It's a jungle out there, holiday-shopping wise. Or maybe a desert. Indiana is taking a military approach to Black Friday, urging retailers to take steps to ensure workers and customers remain out of harms way. It may be unnecessary, however. Consumer Reports projects more than half the population plans to skip the much heralded and equally maligned Black Friday shopping this year. And don't even try to get ahead of yourself in certain eastern states where Thanksgiving- and Christmas-day shopping are strictly prohibited.
The Indiana Department of Labor is telling retailers to make sure they take steps to ensure workers and customers are safe on Black Friday.
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The department says stores should use crowd management techniques and pre-event setup, including line markers or barricades and employ trained security or police for crowd control.
The department says in years past, workers and shoppers nationwide have been hurt and even killed as a result of inadequate crowd management preparation.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends stores prepare an emergency plan that addresses potential dangers, including overcrowding, crowd crushing, violent acts and fire.
Consumer Reports, meanwhile, suggests it may all be much ado about nothing. In its poll, seven in ten say 'too many crowds" is the biggest reason they won't shop the day after Thanksgiving.
Among the top reasons Americans gave for wanting no part of shopping during Black Friday weekend were:
-- Too many crowds (70 percent)
-- The deals are too overhyped (34 percent)
-- I'd rather do something else (33 percent)
-- I don't want to get up early (30 percent)
-- I'd rather spend time with my family (29 percent)
-- The deals are not usually very appealing to me (23 percent)
-- I'm waiting to shop until after Black Friday (17 percent)
-- I'd rather shop online (13 percent)
-- Stores might run out of specific products I want to buy (10 percent)
Of those who do intend to shop this weekend, 69 percent will be venturing out to stores, while 58 percent will do so online, and 29 percent will shop both in stores and online.
Among the top reasons people gave for why they'll be shopping on Black Friday weekend were:
-- Black Friday specials are the best deals of the year (55 percent)
-- The door-buster deals (43 percent)
-- It's tradition (23 percent)
-- I enjoy the energy of the holiday shopping season (19 percent)
-- I want to get items before they go out of stock (19 percent)
-- It's the best time to get holiday shopping done (15 percent)
-- I want to get my holiday shopping done all at once (12 percent)
-- I want to take advantage of the time off work to shop (11 percent)
-- I enjoy the shopping competition (10 percent)
And if you're thinking about getting a real head start, forget about it if you live in Rhode Island, Maine or Massachusetts.
The Providence Journal reports that Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine have not changed decades-old laws restricting store openings on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In Rhode Island, laws have been amended to expand Sunday business hours and lift restrictions on alcohol sales. But the prohibition for the two holidays remains.
Pharmacies, small grocery stores and flower shops are the only stores allowed to open on Thanksgiving and Christmas.