Those in the Chippewa Valley braving long lines and fellow sale-seekers Friday can take heart in at least one finding: Personal safety likely won’t be an issue.
Utah-based Reviews.org, which assesses tech products and related services, recently released a ranking of states according to their risk of Black Friday violence. Wisconsin was deemed the fifth-safest state, while Vermont topped the rankings.
Consumers apparently are most at risk in the South, with Arkansas coming in as the most perilous, followed by Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama. The study took into account violent crime rates, search volume for the term “Black Friday deals” and previous reports of Black Friday deaths and injuries.
“Of the incidents that have occurred ... the most frequent type has been trampling,” reads the report. “By the time stores unlock their doors, crowds have already gathered, ready and waiting, outside. When everyone runs in at once, of course some people are going to trip or be pushed over in the rush.
“Tramplings can also occur around popular items in the store itself when multiple people vie for them at once. A dozen parents fighting over one Luke Skywalker Landspeeder is not going to end well.”
Reviews.org also offered advice as the big shopping day nears.
“While we don’t know exactly how the madness will go on Black Friday,” the report states, “we can caution you to bring your most compassionate selves when the prices are down and you’re rolling around town. People are stressed, eager and possibly full of Tofurkey and cranberry sauce — be kind out there, kids.”
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Reviews.org took a humerous approach to its rankings. Other seasonal warnings, however, were of a more serious nature. Consider:
• Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group released its 33rd annual Trouble in Toyland report at wispirg.org/ feature/usp/trouble-in-toyland. Findings included toxic amounts of boron in slime products and failures to appropriately label choking hazards.
• A local hand surgeon, Dr. J. Clinton Merrick, reminded revelers about the perils of carving the Thanksgiving turkey. “When carving your turkey, never cut towards yourself,” reads a news release. “Have your free hand placed on the opposite side that you are carving on. Never put hands under the blade of your knife and always use a sharp knife. A dull knife can cause slips and is still effective in causing an injury.”
• Xcel Energy’s holiday lighting suggestions included using only Underwriters’ Laboratory-approved lights, avoiding power lines, replacing worn cords and making sure rooftop decorations don’t block vents or pipes.
Now that you’re sufficiently paranoid, here’s hoping such worries won’t take away from festivities in the Chippewa Valley and beyond. May you, your friends, your relatives and your families have a safe and celebratory holiday season.
— Liam Marlaire, assistant editor