There was no way I was going to risk my personal welfare and go shopping on Black Friday or even during the weekday. My days of battling the crowds have long since past. Although I admit to doing some shopping online, I am far from a true cyber junkie. I do enjoy the holidays and spending time with my family. Even the music isn’t too bad –at least for the first week or two.
Being a multi-tasker and not wanting to miss a training opportunity I have a tendency to visit the local stores during the week after Thanksgiving, not to shop, but to snoop. I like to go to the store and get a visual of how they have changed the layout of the store.
I particularly like to visit those buildings that are not protected by a sprinkler system. The very nature of being a firefighter causes me to look at the layout of any building I go into, even if it is not in my district, but Christmas time is different. Most stores don’t make significant changes to the floor plan January through October.
Here are a few of the things I look for while doing a little shopping.
- Where are the largest displays – height and width
- Have the isle ways been narrowed
- Are any of the exists blocked or hidden
- What are the displays made of – combustibles?
- Has the configuration of the parking lot changed
- Are there extension cords present for temporary displays
The holidays don’t need to be dangerous. We must remember that those outside the fire service don’t see things the same way we do. If you must go shopping during the hectic season you might as well make it fun. Be aware of your surroundings and take note. Knowing what has changed may just save you backside some day.