The holiday season is a wonderful time to break the monotony of our daily grind and spend some quality time with our families. This time of year the roads are a busier, traffic is heavier and folks are out shopping for their loved ones. With Thanksgiving upon us, some of us are planning to take advantage of the Black Friday sales. Retailers start their “holiday creep” as early as August but in an attempt to get people really excited about picking up a bargain they usually offer their biggest discounts the day after Thanksgiving. The rush that results from these discounts sometimes turns into a shopping frenzy, and we have all seen the news reports of crowds pushed up against the doors ready to charge into the store and snatch the best bargain before someone else does. These situations can become very dangerous with stampedes, fighting and falling objects that can and have resulted in injuries such as broken bones, concussions and even death.
Here is a list of some prior incidents that have occurred during Black Friday shopping:
- 2012: San Bruno, California: Father falls asleep at the wheel after Black Friday shopping with his four daughters and wife. Two of his daughters died in the auto accident. He was later charged with vehicular manslaughter on two counts.
- 2011, Los Angeles California: A woman shopping at a Walmart waited for the items that she wanted to be unveiled. After the items were revealed, she pulled out pepper spray and began spraying other customers, who were making a mad dash for the items.
- 2008, Long Island New York: Shoppers crowded the entrances, pushing against the doors, causing them to cave in, and as a result a Walmart security guard was trampled to death. A lawsuit against Walmart resulted in them paying a $2 million settlement to avoid criminal charges and a $7000 fine.
- 2008, Palm Desert, California: two women began fist fighting over a toy inside a Toys “R” Us. Two men who accompanied the women, pulled out guns and began shooting at each other. Each man shot the other to death, while shoppers ran for their lives.
- 2012, Tallahassee, Florida, two people got into a confrontation over a parking spot. Both a man and woman in one car were shot, and stumbled to the Walmart store’s garden center, where they were helped and taken to the hospital.
While online shopping and Cyber Monday is on an upward trend, rising 18 percent in 2017, Black Friday is still the busiest shopping day of the year and brings in around $50 billion of sales for stores. The shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is crucial for the economy as it accounts for approximately 30 percent of annual retail sales. For some retailers, such as jewelers, it’s even higher, at almost 40 percent.
If you plan on doing some holiday shopping after you get your fill of turkey, stuffing and sweet potato casserole, you should do so safely. Not only is Black Friday potentially dangerous once you get to the stores, it is also one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. In fact, there are 34 percent more car crashes on Black Friday in comparison to the two weeks before and after.
So how can you brave the crowds and stay safe as you shop or drive to work on Black Friday?
Here are some tips for avoiding a car accident or other incident during the holiday shopping frenzy:
While in the parking lots:
- Be patient when looking for a parking space. Don’t speed up to catch that empty (or soon-to-be empty) spot, and be cautious of other drivers who do.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
- When returning to your car, look around and under before approaching it.
- Store your shopping bags out of plain sight, in your trunk if possible.
- Look for other cars or people, and back out slowly.
While in the store:
- Don’t argue or fight over an item.
- Don’t take your money out until you are at the register and ready to pay.
- Use only one credit card. Back in 2013 Target experienced a massive credit card breach. Should something similar occur, you can reduce the risk of having multiple cards compromised.
- Save your receipts and monitor your credit card activity.
- If needed, ask an employee for help moving and loading large items.
- If shopping with children, select a central location to meet in case you are separated. Teach kids how to ask a security guard or employee for help if they’re lost.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or due to the negligence of an individual or company, please call our Massachusetts personal injury law office today at 617-889-5000.
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