BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – As fall marches on towards winter, the sounds of overused cash registers fill pumpkin spice laden air and customers who typically view shopping as retail therapy are rolling up their sleeves to prepare for the warzone that is Black Friday.

That might be a tad overdramatic.

But it’s true that as Black Friday approaches, savvy consumers typically begin fleshing out a plan of attack.

Their strategies answer questions such as: Which stores will I hit first and at what time? Which purchases should be made online and which ones are better suited for in-person excursions?

Clearly, there’s a lot to consider.

But the list above lacks one key aspect to a Black Friday shopping plan.

The missing thought for consideration is related to the fact that in 2017, Louisiana was reportedly listed as one of the top five U.S. states where Black Friday violence is most likely to occur.

This is why it’s pivotal to consider how local consumers can enjoy a safe Black Friday.

Taking a moment to briefly consider the safety checklist below may prevent a bad experience for you and for your loved ones.

Reduce your chances of becoming a victim of theft

  • Two tips on preventing theft come from State Farm insurance, which suggests: “Keep your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket,” and “Don’t take your money out until asked and don’t flash a lot of cash.”
  • When it comes to avoiding online theft while checking out online specials, PC Magazine advises against shopping at online stores that request too much information from you. It says, “Be wary when online stores ask for more than they need. They certainly don’t need to know your Social Security number—a merchant that even asks for it isn’t one you should patronize. If a site’s checkout form includes data fields that aren’t in any way necessary for the transaction, that’s a sign you may want to reconsider the purchase.” 

Be mindful of personal safety while shopping

  • Being in a crowd doesn’t necessarily mean attackers won’t try and find a target to victimize. To minimize the chance of earning a dreaded spot on their radar, Guardian Protection suggests parking in a well-lit area and staying aware of your surrounding when leaving and arriving at your vehicle. It also recommends storing shopping bags in the trunk instead of in plain sight.
  • Along those line, State Farm advises locking your vehicle, keeping your keys in hand while walking back to your vehicle, and briefly checking under and around your automobile before getting inside.

An additional reminder that’s more helpful than safety-related, is to keep all receipts of purchases made during your shopping excursion. This way, if you later decide to make an exchange or return, you can present the appropriate receipt to facilitate a relatively headache-free transaction.

Hopefully, the suggestions above will contribute to a pleasant and successful shopping experience this Black Friday (November 25) and Cyber Monday (November 28)!