Black Friday: Notorious for Assault & Battery Incidents; A Stain on Our Culture.

As I write this post, Thanksgiving Day is winding down. Another exercise in mad dashes and massive traffic jams, to get together to give thanks for what we have. (Though most people use it as an excuse to gorge themselves, watch football, and avoid arguments with family members.) Regardless, if you got through this day unscathed from any of the above risks, I’m afraid you may not be in the clear just yet.

Not if you plan on joining the mad throngs descending on the retailers who run “Black Friday” sales. Black Friday, of course, is so named for the fact that the sales volumes typically racked up at large retailers on this day, create large profits leaving these stores “in the black” –earning profits – instead of “in the red” – losing profits. But aside from accounting jargon, this day should be called black for another good reason: The dark, disturbed impulses it brings out in so many people – in the name of “getting a good deal” on some ridiculous material purchase (did someone say the latest iPhone? 60” Flat screen TV?)

Like so many others, I have watched in recent years as reports flow in from around the country of people (in my view, losers and fools) literally camping outside at large retailers, in the hope of being among the first in line when the doors open – which in so many cases, isn’t even on the day after Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving Day itself! (Though to give credit where it is due, several large retailers announced this year that they were abandoning the practice of opening on the holiday. These retailers should be given credit for at least doing that much and allowing their employees to spend the day with their families – in view of the fact Thanksgiving Day is a family holiday.

Notwithstanding, we’ve all seen the disturbing images of crowds literally – not figuratively – stampeding stores once the doors are opened – literally crushing, seriously injuring, and even killing some shoppers in the process.  Care to see a clip of this kind of violence?  Click here.  It’s truly disturbing, quite sickening, and an awful comment on American society. How disturbing is this:  Since 2006, seven people have been killed and over 100 injured in Black Friday violence.  But the trouble doesn’t end once the mad crowds enter the store and “fan out” to the particular Departments they’ve come to shop. Fistfights, assaults, batteries and mayhem often break out in the craze over who was first to get their hands on a shelf item, and who gets the last item in stock. Shoplifting is also common.  As a Dedham Massachusetts Assault and Battery lawyer, I’ve seen far, far too many cases where a shopper is attacked by another shopper, over who had the “right” to a given piece of merchandise. Very often, it is an innocent party who is accused, and when that happens, the accused person needs an experienced Massachusetts assault and battery lawyer, because these cases can become very complicated to resolve.

So common are retail store assault & battery cases, that a website has now actually rated the 50 different states on the risk of being involved in a fight in a retail store, or being attacked or injured while shopping on Black Friday.  You can click here for that website.

The good news is that – supposedly, according to this website – Massachusetts ranks 50th on this list. As a Wrentham District Court assault & battery attorney who has seen more than his share of shopping center assault & battery cases, I have my doubts about the findings of this list. Regardless, when shopping this holiday season, whether on Black Friday or any day, use your head and act like a civilized person. Saving a few dollars on the latest gadget or toy isn’t worth being arrested and charged with assault & battery.