Are Black Friday Sales Really “To Die For”?

Pop quiz, which of the following is a real headline or website name:

  • “The Worst Black Friday Injuries and Deaths of All Time”
  • “The States Where You’re Most Likely to Encounter Fights at Black Friday Sales”
  • “Black Friday Death Count”

The bad news is that all three are real. The good news is that the Black Friday Death Count website, which has data dating to 2006, does not have any entries for 2015. And no, North Carolina is not one of the top 10 states “Where You’re Most Likely to Encounter Fights at Black Friday Sales” – though South Carolina did make the cut at No. 10.

‘Competitive Shopping’ Can Get Dicey

If you are among the millions of Americans who swarm to stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving, you already know that a few elbows are thrown as cash registers ring retailers into the black on one of the year’s busiest shopping days. Maybe you have been on the receiving end in the elbow wars. Maybe you have lost a parking space to someone who cut you off to get it. Undoubtedly you have seen the long lines at the doors before opening time and at the checkout counters after the shopping begins.

There is no excusing some of the behavior on display for the holidays, and these entries from the Black Friday Death Count website are solid proof of that:

  • In Tustin, Calif., in 2014, five people brawled at a Kohl’s department store “for unknown reasons.” What is known is that there were arrests and that two women had facial lacerations.
  • In New Boston, Ohio, in 2013, an 11-year-old girl was trampled in a line of shoppers queued up at a Wal-Mart. The first responders said she was treated at a hospital but not admitted.
  • In Claypool Hill, Va., in 2013, a dispute over a parking spot on Black Friday Eve escalated to a point where a firearm was brandished and one of the two men involved in the fracas was stabbed. Both survived, and both were charged.
  • In South Charleston, W.Va., in 2011, people stepped over and around a man who collapsed at a Target department store. Witnesses say people were so focused on bargain hunting that they ignored the man, who had suffered a heart attack. His wife said nurses who were there shopping did step in and administer first-aid until first responders arrived.
  • In the Los Angeles area in 2011, a woman armed with pepper spray injured 20 people as she engaged in what a fire captain described as “competitive shopping” at a Wal-Mart.

Staying Safe Is the Best Deal

Simple, common courtesy can keep Black Friday from turning truly dark. Here are tips to stay safe while shopping on Black Friday:

  • Every year, at least one crazed rush of shoppers makes headlines for mobbing a door when it opens. Don’t be that headline; be safe and courteous to employees and shoppers when entering the building.
  • Wait politely to check out. Do not hold places in line for other shoppers, and avoid pushing up against the people in front of you.
  • Let people pass through the line when they are still shopping.
  • Shouting matches and fights over the last item often break out in stores. Remember that you do not have to participate. Just move on.

Don’t Pay the Ultimate Price

Shopping is an everyday thing, and there is an expectation that you can do it safely. Unfortunately, the frenzy of Black Friday can create dangerous situations that lead to physical injury or even death. For example:

  • Pedestrians are at risk when harried, deal-crazed shoppers drive irresponsibly in parking lots, especially if there is no effort to responsibly manage the heavy traffic.
  • People go without sleep to push the shopping cart envelope, and then they jump behind the wheel to get to the next store or home – sometimes with disastrous results.
  • It’s winter, and that can mean icy, snowy sidewalks, with store entryways slippery from thousands of feet tracking in rain or slush. Falls also occur when shoppers jostle one another in crowded aisles, and stairs and escalators raise the risk of falls.
  • When marketing overrides common sense, stores sometimes clutter aisles in ways that pose a trip-and-fall risk.
  • Careless store clerks and shoppers sometimes create booby-traps: think heavy objects falling off high shelves; goods stacked carelessly high that can topple and crush.

Yes, dangerous conditions caused by other drivers, fellow shoppers, or negligent stores can put you at risk on Black Friday. And if the unexpected happens – and the fault lies with someone whose actions or failure to act results in harm to you or a loved one – a call to Warren & Kallianos can be the first step in pursuing the compensation you deserve.

The initial consultation is free, and the firm works on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless and until we secure compensation for you.

Contact us today to get started on your case.