Death Count Site Shows All That’s Wrong With Black Friday
For some, lining up outside a big box store on Thanksgiving night is an exhilarating holiday tradition. For others, the event is an evil scourge that lures prey with $149 XBoxes and $399 4K TVs and tears retail employees away from their family celebrations. There’s really no in-between. You either love Black Friday, or you curse the day it was invented by greedy corporate Scrooges.
No matter how you feel about Black Friday, though, there’s no escaping the fact that it can be deadly. If you need proof, just check out this Black Friday Death Count website. Against a stark black background, this single-page site keeps a running tally of Black Friday deaths and injuries.
A sad site
Despite the site’s snarkiness, its content is deadly serious. According to Black Friday Death Count, the shopping free-for-all has caused 12 deaths and 117 injuries since 2006. Each listing includes links to news reports detailing the incident.
In 2018, five such incidents led to two deaths and six injuries — four from shootings and one from a stabbing. According to the site, Black Friday shootings have resulted in eight injuries and two deaths. However, pepper spray is the leading cause of injuries (41) while car accidents are the most deadly (three deaths and 12 injuries). Stampedes have resulted in 19 injuries and one death and fist fights have caused four injuries.
Statistically, 68.75% of the injuries happen inside retail stores, 20% happen at the front of the store as doors open, and 11.25 happen in the parking lot. And just so you know, here are the most dangerous stores on Black Friday, according to the percentage of reported injuries:
- Walmart — 59.1%
- Kohl’s and Toy“R”Us and Target — 7.4% (tie)
- Best Buy — 3.7%
Lastly, shoppers should avoid these states, which rank highest in the number of injuries:
- California — 39
- North Carolina — 20
- Tennessee — 11
- New York — 6
Sadly, there’s even a page on Ranker that allows you to “vote up” the most shocking or disturbing Black Friday death and injury stories. So far, the most disturbing story, with 601 up-votes, is a video of Target shoppers trampling over the body of a man who had collapsed with a heart condition. He died later at a West Virginia hospital.
Black Friday wasn’t invented in 2006; that’s just the date of the first reported event-related injury. According to History.com, Black Friday originated in the 1950s in Philadelphia. Historically, Army and Navy played their rivalry game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (this changed in 2006, ironically). In preparation for the game, shoppers (and shoplifters) flooded into town on the Friday between the holiday and game day. Philadelphia police coined the chaos “Black Friday.”
In 1961, Philadelphia merchants unsuccessfully tried to change the potentially derogatory name to “Big Friday.” The original term spread across the country, and in the late 1980s retailers added their own connotation to the event’s moniker. They “reinvented” the term to relate to “being in the black” profit-wise.
Profit aside, Black Friday spending has skyrocketed in the past four years, even as shopping is slowly shifting from in-store to online. The event, which now includes Thanksgiving Day, netted $9.9 billion in online spending alone in 2018 — a 25% increase over 2017. Experts predict another 25% year-over-year increase in online spending in 2019.
This is a good thing. As the Black Friday Death Count site shares in this disclaimer, Cyber Monday is a much safer shopping day.
Are you advertising deeply-discounted wares this Friday? Let us know! Although you probably shouldn’t expect the chaos of stampeding crowds, a post-Thanksgiving sale or promotion might not be a bad idea. After all, holiday quality time with family could provoke some intriguing end-of-life discussions.