Shopping. Seems like a pretty safe activity, except maybe for your credit card balance. However, safety isn't always guaranteed when you participate in Black Friday madness. Take heed.

TUTORIAL: Credit And Debt Management: Repairing Credit

It's difficult to believe that people would get so intent on saving money that death would result, but that's exactly what happened in 2008. A mob of shoppers at a Long Island, N.Y. Walmart smashed through front doors and trampled an employee, resulting in his death. Four shoppers were also injured.

In a less violent (but equally sad) incident in 2011, a man dropped dead of a heart attack in a West Virginia Target and went nearly unnoticed as shoppers worked around his body to grab deals from the shelves.

Out-of-control mobs may not be the norm, even for Black Friday shopping experiences, but large crowds are. And with large crowds of people all eager to get the same deal on the same items, you're going to deal with some pushing and shoving. Shopping injuries may usually fall into the minor category, but it does beg the question: is that great discount on a set of sheets really worth the bruises you'll have for the next week?

More recently, there was tragedy in a Walmart parking lot in Tallahassee, Fla., where a man and woman were shot during an argument over a parking spot. Though their injuries weren't fatal, the severity of the reaction to something as meaningless as a parking dispute demonstrates how easily people lose perspective on Black Friday.

A full list of Black Friday deaths and injuries can be found at

Both foot traffic on sidewalks and vehicular traffic will increase before, during and after Black Friday. Heavy traffic may not be hazardous, but it's certainly not pleasant. Don't count on making quick exits and entrances. Do count on standing in long lines to make your purchases, and expect a very slow pace when navigating store parking lots.

Sold Out!
Since Black Friday discounts attract such a large number of shoppers, stores can't always keep up with the demand for products on sale. You may brave the traffic, risk the injury and make it to your store just to find that they've sold out of the product you wanted.

If your store of choice hasn't sold out of your product of choice, you face another pitfall of Black Friday shopping: the other shoppers competing for that same product. Ask any seasoned Black Friday shopper and you'll get war stories of shoppers grabbing toys and electronics, fighting over discounted items, grabbing products from other people's shopping carts and topping off the whole experience with insults and expletives.

The Bottom Line
When it comes to Black Friday shopping, common sense should prevail. If you can handle the potential problems and it's worth your potential gain, venture forth with good grace, a few snacks and patience. And maybe wear a helmet. (To know your options for Black Friday Shopping, check out: Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams.)

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    10 Retailers With Incredibly Flexible Return Policies

    You may not always know what to buy for some people on you gift list, but at least you can make sure the gift is easy to return.
  2. Budgeting

    Tips For Avoiding A Holiday Spending Hangover

    You don't have to go into debt to have a happy and memorable holiday season. Use these tips for a bountiful Yuletide on a Scrooge-like budget.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Steve Jobs And The Apple Story

    Discover the lessons you can learn from Steve Jobs, with a brief history of Apple.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    2 Key Tactics Retailers Use To Increase Sales

    Many companies use versioning and bundling to increase sales. These strategies can offer value to consumers, but they also mean higher costs.
  5. Budgeting

    5 Money-Saving Shopping Tips

    Reducing the amount you spend is the easiest way to make your money grow.
  6. Economics

    Explaining Like-for-Like Sales

    Companies use like-for-like sales figures to compare sales volume from one period to another.
  7. Home & Auto

    Luxury Cars with the Best Resale Value

    Autos rarely appreciate in value. But if you want a set of wheels that'll least hold its value over time, these cars can go the distance.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Markets Are Tanking: Time to Buy Like Buffett

    Learn about three value stocks Warren Buffett holds in his portfolio. See how Buffett uses market declines to find good deals on stocks.
  9. Stock Analysis

    How Expensive Is Whole Foods, Really?

    Learn about Whole Foods Market, Inc., and discover how Whole Foods pricing actually compares to that of other grocery store operations.
  10. Stock Analysis

    4 Quick Service Restaurants for Your Portfolio

    Learn about the four quick service restaurants with attractive investment theses and growth prospects that can be valuable additions to your portfolio.
  1. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can I invest in electronic retailing (e-tailing)?

    Electronic retail is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. Every year, more people are choosing to purchase ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between JIT (just in time) and CMI (customer managed inventory)?

    Just-in-time (JIT) inventory management focuses solely on the need to replenish inventory only when it is required, reducing ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What economic indicators are important to consider when investing in the retail sector?

    The unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rank as two of the most important economic indicators to consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What factors make it difficult to compare performance ratios between retail stocks?

    Companies that operate in the retail sector significantly differ in terms of their profitability and efficiency, making stock ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Purchasing Power

    The value of a currency expressed in terms of the amount of goods or services that one unit of money can buy. Purchasing ...
  2. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  3. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  4. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  5. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  6. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!