Black Friday Shopping Safety and Situational Awareness
A month or so ago, I started writing a four-part series on situational awareness, which I hoped would make you think about your own situation. As sometimes happens to a business owner, I got distracted by a million other things (squirrel!) and never finished it. But with Christmas season coming up, I wanted to create another installment that focuses specifically on Christmas shopping safety.
Now you might be thinking that Christmas Black Friday shopping safety has something to do with how to guard against a Black Friday shopping stampede, but it actually has a number of facets you should be aware of. The following are in specific order… that is, the order in which they popped into my head while sipping my coffee this morning.
Check the house before you go – Situational awareness during the holidays begins before you even leave the house. Your decorations may look great, but close the drapes when you leave, so that prying eyes can’t see your stuff. Even if you’re only going to be gone for an hour, double check that your doors are secure and the alarm is set.
Park under a light – Even if there’s still sunlight when you arrive at the store, the sun sets early during winter, so leave the car in a place that allows you to see the surrounding area upon your return. And as you walk to the store, stay out of the traffic lanes of the parking lot – many drivers are paying more attention to finding a good space, so keep your head on a swivel.
Black Friday Shopping Stampede – This type of scenario is enough to get you to do all your Christmas shopping online, but I realize that there are a few things CampingSurvival.com doesn’t carry (ugly neckties, big screen TV’s, etc.) that you may have to get at the store.
- If you absolutely must get in a lineup outside a store, don’t take small children with you, as they can easily be knocked down.
- Try to plan out how you will get safely out of the way of the pushing crowd (maybe by moving to one side) once you get in the store.
- Keep your purse against your body or your wallet in your front pants pocket. It’s easy for someone to do a bump-and-snatch maneuver and be gone before you even know it.
- If people start pushing, stay cool and don’t get into a brawl. Either politely ask them to calm down or get out of there.
Most of all, if you’re standing in line and the entire crowd gets unruly, go with your gut and leave while it’s safe. There’s no point in being a casualty just to get a good deal on a coffee maker.
Shopping Safety Tips – So you’ve made it in the store without getting stomped, now what? Keep your purse or wallet with you all times and be aware of who’s around you. Leaving a handbag in your cart will invite people to swipe it while you’re busy looking at gifts, and thieves can reach inside an open purse even while it’s hanging off a woman’s shoulder. If someone gets in your personal space (including at check out), kindly ask them for a more room.
Alertness in the Parking Lot – On your way back to your car, know who’s around you and stay off your cell phone, so that you can pay maximum attention to drivers, as well as other pedestrians. Stick to open areas to walk, as opposed to cutting between rows of parked cars, since crooks sometimes hide there. Wait until you’re next to your car (and know that the surrounding area is clear) to hit the remote unlock button, and stay aware while loading. Once you’re finished loading, lock your doors and leave immediately – no sitting around with a big pile of gifts inviting some stranger to “ask for directions.”
You may not have thought of Christmas shopping as an opportunity to talk about preparedness, but having a prepper mindset and maintaining your situational awareness is something that is always a good thing to keep in mind. And if you really don’t want to deal with the traffic, the crowds and the checkout lines, you’re always welcome to call us and we’ll send everything right to your doorstep!
Stay prepared and be safe,