Whether you are for it or against it Black Friday has become as much a part of Thanksgiving as the turkey and cranberry sauce. It is a day known for savings, large volumes of people and crashing systems throughout the U.S. Unfortunately in all the excitement as the prices decrease, accidents and exposure to theft becomes more prominent.
- Call Ahead. Looking for a particular item? Call and see if it is still available. Also, call in advance and ask how that item will be distributed. Sometimes vouchers are handed out before the store opens while customers are waiting in line.
- Call a Friend. Divide and conquer! Shopping can be done faster and more efficient with a friend.
- Charge your phone. Phones can be used form more than finding the best deal. Besides running your battery down looking for for the next store and using GPS functions, you may need it to call if separated.
- How will you buy? Cash, check, or credit? a phrase you should ask yourself beforehand. If you know your limit for the day perhaps a pre-loaded disposable credit card would be best to carry and leave the wallet at home or as Jessica Sneed, a Claims Representative for GFBI, suggests to dust off the old fanny pack to help store your valuables and deter pick-pocketing.
The Parking Lot
- Picking a Spot. Avoid parking between large vehicles, such as 2 vans or trucks. Also, choose a well lit area.
- Secure Storage. Emanuel Monroe, A GFBI Claims Rep, advises: not go from store to store with large items visible in your vehicle, these are prime targets for holiday thieves. Always lock your packages up in a trunk. Avoid truck beds, seats and floor boards.
- Pedestrians. Be extra cautious of people running from vehicles to the store across the parking lot.
- Bring a buddy. Erin Tolbert, a Claims Content Specialist at GFBI, advises to use the buddy system – not only does this help with waiting in line, but when you are leaving the store and going into a dark parking lot you are less likely to be a target if you aren’t alone.
- Slow Down. Parking up front could cause you time if you are looking to shop several stores. Instead of waiting on vehicles searching for parking spots, in line for loading and unloading or pedestrians crossing at the store front. Park and walk! Not only can this save shopping time, it can be a good way to work off some of that turkey.
At the Store
- Trip and Falls. It is easy to trip in a big crowd. If people are pushing it can be worse. If you are a store owner have your medical kits on stand-by and try to have the aisles clear as much as possible to protect your liability. Customers, if you fall or injure yourself, do not put off medical treatment.
- Pay Attention. Jessica Sneed, A GFBI Claims Rep, advises to avoid anyone with aggressive behavior. If drawn into a situation leave and don’t peruse a fight. Fighting can lead to a claim against your home’s liability.
- Make a Plan. If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.
- Don’t be a Target. Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
Remember, there is always cyber Monday and other sales. Saving on an item and spending on a deductible or lost time due to an accident isn’t worth the risk. Kacey Favors, A GFBI Claims rep, advises “Don’t Go”, but if you do as so many of us will be careful. A little preparation and vigilance can help make for a happy and safe season.
To find more useful shopping tips and personal safety information, visit the National Crime Prevention Council.