While many people are preparing their menus and cars for Thanksgiving travel, others are also preparing for the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. Black Friday didn’t always mean a deeply discounted day of shopping. Other than referring to the stock market crash, the term Black Friday was coined in Philadelphia by police to describe the traffic chaos caused by citizens and tourists pouring into town for the Army-Navy football game. It wasn’t until the late 80s that Black Friday took on the meaning that we all now associate it with, where shoppers could get deeply discounted merchandise and retailers went from being in the “red” to being in the “black.” Though, that’s not entirely the truth, either.
The Hustle reports on the tragic data behind Black Friday deaths.
According to the National Retail Federation, more than 50% of the country’s adult population will participate in Black Friday shopping.
It seems that with every Black Friday there is a report of at least one shopper being injured or killed in the push to get the best deals. But is there truth in the reports that people are injured or killed?
Scouring records between 2006 and 2018, it seems that there is truth to the reports.
In those 12 years, there were 44 reported incidents that resulted in 11 deaths and 108 injuries. This is a relatively small number, considering that over that period, stores saw upwards of a billion shoppers.
However, the deaths and injuries do not seem to happen with any consistency. In 2006, the first year there was an incident directly related to Black Friday, there were 11 injuries. In 2018, with much less foot traffic and more online shopping, there were still 7.
A dramatic spike in 2011 is related to two in-store pepper spraying incidents that occurred at Walmart.
The majority of the incidents take place inside the store, followed by incidents that take place at the door. Finally, incidents occurred in the parking lots as well.
Walmart saw the great majority (70%) of all the Black Friday deaths and injuries.