Don't forget to put Black Friday safety on your shopping list this holiday season
For some, it's the thrill of the deal. For others, it's a social event. Some enjoy the competition of finding the hard-to-get items of the season. It can even be a family ritual. But the day after Thanksgiving isn't just about deals. If you're heading out for a thrilling day of shopping on Black Friday, safety should be at the top of your list.
As much fun as it can be, Black Friday is not without its share of negative news stories. The reports of stampedes at big box stores, parking lot scuffles, and one "spirited" shopper who pepper-sprayed a crowd so she could get an Xbox are enough to make anyone think twice about venturing out.
And yet, even with these stories, we love to clean up after Thanksgiving dinner and hop in the car to wait in line for the best deals of the year. In truth, with 99 million people in stores on Black Friday, there are bound to be random fights or parking space arguments. What's more concerning, perhaps, are the targeted crimes, scams, and accidents that can happen.
10 Black Friday Safety Tips
1. Pay attention
Black Friday shoppers love finding a good deal. Many times that means checking online links, looking at apps, or texting friends while you're waiting in line or walking to your car. But while you're focused on your phone, criminals are focused on you. An enterprising thief could easily snag your wallet or your bags, and if you're looking at your phone, you might never see them coming.
2. Go with a group
Shopping with friends is part of the fun, right? But be sure you stay together as much as possible. It's much more difficult for a thief to take advantage of a group of people, plus you'll have someone to help you carry that large screen television.
3. Make a communication plan
Even when you try to stay together, with so many shoppers out, it's easy to get separated from your group. Before you go into any store, designate a meeting time and place if you get separated, and make it specific. Meeting "in front of the store" leaves a lot open for interpretation. Meeting at the soda machine at 10:30, however, is more direct and will make it a lot easier to locate your lost friend.
4. Charge those phones
Cell phones are great for keeping up with your friends in the wilds of Black Friday shopping, but they won't do you any good if the battery is dead. Fully charge your phone at home before you head out, and make sure your friends do the same.
5. Pay attention, again
The Los Angeles Police Department points out that when you return to your car after shopping, "stop, listen, and look around" for anyone loitering or just hanging out. You may not have the option of parking in a well-lit spot, so it's important to be aware of your surroundings.
6. Use your trunk
Money Crashers notes that it's ideal to clean out your trunk to make room for your purchases. A back seat "full of video games or digital cameras makes an enticing target." If you do have to keep some of your bags in the front of your car, try to store them out of site on the floor or under the seats.
7. Keep your keys handy
The University Family Medicine Center in Pueblo, Colorado, suggests having your keys in hand before you leave a store so you can more easily open your trunk and car door. If you're digging in your purse or pockets to find your keys, you aren't paying attention to what's going on around you, which gives an opportunistic thief the opening they need.
8. Take care of yourself
Black Friday shopping might not be an Olympic event, but it's still a physical endeavor. Stay hydrated, wear layers if you'll be waiting outdoors for stores to open, and don't neglect the fact that your safety is more important than a good deal on the latest iPhone.
9. Drive carefully
Black Friday safety also encompasses what happens while you are between shops. Make sure you follow traffic regulations and use extra caution. There are a lot of people out, and they aren't all paying attention to where they are walking and driving. If you're feeling tired on the drive home, chew some gum, stop to rest, or have a co-pilot help you stay alert.
10. Have fun
In reality, most Black Friday safety tips are valid any time of the year. So have fun, make a plan, make a day (or night) of it, and enjoy some time with friends and family. You know the stores are going to be packed, so take it easy, keep a smile on your face, talk to your shopping neighbors, and get home safely.
Bonus Tip: While you're out, make sure your home is secure. Lock your doors, turn on your porch light, and don't forget to set your alarm.
Another way to protect your home and your valuables is through Pekin Insurance home insurance. Get in touch with your local Pekin Insurance agent today to make sure you have the coverage you need.