Most people are already familiar with the notoriety of Black Friday. For those that aren’t, Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving that kicks off the holiday shopping season. Retailers reduce their prices to entice more people out shopping since most people have a four day weekend due to American Thanksgiving. Canada doesn’t have the same long weekend but retailers adopted the practice of reducing their prices in order to keep Canadians shopping locally instead of travelling to America to take advantage of their sales. In the past, some of these exclusive sales have led to some chaos and miniature stampedes inside stores. This week we will be discussing ways of staying safe, while out shopping in the community this weekend.

When shopping…

With more people out and about, be extra careful with your valuables. Continuously check your pockets for your wallet and phone and make sure that your purse is zipped up and kept close to your body.  When paying, don’t take your money out until you need to as it is easier for someone to grab it and run if you’re standing around with it out. Try to keep your purchases to one credit card. If the 2013 Target information breach taught us anything, it is that you want to limit the number of information breaches, it is best to use one credit/debit card for all of your purchases. Using one card also makes it easier to monitor the purchases as they go on your statements to make sure there was no fraudulent activity.

If your children will be joining you for your shopping trip, make sure to show them the areas where they can find assistance in case you get separated. Let them know that they can also approach any staff working in the stores and they will be able to help security secure the child so that you can be reunited.

Even if you aren’t shopping be weary of the roads

Be aware that there will be a lot of aggressive drivers out and about. Make sure to drive defensively and be patient when looking for parking. If you are mobile, consider parking further away and walking so that those people that aren’t as mobile have a better chance of getting parking closer to the doors. When walking through a parking lot, be vigilant for people pulling out of parking spots and avoid weaving through cars as drivers will be less likely to see you.

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Do not trust that others are driving carefully. Avoid storing your belongings in your vehicle as running out your bags can be seen by anyone else in the parking lot and might make your vehicle a target for a break in. If you are storing things in your car or arrive from another location with bags you are leaving in your car, make sure that the bags aren’t easily visible.

Even online shopping can be dangerous

If you opt to avoid the chaos of the stores and instead will be participating in online sales, make sure you stick to retailer websites that you know and trust. If a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

A helpful app that you should consider using on your Chrome browser is Honey. It will sit on your browser and when you go to check out of a website it will either pop-up letting you know that there are available coupons to use or you can click it’s icon and have it try any coupons it can find to see if you can get a discount before purchasing!

In order to protect your budget, make a list of all the people that you want to buy for, what you want to get for them, and a budget that you do not budge with.  Remember that some places might raise their prices right before the sales begin so that they don’t have to lose as much money. Be scrupulous about the deals that you see and gauge if it actually seems like a deal. If you know what you are getting people before you go shopping, you can try to research the price beforehand to figure out what a discounted price should actually look like. 

If you are going out into the community to brave the retail sales, make sure to follow our tips and you will be sure to have a much safer Black Friday.