Black Friday Shopping Safety

While one person alone consumes about 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, nothing quite beats the sense of accomplishment the day after. The triumph of waiting in line four hours in the freezing cold for that amazing half-off 60 inch TV is so compelling, shoppers are predicted to spend an average of $967.13 over Black Friday weekend.

Whether you’re on the hunt for all the deals you can nab or you just want that big-screen TV, Black Friday is notorious for mass crowds and injuries. Here are some Black Friday shopping safety tips to keep your holiday splurging safe.

In-Store Security and Safety

Seven people have died and 98 have been injured Black Friday shopping in the US between 2006 and 2015. Indiana has even been labeled by Estately as the eighth most likely place to be injured on Black Friday in the US. An OSHA fact sheet provides general safety guidelines to remind retailers to follow during one of the busiest shopping days of the year. As a customer, you should be able to see exit signs and check-out lanes clearly. Managers should train their employees before Black Friday on proper protocol like crowd control, when to call emergency response, and to comply with emergency response regardless of company policies. Retailers must also hire additional staff, trained security, or police officers when big crowds are expected. This means smaller shops with less traffic may not hire security but shopping malls and department stores most-likely will. Shopping at stores with more security will likely decrease potential chaos and injuries. 

Parking Lots

Under the Marion County, Indiana municipal code of ordinances a commercial parking facility and sidewalks leading to the lot must be reasonably free of snow and ice and in a safe condition for pedestrian use. This means you should be able to see lot markings of where to park and not slip and slide on your way to the door. Salt is often used to lower the freezing point of water, melting the ice. The water can actually even refreeze into black ice if not enough salt has been used. A commercial parking facility is defined as a lot or building used a regular basis to provide parking space for five or more motor vehicles, so if it’s street parking only, be aware of your footing. However, the company is still responsible for clearing sidewalks leading to the store as well.

Loading Up the Car

According to Indiana Law the rear window of a car cannot be blocked by any nontransparent material. But, an item that is no larger than four square inches can be placed on the rear window in the lowest and furthest corner from the driver’s seat. If the items can fit in your compact car, place bigger ones near the back-right-corner to obstruct your view the least. However, remember you must always be able to see out your back windshield.

Overstocked Shelves

Stores should have general guidelines for stalking their shelves. Some may try to add extra space for products because of the high-demand and increased traffic, but they shouldn’t be stacking their shelves in an unsafe way. If you witness employees trying to keep products from waving around after stacking them 10 boxes high, take that as your sign they haven’t been versed enough in their safety protocol.

Scams

While some deals on Black Friday seem too good to be true, some deals actually are too good to be true. You may have heard the term “derivative” being thrown around during Black Friday weekend. A derivative is a model of a product that’s been created just to be sold on Black Friday. These products can even be name-brand products that are created with cheaper materials, barely lasting past their warranty date. A good way to tell if a product is a derivative is if the model never existed before October, if there are little-to-no reviews over the product, and if the deal seems to be significantly less than similar branded products with the same features. There is no sure way of telling if the product is of poor-quality or if it’s just a great deal for the season. 

No matter if you’re braving the crowds in the early hours of the morning or you’ve decided to wait for Cyber Monday, we hope these tips will help in your shopping endeavors this Black Friday weekend. Best of luck, and don’t forget to pick up a gift or two to bring by our office for the annual YMCA Breakfast with Santa.