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Don't let Black Friday cast a black cloud over your business

Hard as it may be to believe, Black Friday is almost here again. It's a day when people set their alarms for 5 am in order to be at electronic stores when the doors open. Others actually camp out in front of big box stores, hoping to be one of the lucky few chosen to obtain this year's must-have toy or electronic gadget.

While the name "Black Friday" refers to the fact that retailers hope it is the day that will help put them into the black for the holiday season, it is important that retailers know how to take steps to ensure that a black cloud of injury does not prevent their customers from being able to partake in the joyous activity of spending.

Crowd control is perhaps the biggest issue for retailers during Black Friday. And it's not always the crowds who are in danger. In 2008, a crowd of bargain-seeking shoppers trampled a Wal-Mart employee to death. In an attempt to help retailers avoid future tragedies, OSHA issued crowd control guidelines.

While death is a rare occurrence, store owners do need to take steps to ensure that both their employees and customers are safe. A customer who is injured by a falling product, or who slips on a wet patch of tile, is certainly not going to be a customer happy about pulling out her credit card. Plus it only takes one claim from an injured customer or disgruntled employee to give the term "Black Friday" a whole new meaning.

Even businesses that take steps to do everything right can still find themselves on the receiving end of a complaint filed by a cranky customer. A lawyer familiar with tort law can help your business sort out the truth and ensure that your business stays merry and bright this holiday season.

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