The day after Thanksgiving has become known as Black Friday, supposedly a reference to the positive financial health of retailers as they move from being “in the red” to being “in the black.” Many decades ago, however, the term had a negative connotation when it was used by Philadelphia police to describe the problems they had to deal with when crowds and traffic poured into the city. I’m thinking Philly probably had it right.
Every year the malls and big-box stores open earlier, trumpeting what great deals can be had for those few lucky shoppers who get one of the limited quantity available or who manage to snatch up a prized article before the time limit expires. Psychologists say the crowds of Black Friday shoppers are motivated by a number of factors: a competitive spirit; the hunting/gathering instinct; the physical and mental challenge; and the comfort of participating in what, for many, has become a family tradition.
Saving money by finding a bargain is a good thing; bonding with family and friends is a good thing; stimulating the economy is a good thing. But every year we hear news reports of bad things happening on Black Friday, things like these…
Sometimes when a crowd gathers, awaiting the opening of a store advertising unbelievably good deals for a few lucky customers, that crowd becomes frenzied and starts pushing. One of the most infamous such incidents was the 2008 Black Friday stampede at a New York Walmart in which a worker was killed by the rushing crowd and four others were injured.
In 2011, twenty customers were injured in Los Angeles when a woman used pepper spray to disable other shoppers so she could get a cheap Xbox video game player.
A Connecticut man hit another shopper in a fight while waiting to buy video games. He was then subdued by police with a stun gun.
In a Texas Sears store, a man punched another customer in order to get to the front of the line, prompting a third man to pull out a gun. The gunslinger had a concealed carry permit, so he was not charged.
An Arizona Walmart shopper was thought to be attempting to shoplift and was slammed to the ground by local police. He received a settlement in his police-brutality lawsuit which alleged false arrest and assault and battery.
An off-duty North Carolina police officer used pepper spray on customers vying for discounted cellphones.
And the worst: In Lithonia, Georgia, a man allegedly shoplifted two DVD players from a Walmart. He was chased down by two employees and a security guard and put in a chokehold. When police arrived, they found the man bloodied and unresponsive. He died at the hospital.
Parking Lot Injuries
At a Tallahassee big-box store, some shoppers got into a fight over a parking space. The violence escalated and two people were taken to the hospital with gunshot injuries.
An intoxicated man ran down two victims in a Walmart parking lot. He was charged with vehicular assault.
A California shopper was shot after he and family members resisted two armed men trying to steal their purchases. He was in critical condition; the shooter was arrested for attempted homicide and robbery.
In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a man was struck on the head and a woman shot in the leg by assailants in a Walmart parking lot.
A 14-year-old Maryland boy was robbed of his purchases by five men in the parking lot of a Bed Bath & Beyond store.
Your Legal Remedies for Shopping Injuries
Accidents and assaults can happen at any time of the year, not just on Black Friday. A personal injury attorney can help you receive compensation if you have been harmed by:
- A slip and fall because of a spill or debris in the aisle
- Falling merchandise
- Icy sidewalks or slippery entrances
- Inadequate security
- Defective shopping carts
- Failure to warn of hazards
- Malfunctioning escalators or elevators
- The death of a loved one.
We urge you to stay safe this year. Avoid the maddening crowd. Be careful in parking lots. Don’t get into a confrontation; you may be arguing with someone who has an Indiana concealed carry permit. If you do suffer an injury this year in the Black Friday frenzy, call Mike Stephenson of McNeely Stephenson for assistance with your personal injury claim.