Black Friday: Safe Shopping Tips

If Thanksgiving is a day to relax and eat, then Black Friday marks the time to get up and go! All across America, folks line up hours before stores open to take part in the legendary deals offered by retailers. If you or a loved one is shopping this year on Black Friday, it’s important to keep safety a priority! Where there are crowds, and merchandise, there are angry shoppers and thieves looking to take advantage. Since 2006, there have been 105 injuries and 10 deaths during Black Friday shopping, and it is one of the top day of the year for theft outside of the home.To help you shop safely, we’ve put together some Black Friday tips.

Scout ahead

A few days before the big sale, stop by the stores on your list and map out where the products you want are shelved. Of course, some stores might move displays for the big sale, so be sure to ask staff about where your essential items will be located. You can even map out the store on a piece of paper, with a route, to make shopping as easy as possible. This will help you avoid confusion in a large crowd, and  avoid the crazed stress that ends with people running, tripping, or getting trampled.

Put Your Health First

Something a lot of people forget on Black Friday is their own health! It’s truly important to make sure you are taking care of yourself throughout the day, especially if you are a marathon shopper. Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you have sufficient water and snacks with you! Running around stores can make you dehydrated, and if you hop on an early morning line, you don’t want to miss out on breakfast.
  • Wear reflective or light-colored clothing to make you visible in busy parking lots.
  • Bring hand warmers for long outdoor lines– it’s November and it gets COLD!

Leave Kids Home

There are a lot of articles out there that will tell you how to keep kids safe on Black Friday, but here’s the thing: The safest thing you can do is leave them home.

First off, your kids are probably slowing you down. Leave them with a babysitter, grandma or hubby, and take a friend instead, if you need extra hands!

More importantly, having kids with you puts them, and you, at risk. In large crowds, a child can be lost or kidnapped, sometimes without anyone noticing. Young kids tend to wander, and searching a department store for your child can be very scary.

Learn more about the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Additionally, parents with kids will spend a lot more time packing their car, making them easy targets for drive-by burglars and thieves, who could steal from your cart or trunk while you’re strapping in a child and are distracted.

Drive Carefully

Parking lots are where most of the danger occurs during Black Friday. Early in the morning, it may still be dark out. Keep your headlights on, and be vigilant for walking shoppers and other cars.

Once you’ve navigated the lot, choose a parking space carefully:

  • Get as close to the doors as you can, and pick a spot that is well lit.
  • Don’t park between large vans, which might obscure your vision when you pull out.
  • Write down the location of your car, or take note of a nearby landmark (lot area, a tree or sculpture, anything will do.)
  • Carry your keys in your hand– they are a great impromptu weapon if you do come across danger.

Keep Cash Secure

Wear a cross-body bag and keep your money and ID in a zippered pocket. This will make your possessions more difficult for purse-snatchers to get at. If you don’t want to carry an extra bag, men should put their wallets in the inside pocket of a jacket, or in their front pockets – never the back pockets!

For the ladies, front pockets are also an option (if you have a pair of pants with big enough ones.) There are also belly bags for women; these are a sister of the fanny pack that keeps your cash close to your body. Never leave your bag on a counter, floor, or any place out of reach.

Brown Bag It

Don’t show off high-end purchases to potential thieves. Hide your goods in a paper bag for extra protection.

If you’re shopping at high-end retailers this year, it’s important to protect your purchases – and yourself. Thieves will be on the lookout for bags with certain logos on them, especially electronics and jewelry store bags. Instead of taking the branded bag, carry a nondescript paper bag with you. It’s opaque, so no one can see what you bought, and you’re less likely to be a target.

It’s Not Fight Club

Many injuries happen because shoppers find themselves in a tug-of-war over a product. I get that the deal is insane; I get that it’s on a loved one’s wish list. That’s all fine and dandy, but it’s not worth risking your safety.

If you see someone got to a product first, don’t try to take it away from them. And if you end up in a tussle with an angry competitor, let it go. Calmly ask a salesperson if there are any more of the item you want, or ask if that product will be included in a Cyber Monday deal.

So there you have it: some simple tips to keeping your Black Friday shopping experience fun and safe! To all of our readers, we hope you have wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Good luck, shoppers!