One of the biggest shopping events of the year is here – a day of extraordinary sales, swarms of shoppers, and crazy enticing deals. After Thanksgiving dinner and football game comes Black Friday, a day when Americans top the holiday with taking advantage of great deals for items like a new pair of kicks or a new 70-inch TV from their favorite retail shops.
But the huge crowd, the crazy deals, and limited stocks of items can spell disaster. People can take things a little too far, which results in violence, injuries, and deaths. In fact, since 2008, there had been 10 deaths related to Black Friday. There is a website specifically made to count Black Friday deaths to date.
As it is the largest retail store in the US, Walmart has the most reported incidents of violence. People are more competitive, and as a result, more prone to conflict at Walmart because it has the best Black Friday deals. Among the most common types of incidents are trampling, shooting, fights, stabbing, and car accidents.
In 2008, the first Black Friday death was recorded and it was that of a Walmart employee in Long Island who was trampled to death after some 2,000 shoppers rushed the door and stumped all over him. There were others who were injured at the store that day, but he was the only one who lost his life. That same year, two men died at a Toys R Us in Southern California after shooting each other to death over certain toys. In 2011, a 61-year old man, who was dealing a heart condition, died at a West Virginia Target store. He fell to the ground and countless customers at the store did nothing and just walked around and over him looking for bargains. The poor man was brought to the hospital later where he died. In 2016, a passer-by witnessed an angered shopper beating his wife at a parking lot. When he tried to intervene, he was shot dead by the Black Friday customer.
These are just four out of 10 deaths that occurred on this day.
In 2011, a teenage girl was trampled by shoppers at a Walmart. Similarly, in 2013, Walmart shoppers in Ohio trampled an 11-year old child. She was taken to the hospital and was treated for the injuries, and then released. A pepper spray attack in 2011 injured a total of 20 Walmart shoppers including children after a shopper pepper-sprayed people in multiple areas in the store in an effort to get a hold of discounted video games and toys. A Target worker lost control of her car out of exhaustion from the long Black Friday hours. She drove her car into a canal. The police rescued her and was treated at a local hospital.
- Plan ahead. Before stepping out of the house, you must know which stores you are going to and the items that you want to get.
- Pack light. Only carry items that you need. You will have a hard time navigating the aisles if you’re carrying a huge bag.
- Charge your phone. Make sure your phone is at 100% when you leave the house. Bring a portable charger if you have one. Have your emergency contacts and information handy, as well.
- Be kind. Everyone’s stressed, excited, eager, and competitive, but even the greatest deal of all time is not worth your safety or somebody else’s. Be kind out there – make sure that your actions at the store will not hurt yourself or others.
- Be alert. Leave if you sense that there is danger. If you feel unsafe, trust your instincts and leave the premises right away.
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