Black Friday is all about the thrill of the hunt; getting up before dawn and stalking bargains in the dark. As exciting as the whole thing is, though, it's important to keep your safety in mind.
In 2008, a store worker was actually killed and a pregnant woman injured when people broke through the door of a New Jersey Wal-Mart store and trampled them. Two people were shot and killed at a Toys R Us in Palm Desert, California in a dispute between groups of shoppers that same year.
Beware the three types of danger lurking today:
If a crowd looks to be already kind of out of control at the store you're planning to visit, wait until the store has opened and the crazy people have passed through. And as tempting as it is to respond to jerky behavior with more of the same, sometimes you've just got to let the toy go and move on ... you never know who's packing heat and walking a thin line between normal and totally insane.
Shoppers aren't the only people out looking for bargains on Black Friday; thieves are too. Keep your purse shut, or carry your cash in a secure pocket, and stay aware of your surroundings. Be wary of walking to your car alone, especially when your arms are loaded with bags, and watch to make sure no one follows you home from the shopping center.
3. Bad drivers
The most likely thing to ruin your fun on Black Friday is a traffic accident. It's dark, sometimes icy or misty, and people are often distracted or in a hurry. Obey traffic lights, watch out for pedestrians, and for heaven's sakes remember that a $99 Blu-Ray player isn't worth your life or that of someone else. And try to dial down the competitiveness over parking spaces; parking far away and walking is actually good for you!
Image via Nedko Ivanov/Flickr