Each day, mixed in with emails from local people and organizations, I find messages in my inbox from across the country or even from the other side of the world.
Public relations representatives distribute emails to journalists everywhere on holiday-related topics this time of year. I've received plenty of messages on what I call "standard holiday issues" this week. These topics include seasonal mental and physical health, travel, family activities, and shopping.
The authors of these messages are typically trying to promote some sort of product or service.
I'm not criticizing this practice. These communications professionals are just doing their jobs.
Although I delete most messages from out-of-town people without much consideration, it's nothing personal. Part of my job is to assign our reporters stories on local news and not waste their time on the top U.S. fashion trends this holiday season. We'll let the Associated Press pick up the slack for us on that.
This week, though, I found a digital gem mixed in with the trash.
Here's the subject line: "Black Friday Safety." The email reads, in part: "Black Friday brings a unique set of dangers and potential disasters to the holiday table, and this year promises to be no different."
I won't be participating in the Black Friday festivities, but I'm sure many of you are planning to hit the stores. So, here are a few of the Black Friday shopping tips from WIN Public Relations representing self-defense specialist Jarrett Arthur. They landed in my inbox from Hollywood, Calif.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
Check your ego at the door.
Have an escape plan and a pre-determined meeting place with your family.
When I first read the tips, I wanted to laugh because they shouldn't be necessary. Then I remembered that - sadly - people have been injured and killed in previous years while hunting for bargains. USA Today did a story on 10 violent Black Friday experiences.
I'm hoping people - especially those from this area - have a safe, enjoyable shopping experience this year. I'll be home on Friday, but it's not because I'm scared. I prefer to hit the stores on Dec. 23 or even Christmas Eve.