In 2011 total consumer spending on Black Friday was more than $52 billion and in 2012 the average person spent more than $420 on the biggest shopping day of the year. With thousands of dollars in savings at stake, consumers will line up for days to get the most bang for their buck.
Unfortunately as lines grow and crowds gather, the likelihood of accidents and violence increases. It is estimated that 4,000 Walmart stores have extra security measures in place for Black Friday.
Less than 24 hours after families are sitting together and giving thanks for all that they have, consumers are flocking to stores seeking out deals and possibly leaving with personal injuries.
Some examples of the some bad Black Friday behavior include:
- Over 2,000 people trampled into a New York Wal-Mart five minutes before it was scheduled to open as doors were knocked off the hinges. In an effort to stop the stampede, Walmart employees formed a human chain that eventually broke and led to a 34-year-old employee being trampled to death.
- Two people died in a shooting at a Toys R Us on Black Friday after two women reportedly got into a brawl. Each woman's male companion pulled out a hand-gun and shot one another; the cause of the womens original argument is unknown.
- Another Wal-Mart incident left a woman disabled after she was trampled when the store opened. She was second in line to get into the store.
- In 2006 the Del Amo Fashion Center in California decided to reward customers by dropping 500 gift certificate filled balloons from the ceiling to the ground floor. During the rush an elderly woman was injured and sent to the hospital.
- In California a woman injured 20 people when she shot pepper spray to keep shoppers from the merchandise she wanted. The assailant was never caught.
- In New York an impatient crowd at a local mall led to yet another death when a temporary worker was trampled to death by the stream of people coming into the mall.
Having a safety plan for Black Friday is now essential. If you or a loved one plans on heading out on Brown Thursday or Black Friday considering taking the following steps to ensure your safety:
- Dont grab more than you can carry.
- If you plan on shopping while it is still dark out, consider bringing a friend with you.
- Do not leave packages visible in your vehicle.
- Consider using one single credit card instead of walking around with large amounts of cash.
- Avoid stores that do not have an organizational system in place, a controlled group of shoppers is better than an uncontrolled crowd.
- If you believe youre in harms way, step away from the line or crowd. Your safety is worth more than savings a few dollars.
Stay safe during this holiday shopping season and remember that sometimes, Cyber Monday deals are just as good as Black Friday deals.