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Black (Belt) Friday: Shopping takes back seat to safety on busiest day of retail

When it comes to shopping on "Black Friday," the rules are hardly black and white.
Everyone associates the day after the Thanksgiving holiday as the busiest and most hectic shopping day of the season, but one that is filled with sales, specials and deals that somehow manage to convince you to leave the house before the turkey and stuffing has time to fully digest.
Still, consumers can't wait for "Black Friday" to arrive in the hopes that they'll be first in line for finishing a holiday shopping list that starts with "door buster" deals and "in stock" item guarantees that give new meaning to the mantra of holiday cheer.
But beyond the shopping, specials and savings, "Black Friday" has an uglier side, one that is littered with lots of pushing and shoving, longer lines and even shorter fuses. You'd probably not assume that safety is paramount as part of something as simple as shopping, but customers should truthfully enter the "Black Friday" endeavor armed with a game plan and a clear understanding of just how riotous and ravenous the crowds will be.
Should safety be a concern on "Black Friday?" Anyone who has taken part in this mass hysteria and underlying desperation to have the latest and greatest gifts at a fraction of the cost would emphatically answer "absolutely."

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Stress runs roughshod over crowds gathering in droves and clamoring for gifts that often come in small amounts. Retailers reign supreme on "Black Friday" and seemingly dangle deals in front of you with little regard to the outcome.
One would assume after watching customers argue and potentially come to blows over an Xbox One that this fight should be taken outside, perhaps for good. That probably isn't going to happen as the lure of saving money trumps even passing thoughts of taking one to the chin for the sake of a few dollars.
Jarrett Arthur is a self defense expert, and she's taught her fair share of students during her time. Typically, that teaching takes place within a training center or gym, but who's to say that you shouldn't at least be moderately prepared from a self defense standpoint within the formerly friendly confines of a shopping mall or department store.
Arthur offers a few tips that don't border on punches, kicks or throws but rather a rudimentary, common sense approach to "Black Friday" shopping. She's quick to point out such techniques as always assuming crowds are dangerous or having an escape plan, similar to the one you'd employ when you're flying and trouble begins to brew. If you're shopping with friends or family, Arthur stresses, make sure they're in on the plan as well.
Often the most vulnerable shoppers are the ones with their proverbial head in the clouds and don't pay much attention to what is happening around them. They might be new to the hustle and bustle of "Black Friday" and are filled with optimism that nothing can possibly go wrong.
That mentality might make the difference between avoiding a mad rush to the electronics department versus being unwittingly trampled by a herd of hard pressed and heavy duty shoppers.
Arthur also encourages customers to not only focus on what's happening inside the mall or retail store but also the dangers once you exit the premise. The holidays are synonymous for not only shopping for hours but also the idea that burglars and criminals of all shapes and sizes prey on the exhausted, lethargic consumer after a long, weary day of buying.
You're an easy target if you're not totally paying attention as you're walking through the parking lot and to your car. It's advisable to go out in groups or have some sort of reasonable self defense mechanism within reach, such as pepper spray, should an unfortunate situation arise.
You'd also be advised to shop in moderation, if you choose to do so alone. Realistically, if you're struggling with far too many shopping bags, how do you plan on defending yourself or being alert should the situation call for it.
"Black Friday" is nothing short of sheer pandemonium from a variety of facets. Whether you're engaged in a shouting match with a fellow shopper or forced to keep your head on a swivel for incoming persons from all directions, your fun filled day of holiday buying has quickly transformed into a hard and fast lesson on crowd disruption and bedlam, devoid of sensibility or definitive rules.
Except for the ones that you employ for yourself to ensure your safety.

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