Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year because of the great discounts that are offered, but unfortunately Black Friday can be dangerous in a number of ways. Remember that finding the best deal is not worth being robbed or injured, so it is sometimes better to stay home and do your Christmas shopping later. If you do go out on Black Friday, here are some safety tips to be conscious of while shopping.
- Drive safely. People are trying to get to stores as fast as possible and grab the few available parking spaces, so be careful on the road and especially in parking lots. Be mindful of your emotions and don’t develop any road rage, and also be aware that other drivers may not be as self-controlled as you.
- Be smart when you park. During the day, it is wiser to park some distance from the store where the parking lot is less crowded so that your car doesn’t get banged up by shopping carts, car doors, and reckless drivers. At night, park closer to the store in areas that are well-lit and not empty. Be aware of any suspicious people or vehicles near your car. As you leave your car, make sure to take a mental note of where you parked, and even take a picture to help you remember. Lock all car doors and roll up the windows, even if you’re only leaving your car for a short time. When returning to your car, have your keys already in your hand, and check all around and underneath your car.
- Know where your belongings are and don’t leave them unattended. Your purse and wallet should always be on your body, not left in your shopping cart unattended. When in a large crowd, hold on to your purse and wallet and beware of pickpockets. After shopping, put anything you purchased in the trunk of your car immediately, not in any of the seats. When you leave your car, hide your valuables or take them inside with you.
- Use a credit card instead of cash. If a credit card is stolen, you can turn it off, but if your cash is stolen, it’s gone. Because of the possibility of theft, it’s also a good idea to only use one credit card instead of carrying multiple cards around.
- If you’re shopping with family or friends, establish precautions if you’re separated. It is helpful if everyone shopping with you has a cell phone so that if anyone is separated, they can contact the rest of the group. If your kids are with you, determine a location to meet up at if you get separated. Teach your children to ask police officers and store employees for help if they are lost. Another helpful tactic when shopping as a group is to wear bright, matching clothes so that you stand out in crowds.
Black Friday is a great time to do your holiday shopping and buy anything you need, but make sure you are safety conscious to have the best shopping experience. Remember, the difference between being aware and being paranoid is irrational fear. You don’t have to be scared on Black Friday; just make sure you are conscious of your surroundings and not taking any foolish risks. Enjoy your shopping!