Shopping on Black Friday? Be Sure to Read This…


Thanksgiving is almost here.  Along with the turkey, family gatherings, and football on Thursday there is a Friday component to the holiday.  This component has been branded “Black Friday.”  The term “black” is supposed to refer to the retailers’ hope that the quantity of sales will put their finances in the black but too often in recent years the term “black” has more appropriately referred to the chaos and danger that occurs on that Friday.

Several years ago I represented a woman who was seriously injured when she was stampeded in a Wal-Mart store on Black Friday.  She was standing near a glass display case seeking assistance with an item that was perched on a shelf out of her reach when a cavalry of shoppers came rushing down the aisle.  There was one of her and far too many of them.  We never did figure out what the crowd was rushing to but they knocked my client down causing her to strike her head on the display case and fall violently to the hard tile floor.  She fractured at least two bones and had to see an orthopedic for over a year.  I cannot imagine any proclaimed “sale” or “great bargain” was worth that cost.

Retailers cannot wait to reach into your pocket for holiday dollars and now retail giant Wal-Mart has joined several others who have decided to open on Thanksgiving Day…what about the workers who would prefer to be home with their families or just enjoying some time off?  Click here for scary statistics about Black Friday.  This year the holiday shopping season has been reduced by five days so retailers will be looking to make those sales and profits to make up for these lost days.  But alas perhaps some retailers have thought better of being connected with the chaos and may instill some dignity and order to the shopping experience.

If you partake in any shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend be smart and be careful.  Think like a consumer and protect yourself.  Get all warranties and significant promises in writing plus be sure to keep all receipts.  When shopping online (which is a great alternative to the huge crowds in the shopping malls and stores) print, make screenshots, or otherwise save product information.

So for those of you who will be shopping on Black Friday or Thanksgiving weekend include some personal safety measures.  In between the stores and food breaks be sure to schedule time with family and friends not to mention some “down time” for yourself.  And think:  is that great discount worth risking life and limb?  Is retail madness REALLY what the holiday season is all about?  Hmmm…….I will let you all marinate on that one.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and rest of the holiday season.

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