As the holiday season draws ever closer, many people are setting their sights on Black Friday and its many deals. Unfortunately for any deal seekers out there, there aren’t enough deals to go around. This causes a lot of stress and even a lot of fights the day of the sale.
What’s more, there are many people out there looking to take advantage of people who are too focused on finding the best deal. In order to avoid any potential theft, it is important for every Black Friday shopper to take the proper precautions. After all, anything bad happening on Black Friday would be a rough start to the Christmas season.
In the Parking Lot
Before any shopper even gets to a store, they have to deal with the parking lot. Finding parking can be difficult even on a good day. On Black Friday, parking lots can become incredibly dangerous between half asleep shoppers and rushing drivers. Then throw a few crooks into the mix and it is easy to understand why people need to be extra careful on this day.
Here are some tips for staying safe in parking lots on Black Friday:
- Always lock doors and roll up windows when leaving the car, no matter how quick the trip inside may be.
- At night, avoid parking in dark, secluded areas. Try parking close to street lights to increase visibility.
- Avoid parking near large trucks or vans that reduce visibility and provide hiding spots for crooks.
- Be careful backing out of spots. Cars may be waiting for the spot, rushing down the aisle, or there may be a pedestrian walking by.
- Be extra cautious while driving through parking lots. There will be more pedestrians and traffic than normal.
- Be patient when looking for a parking spot. Don’t rush to take a spot from someone else and try to avoid causing, or giving into, road rage.
- Bring gifts into the house once home. Never try to hide them in a car as they are easier to steal there.
- Have car keys in hand when leaving the store. This way there is no fumbling for them when approaching the car, which can make a person an easier target.
- Hide all gifts and other purchased items in the trunk of the car, or keep them hidden inside the car. A passing thief could see them and decide that breaking a window for the goodies within is worth it.
- Remember parking spots to avoid wandering around the lot while carrying bags looking for the car.
- Try to check under cars when approaching them. Thieves have been known to hide underneath them.
In the Stores
Once in a store, a person will have to deal with all of the crowds that Black Friday deals bring out. This is a great place for pickpockets to lie in wait, so it is important to remain on guard in the store as well.
- Avoid using purses as these are easier to steal from. However, if using a purse, never leave it unattended.
- Avoid walking alone since that makes a person more of a target. If possible, ask a security guard to walk you to your vehicle.
- Don’t carry too much at once. When carrying large amounts of stuff, a person is less able to defend themselves from crooks.
- Don’t fight over items with other customers. This will just cause a lot of anger for all parties involved and with the internet, it is always possible to find the item online.
- If using an ATM, use one in a well-lit and populated area. Do not throw away the receipt at the ATM.
- Leave stores way before closing. Preferably before it gets dark.
- Preferably leave children at home where there are no crowds that they can get lost in. If kids have to be brought, make sure they have cellphones or have contact information memorized. Designate a meeting place in the event that anyone gets separated.
- Stay hydrated and well-fed on long shopping trips to prevent fatigue and dehydration.
- Try to carry keys and money separately in pockets. That way if one is stolen, the other isn’t.
- Use a single credit/debit card while shopping instead of cash. If a card is stolen, it can be deactivated and the thief gets nothing and deactivating one is easier than deactivating all of them. If cash is stolen, there is little the victim can do to get it back.
Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas season and it is a day when many people begin their Christmas shopping. It can be a very busy, exciting, and frustrating day. If a person is considering going shopping on Black Friday, they need to be prepared for all of the crowds and chaos.