GREENSBORO, NC - Black Friday. You might think of good deals. You might think of the pushing, arguing and mob of people rushing to get those good deals.
The sad part is, people do get hurt.
There’s a website called BlackFridayDeathCount.com. No joke. And it keeps an unofficial count of deaths and injuries related to Black Friday. It’s a sad reminder that people get hurt and sometimes killed on a day related to shopping.
But, the good news is, deaths and injuries don’t seem to happen as often as one might think.
The website dates to 2006 and relies solely on media accounts of Black Friday incidents. The website claims in the last 10 years, there’s been 10 deaths and 105 injuries.
Here’s a quick breakdown.
2006- 11 injuries
2007- none reported
2008- 3 deaths, 6 injuries
2009- 1 injury
2010- 2 injuries
2011- 1 death, 46 injuries (20 of those injuries were later contested by a North Carolina police department.)
2012- 2 deaths, 11 injuries
2013- 1 death, 15 injuries
2014- 5 injuries
2015- none reported
2016- 3 deaths, 7 injuries
Not every death or injury happened in the United States or inside a store. In 2012, a California father crashed after an all-day shopping spree. He only had three hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. The crash killed his two daughters.
A year later, a man was stabbed in a Wal-Mart parking lot over a parking spot. In 2016, a San Antonio man was helping a woman being beaten in a Wal-Mart parking lot and was shot dead.
Other instances happened inside large stores. Twenty people were pepper sprayed by a woman in a Los Angeles area Wal-Mart in 2011. The fire chief called the incident a case of “competitive shopping.” And in 2013, a shopper pepper sprayed another over an argument about a TV in New Jersey.
Of course, not all of this falls on the store. The people themselves must be held responsible for their own actions. But, still, stores do what they can to prevent serious injuries. We went to Belk Friendly Center in Greensboro to talk to the store manager about their plans. Belk hasn't reported any serious incidents inside their stores, but they take precautions to make sure customers are safe.
“We have extra police presence here in the buildings and we also go ahead and make sure we assign executives to different places in the store, like top and bottoms of escalators and elevators just to make sure we don’t overload them,” said Store Manager, Laura Danclovic.
Belk opens Thanksgiving Day at 4pm until Friday at 1am. The stores reopen at 6am. Danclovic said her team spends six weeks preparing for the busy shopping day and prepare for shoppers to run through the doors because of their annual boot sale.
“They will be charging in but we try to go ahead and let people know, there will be plenty, so relax, calm down and enjoy it.”
Employees and managers are also trained to interact with customers and deescalate any situation to make sure they know why the customer might be upset.
In addition, Danclovic said almost every employee will work on Black Friday and they try to make sure their employees avoid fatigue.
“We go ahead and make sure they have adequate breaks during the evening and during the course of the next day. We make sure we have water for them, coffee for them, snacks, food and we are making sure our managers are keeping an eye on their team.”
This is important, as, according to the Huffington Post, employee accidents can happen due to exhaustion. In 2011, a Target employee was rescued from a canal after working the night shift and losing control of her vehicle on the way home.
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