(Courtesy of Forbes)
Shopping. Seems like a pretty safe activity, except maybe for your credit card balance. However, safety isn’t always guaranteed when you participate in Black Friday madness. Take heed.
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It’s difficult to believe that people would get so intent on saving money that death would result, but that’s exactly what happened in 2008. A mob of shoppers at a Long Island, N.Y. Walmart smashed through front doors and trampled an employee, resulting in his death. Four shoppers were also injured.
Out-of-control mobs may not be the norm, even for Black Friday shopping experiences, but large crowds are. And with large crowds of people all eager to get the same deal on the same items, you’re going to deal with some pushing and shoving. Shopping injuries may usually fall into the minor category, but it does beg the question: is that great discount on a set of sheets really worth the bruises you’ll have for the next week?
Both foot traffic on sidewalks and vehicular traffic will increase before, during and after Black Friday. Heavy traffic may not be hazardous, but it’s certainly not pleasant. Don’t count on making quick exits and entrances. Do count on standing in long lines to make your purchases, and expect a very slow pace when navigating store parking lots. (Going through trouble makes us want to buy more; read 6 Psychological Traps That Make You Spend)
Since Black Friday discounts attract such a large number of shoppers, stores can’t always keep up with the demand for products on sale. You may brave the traffic, risk the injury and make it to your store just to find that they’ve sold out of the product you wanted.
If your store of choice hasn’t sold out of your product of choice, you face another pitfall of Black Friday shopping: the other shoppers competing for that same product. Ask any seasoned Black Friday shopper and you’ll get war stories of shoppers grabbing toys and electronics, fighting over discounted items, grabbing products from other people’s shopping carts and topping off the whole experience with insults and expletives.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to Black Friday shopping, common sense should prevail. If you can handle the potential problems and it’s worth your potential gain, venture forth with good grace, a few snacks and patience. And maybe wear a helmet.