There's a certain irony that Black Friday -- a day of unbridled greed -- falls right after the holiday we celebrate by giving thanks for what we have. Nevertheless, New Yorkers will be out in force soon queuing up outside of department stores to snap up discounted bargains.
There's certainly nothing wrong with saving money and stretching your holiday budget a bit farther. However, Black Friday shoppers must be careful to avoid the injuries and even deaths that have befallen so many others out shopping for deals.
What makes this such a dangerous time to shop? The deep discounts on merchandise cause hordes of shoppers to descend on big box stores and malls all over America. The sheer number of shoppers rushing the door at opening time can crush anyone who stumbles and falls.
Perhaps most worrisome is the violence that some shoppers are willing to unleash on their fellow bargain hunters. Two years ago, just across the river in New Jersey, a volley of gunfire killed one shopper and injured another outside of a Macy's in a mall.
There is nothing on sale that is worth getting shot over. However, shoppers should feel safe in a store's environment regardless of the day of the year.
Stores have a responsibility to their customers to keep their premises safe and hazard-free. On Black Fridays, that might entail hiring a special security detail to patrol both the store and the parking lot to prevent gunshots or fistfights.
But they must also go a step farther and make sure that their merchandise itself doesn't pose safety risks to shoppers. Heavy items like flat screen TVs, sports equipment and anything else large or unwieldy should never be stacked up on high shelves. Should something come crashing down on the shoppers' heads and shoulders, the injuries could be catastrophic.
If you wind up injured due to a store's negligence this Black Friday, you may have a legitimate premises liability claim.