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Stay safe on "Black (and blue) Friday

Stay safe on "Black (and blue) Friday

November 21, 2012

The day after Thanksgiving has become known as “Black Friday.” The name comes from the fact that many retailers count on this day to put them into profit for the year, or “into the black.” In Hawaii, as well as all over the United States, shopping malls will see thousands throng their stores and restaurants hunting for sales events targeting Christmas shoppers. Popular Hawaii locations such as Ala Moana Center, Windward Mall and outlet centers in central Oahu will see their busiest days of the year.

The dramatically increased vehicle and human traffic at shopping malls, while a boon for retailers, poses dangers for shoppers and their children that should not be overlooked. Last year, many injuries were reported around the country, as eager shoppers scuffled over dwindling supplies of popular items. In 2011, shoppers at several locations of a popular national retailer around the U.S. were arrested, and/or pepper-sprayed for unruly, and even criminal behavior while trying to snatch up once a year holiday bargains.

Those seeking such bargains can keep safe on Black Friday by following a few simple, common-sense tips. While searching for parking at a busy shopping mall, for instance, drivers should keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times and mind pedestrians who may be distracted with heavy bundles, large carts, or wailing children. Always check for pedestrians before leaving a parking stall, and expect that a small child may be in your path but out of sight. Drive slowly, and expect that another driver will likely do something foolish.

While shopping, be sure to stay calm and avoid the mad rush of humanity that often accompanies the opening of popular retailers. In 2008, a Los Angeles retail worker was trampled to death by a crush of crazed shoppers when the store opened at midnight on Black Friday.

For those shopping with children, it is important to keep them close and know where they are at all times. Being lost in a crowd is terrifying for a young child, and can happen easily in a closely-packed crowd of thousands. Be sure to wear covered shoes, and keep laces tied at all times. Escalators and the feet of others can cause tripping or falling hazards easily, and increased traffic on Black Friday makes that danger even greater.

To avoid theft, keep a vehicle locked at all times, and never leave items unattended. Police statistics indicate that incidents of theft spike at shopping malls during the holidays.

We here at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner wish everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season this and every year. Safe holidays are happy holidays.

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