Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, shoppers across the country descend upon retail and department stores for the annual savings bonanza called Black Friday. According to BlackFriday.com, people spent over $50.9 billion on merchandise in 2014 alone. Yet as people frantically try to nab those discounted plasma screen TVs, chaos ensues, and injuries have plagued the holiday celebration in recent years. According to some estimates, there have been as many as seven deaths and 98 injuries on Black Friday since 2006.
"There have been 98 Black Friday injuries since 2006."
Given those numbers, it's important that shoppers everywhere make sure that safety is a priority alongside finding the right values. Here are a few tips to ensure your Black Friday is as prosperous as possible:
Watch your cart: Aside from the harm it can do to your bank account, overshopping also means having to carry around huge bags of items. That can prove dangerous, as too much weight can cause you to trip and fall. So, as a rule, try not to buy more than you and your shopping buddy can comfortably carry. If you do buy a lot, then, don't be afraid to try and make multiple trips or use carts at the store.
Make a plan: Oftentimes, Black Friday shopping is a family affair. As with any occasion, though, it's important to make a plan. Stores are especially crowded and hectic during Black Friday, and thus your chances of getting lost are all the greater. Before you leave for home that morning, discuss with everyone what you plan to buy and where to meet if you become separated. It's also a good idea to have a meeting place that's outside the store.
Protect yourself: Unfortunately, theft is a part of Black Friday just as much as 50 percent off a brand new computer monitor. As such, people need to take the proper precautions to avoid pickpockets. Whenever possible, don't bring cash to a store, and use only credit cards. However, don't actually bring out that Visa or MasterCard until you've reached the checkout area. If you plan on carrying a purse or bag to the store, be sure to keep it close to your body and not dangling at your side.
Mind your entrance: In some parts of the country, late November means there is often snow or ice on the ground. These patches can be tricky during normal shopping hours, and the danger escalates during the mad-dash into the actual stores. So watch where you're stepping, and if you ever feel like you're in danger of falling or being overrun by the crowd, take a step back. Your well-being is far more important than how much money you save. As an extension of this, be sure to dress in warm layers as you wait outside in the cold.
"Everyone needs to act courteously this Black Friday."
Remain courteous: Depending on the store, you may be shopping amid a crowd of a few hundred people. Some competition is inevitable, but people need to do their best to remain as courteous and respectful as possible. Say "excuse me" as you make your way down an aisle. Don't push through other people, and always try to form a line behind other shoppers. If someone needs help, don't be afraid to lend a hand. If everyone acts with some courtesy, Black Friday can be real success each and every year.
If you do happen to sprain an ankle or throw out your back this Black Friday, you can always visit a CareWell Urgent Care location. With teams of highly trained professionals at every hospital, CareWell can treat almost any injury - often without lines - and get you back to your holiday celebrations in no time.