As Americans start to inch out of their Thanksgiving Day turkey-coma, they begin to gear up for Black Friday Sales. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. Almost all stores come out with Doorbuster Sales with an early bird special designed to attract consumers to their stores. People stand in line for hours before the stores open in order to be the first ones to grab the bargains of the year. Black Friday has become the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States.
This year will be no different. Millions of Americans are expected to shop Black Friday deals this Friday, November 26, as they make up lost time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though most will opt to shop online, countless will brave the crowds at actual stores. Bigger retail stores generally prepare for this shopping Armageddon tradition by hiring seasonal workers, opening their stores early and keeping the paramedics on speed dial. The sad reality is over the years, Black Friday mobs are getting rowdier, resulting in injuries and deaths.
The Truth Behind Black Friday Deaths and Injuries
Black Friday-related incidents, resulting in deaths and injuries, are not just a myth. In the last 12 years, there has been an average of 44 separate Black Friday incidents resulting in 11 deaths and 108 injuries in the United States. Most of these incidents (69 percent) occur inside retails stores, where tension runs high among shoppers fighting over limited stocked items on sale. In some years (2011), there were dozens of incidents; other years (2015), there were none.
The dramatic spike in 2011 can mostly be attributed to two in-store spraying incidents in the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart. In California, a woman sprayed other shoppers in the store over a Bratz doll in what was described as a customer-versus-customer shopping rage.
Causes of Black Friday Injuries and Deaths
The stereotypical Black Friday sale gone wrong includes a stampede caused by large crowds of over-eager shoppers waiting to get into the stores once they open. Other common causes include:
- Brawls and Fights
- Car Accidents
Perhaps the most common Black Friday injuries and deaths are the trampling incidents. In 2006, a shopping mall in Southern California decided to drop 500 gift certificates from the ceiling, into a crowd of 2,000 shoppers. Ten people, including an elderly woman, were injured in the resulting trampling.
Shootings have also been a more common occurrence in California. In Palm Desert, two men shot each other to death after their female companions got into a bloody fistfight at a Toys “R” Us.
Retailers may be responsible for Black Friday deaths and injuries for various reasons, such as failing to provide adequate security or inducing the mayhem by advertising ridiculous sales without being equipped to handle the turnout.
Tips to Avoid Black Friday Shopping Injuries and Accidents
For those who want to take advantage of the doorbuster deals on Black Friday, here are a few safety tips to consider to keep yourself out of harm’s way from violent shoppers:
- Shop online: Last year we saw a significant increase in online orders due to social distancing mandates brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shopping online has made it easy for consumers to take part in sales events or product drops in the comfort of their own homes. This is also a great way to participate in Black Friday without physically being involved in the madness.
- Avoid speeding: With two holidays in one weekend, Thanksgiving festivities stuff more than just our stomachs. The roads are jam-packed with travelers and shoppers, eager to get to their next party or store. Be extra cautious of your speed when behind the wheel, as the roads will be filled with both reckless and drunk drivers.
- Do NOT text and drive: The risks of accidents and injuries is at an all-time high during the holidays. Don’t increase your chances by texting while driving. The text can wait, the drivers around you won’t.
- Shop later in the weekend: Advertisements of Black Friday deals start as early as two weeks before the big day, hyping up consumers well in advance. As soon as those doors open, the swarm of eager shoppers rush in and overcrowd every inch of the store. Waiting until Saturday or Sunday to head to the mall may give you the opportunity to shop with more ease.
- Stay towards the back of the lines: With the crowd surges waiting at the store-front, the middle and front of the lines can get very chaotic, very fast. Making an effort to stand in the back will keep you safe from stampedes and getting trampled by intense shoppers.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Black Friday-related incident, you may have a valid personal injury claim and be entitled to compensation. The personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help. Our Orange County personal injury attorneys have experience in handling a variety of claims, including car accidents. With multiple offices located in Irvine, Anaheim, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Riverside and San Diego, our accident attorneys represent personal injury victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 949-727-9300.
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