideas about security. Unlike giant retailers, small businesses do not have a bottomless pit of inventory. Small businesses should remember to protect their inventory and supplies from burglaries during the holiday season. Make sure your store’s security system is operating properly.
- Manage crowds with care. Plan for and implement adequate crowd control to properly manage the increased number of shoppers.
- Maintain vigilance. Remember to be vigilant in understanding the crowds and their temperament. Address conflicts early, and do not hesitate to contact your local police department if an argument begins to escalate.
- Watch for overworked employees. During the holiday season, it is easy for employees to become overworked. Be aware of the injuries your employees may face. The most costly workplace injuries are unanticipated. Employee injuries like slips, trips, and falls can occur when there is unnecessary clutter in the store. Repetitive motion injuries can occur from employees’ constantly having to restock shelves and clean up behind shoppers.
- Prevent store entrance chaos. Consider developing time-specific entrance passes to allow shoppers to enter your store at a specific time. This can help ensure an organized and safe entry into your business.
- Watch for intense shoppers. Customers are a business’s lifeblood. However, be aware that some customers take the Black Friday shopping experience to another level. Black Friday sales have triggered trampling deaths, serious fights, and property damage. If a customer in your store suffers an injury, you and your business can end up in a serious lawsuit.
- Consider product placement. Instead of stacking store items high upon shelves, consider handing out vouchers. This will help mitigate in-store accidents, crowding on shelves, and shopper aggression.
- Keep a clean store. Large crowds will create an even larger mess for retailers. Store merchandise and spilled liquids left on the floor can create a safety hazard for shoppers and a liability for businesses. Monitor your store throughout the day and make cleaning up a top priority.
- Prepare your parking. Make sure your parking lot/area has adequate lighting and security. Consider having a store worker escort shoppers to their vehicles.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer if You Suffer Injuries
Even if people and businesses are as safe as possible, accidents and injuries can still happen while shopping on Black Friday. For more information about how a personal injury lawyer can help following an injury, seek a free consultation from a law firm in your area as soon as possible.