Tips To Keep Safe When Black Friday Shopping

Sunday, 17 Nov 2013, 9:07:00 AM

Mirror Staff

Every year as the holidays inch closer, so does Black Friday – and along with it, the need to plan accordingly for the safety of you and your loved ones if you plan to brave the increasingly rabid crowds in the hopes of snagging a great pre-holiday bargain.

Last year’s post-Thanksgiving retail shopping extravaganza drew an estimated 250 million shoppers across the country, and it’s anticipated that crowds will exceed that number this year.

Luckily security in Santa Monica was safer last year than the rest of the state.

2012 bore the unfortunate mark of being one of the most violent Black Fridays to date, which saw numerous in-store altercations, dozens of customers robbed of their merchandise as they left stores and at least two men wounded by gunfire in a parking lot dispute at a Tallahassee, FL Walmart.

Needless to say, it’s hardly ever been more important to have a safety plan in place to ensure that you and your loved ones get your shopping done safely. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind this Black Friday:

1. Plan ahead: It’s important to plan ahead as far as how you hope to navigate the retail maelstrom that we’ve all come to expect the day after Thanksgiving. Making a list of items and deals that you’ve had your eye on will save you a ton of browsing time and allow you to get much more shopping done. Map out your shopping day ahead of time and brace yourself for a long day full of waiting in line.

2. Bring a friend: It’s important to have a friend along for numerous reasons. It certainly won’t hurt having an extra pair of hands around to help you carry your prized new big-screen TV home. Plus, having a buddy along will go a long way in deterring any would-be parking lot thieves.

3. Hide it or lose it: Every year, hundreds of Black Friday shoppers report merchandise stolen from them in parking lots. The majority of these robberies occur in parking lots, when the shopper leaves their merchandise in their car as they continue shopping. If you can’t go straight home after completing your purchase, be sure to secure and hide all bags, tags or other obvious indicators of high-value merchandise in your vehicle.

4. Plan for the worst: Sounds morbid, but in light of recent Black Fridays, it doesn’t hurt to plan for the worst. Keep an eye out for loiterers perched by or around your vehicle. If you’re shopping with children, designate a rendezvous point inside each store that you visit. Keep your valuables, wallet and/or purse close to you at all times.

5. Stay at home?: Consider staying home for Black Friday. Tons of online retailers, including many of the most popular brick-and-mortar stores (Best Buy, WalMart, Fry’s Electronics) hold out on their biggest discounts until the Monday after Thanksgiving for an online shopping event often referred to as Cyber Monday. Beat the crowds and shop for bargains from the comfort of your own home!

For more information on Black Friday safety and security, visit www.guardnow.com.

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