By Samuetta Hill Drew
Looking through the sale ads for Black Friday bargains has almost become as common on Thanksgiving Day as looking at the Macy Day Parade. It has turned into an event often involving the entire family with early bird shopping sales for the savvy shopper. It’s a time many shoppers look forward to each year. It actually marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The thrill of the Black Friday crowds and the bargains equals a recipe for savings on our favorite items, but it can also equal a recipe for being preyed upon by thieves who also look forward to this holiday shopping season. Therefore, safety measures should be a part of your shopping strategy.
Plan a designated location and time to meet up. Be specific like the “women’s shoe department” or the “computer department” in the particular store. Remember all stores don’t have good cell reception so this planned location and time should be decided upon prior to shopping.
Make sure you clean out your trunk to ensure enough trunk space for purchased items before leaving your home. You don’t want to leave your purchases in plan sight inside of your car. This is an invitation for thieves. You want them locked in your trunk.
Make sure you remember where you parked. Write down your location or take a picture of your surroundings so you won’t be wandering around a parking lot or deck with hands filled with shopping bags. Make sure you check the back seat or underneath your vehicle. Immediately contact the store/mall security department if you see someone inside or underneath your vehicle or feel uncomfortable going to your vehicle.
Don’t flash the cash. Consider using alternate options for your merchandise such as a onetime or multi-use disposable credit card. Wait until the sales clerk asks for your payment before taking out your wallet showing off your credit cards and cash to a potential thief.
If you’re shopping with children, make a safety plan just in case you get separated in the crowd. Select a particular meeting place. Make sure your children memorize your cell number or have it somewhere on them like inside their pocket. Teach them to tell a sales clerk or security guard if they get lost. Also make sure your child knows your entire name. It may sound silly, but they call you “mommy” and small children may not realize your entire first and last name.
Don’t become a Black Friday shopping victim … Keep an Eye on Safety.