It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Well, maybe not.
The holidays are supposed to be the most joyous time of the year, but you and I both know that, while the holidays are wonderful, they can also be extremely stressful. The stores are crowded, the traffic is insane, and there’s not enough time in the day to go to your son’s holiday concert, bake cookies for the bake sale, attend the holiday party, and maintain your full-time job. Let’s be real: the stores are crazy, and they are full of crazed people. Everyone is trying to get the best deal, especially if you’re venturing out for Black Friday. It may seem odd, but holiday shopping safety has become essential.
During the holidays, people are stressed and they’re usually taking on more than they can chew. That makes them careless and vulnerable to theft. There’s a reason the holidays are well-loved by thieves. Shopping malls and stores often extend their hours, so tired shoppers find themselves searching for the perfect gift or filling their carts in a zombie-like trance after work. Then they wander to the dark parking lot, digging through their bags to find their keys while trying to remember where they parked their car. Thieves prey on opportunities such as this. They can easily blend with a crowd, pickpocketing and shoplifting. The fact that police are usually especially busy during the holidays also makes it easier for them to steal. While police and loss prevention staff are taking care of petty theft in-store, professional thieves can break into cars and scam people who are alone.
To avoid being a victim of a holiday crime, you can try some of these tips while out and about:
- Stay alert in stores and when you are out in the parking lot
- Shop during the day or shop with a friend at night
- Skip wearing the expensive jewelry
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash
- Forgo carrying a purse or wallet if you can. Stick to a secure travel pouch if possible.
While you may be subjected to thieves, accidents are also common during holiday shopping, and some of the same tips apply. People get a little crazy on Black Friday, and injuries aren’t unheard of. Wear comfortable clothing without the extra frills that can get caught on people. Wear sensible shoes, both to avoid tripping and getting stepped on, and to avoid slipping in icy conditions. Be kind to other people. Give yourself space to avoid flying elbows and people fighting. Avoid joining the mobs of people entering stores right when they open. And if you do plan on joining the mob, be sure you have a first aid kit on hand.
So while you protect yourself from thievery, also be sure you don’t get trampled by people trying to get the last television!