If any of you are like my family, you are probably creating some sort of strategic list of where to hit and when.
Well I would like to take a moment or two to help you stay safe this Friday and hopefully we can avoid this.
That video is just....ridiculous. Is that what people want their children to know about the holidays? That it is just about mommy or daddy fighting for their lives to get a toy or doll or video game? Let's take a step back, realize we are here to HELP one another and try to be as safe as possible; both for ourselves and for our neighbors.
I have been scouring the internet for all the best safety tips and practices so I now present to you the 10 best to remember this while preparing this Thursday!
- Have a good awareness of your surroundings. You never know when things will go sour. Whether you are outside waiting to get in, or inside perusing, be alert and attentive. If you see any "mob" behavior forming, just leave the area. Its not worth it getting Timmy a Wii U if it means you have to spend the holidays in the E.R.
- It is really recommended that you leave the little ones at home. If you must bring children with you, make sure you have a plan if separated. Select a meeting place/central location and stick to it. I don't recommend one of those "kid leashes" but keep an eye on them, its easy to get distracted with so much going on. If you are shopping with friends/family, stay close and be ready to defend or pull to safety if the schnitzel hits the fan.
- Avoid getting into a verbal or (and especially) a physical altercation. It should go without saying but even verbal arguments can escalate very quickly. Gaming systems, electronics, etc. are often culprits here. Make sure you have a cell phone with you in case of an emergency and the need to contact the cops or another friend/family member.
- Remember you are a human and not an octopus! Buy only as much as you can carry. Setting down a whole slew of bags to look at a deal on hand towels is definitely not going to be worth it when you realized someone nabbed the Tablet out of your bag and slipped it into theirs.
- Car safety. Let me explain this in two parts. One is that you need to conceal your purchases. Lock your new stuff in the trunk, nothing screams "Take me, take me" to a thief then a 50" flatscreen tv clearly visible in a car with a bunch of bags next to it. Second, have your keys ready while walking to your car! And make sure to check your back seat and around your vehicle before getting in.
- Ladies, please strongly consider wearing (or even investing in) a cross body bag. Stylish or not, a pickpocket will hard a much more difficult time getting to your wallet/important items if they are close and secure to your body while shopping even in the biggest of crowds.
- Probably goes without saying but, save your receipts! This time of year, most places won't take your stuff back unless you have receipts. Not only for yourself (those clothes you bought on a whim and decided you didn't want) but also for those you gift. In the heat of the shopping experience, you may have forgotten that little Suzie already has that My Little Pony and now she is stuck with two (I've been a fly on the wall for THAT conversation).
- Embrace 2012 and our wonderous technology! Guess what? A lot of Black Friday deals aren't even going on in stores. Online shopping is a way to curb some of the tramplings & stampedes of Black Friday. Who doesn't love shopping from the comfort of their own home in their PJ's? Just make sure that site you are buying from is credible. If the deal is too good, it probably is. And never give your credit card information if you have second guesses on who might be receiving it on the other end.
- Set up a game plan. Figure out where you will go and when. My family does this every year at Thanksgiving and they seem to have a good Black Friday outing every year. Just like a good salesman doesn't just get into his car and drive somewhere to pitch a product, you have to make a plan of attack so you can be everywhere you want to be and get home safely and in good time. Stop at home (or a relative's if they're closer) to empty your vehicle if it gets too full (remember rule 5).
- Lastly, if you see an unattended bag or package, tell a security guard or store employee right away. You can never be too careful, and some people are just plain "nuts."