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It Happened Again: The Annual Black Friday Trampling


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#1 of 190 OFFLINE   WillG

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Posted November 28 2008 - 06:12 AM

Shocking video from a Long Island Wal-Mart shows police officers giving a trampled worker CPR. The man died a short while later.

Throngs of Black Friday shoppers stampeded the man as they rushed into the Green Acres mall in Valley Stream minutes before it opened.

"When the doors opened, all hell broke loose," a law enforcement source told The Post.

Where You There? Send Your Photos to webeditor@nypost.com.

An unidentified man, believed to be a store employee who tried to restrain the oncoming juggernaut, was knocked to the ground at 5:03 a.m.

He was rushed to a local hospital but declared dead at 6:03, police said.

Four other people were hospitalized, including a 28-year-old pregnant woman. She was knocked to the store floor a short distance from where the 34-year-old man was trampled and her fate was unclear.

The other three people taken to hospitals suffered minor injuries.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Bentonville, Ark., called the incident a "tragic situation" and said the employee came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store.

"The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority," said Wal-Mart representative Dan Fogleman. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families at this difficult time. At this point, facts are still being assembled and we are working closely with the Nassau County police as they investigate what occurred."

Good God! really, Good God!

Rest of the article, with some video here

WORKER KILLED IN WAL-MART STAMPEDE - New York Post
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#2 of 190 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted November 28 2008 - 07:48 AM

I didn't see this part in the article you linked, but this part (from another article) disturbed my very soul:
Quote:
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."
I truly truly truly despise people. Posted Image

#3 of 190 OFFLINE   Zack Gibbs

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Posted November 28 2008 - 07:56 AM

The artifice of black Friday deserves more than it's share of blame as well, particularly since we could actually do something about that aspect.
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#4 of 190 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted November 28 2008 - 08:08 AM

A tragedy, to be sure, but not unexpected when retailers promote the hell out of these "big, special buys" then only have 5 or less of the actual item available. If they had enough stock for everyone who wanted them, there would be no need to mass at the doors and stampede into the store and over anyone unfortunate enough to get in the way of the masses who have been teased for days by mob-inducing advertised specials.

I hope the victims' families make Walmart pay dearly for their Black Friday shenanigans.
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#5 of 190 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted November 28 2008 - 08:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHastings
I didn't see this part in the article you linked, but this part (from another article) disturbed my very soul
It was the AP article. Absolutely sickening. The man was a temporary hire usually tasked with performing routine maintenance. He was the one who unlocked the doors to let people in, and they busted through over him, breaking the door in the process.

#6 of 190 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted November 28 2008 - 08:58 AM

These type of things just shouldn't happen. There's got to be a better way. This is why I stay home on BF. It just isn't worth it. If I can't get the good price on-line, or in the store the next day, then I go without or pay more later. This really is a tragedy. Trampled to death by a hoard of shoppers. Is this what we've become?
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#7 of 190 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted November 28 2008 - 09:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm R
A tragedy, to be sure, but not unexpected when retailers promote the hell out of these "big, special buys" then only have 5 or less of the actual item available. If they had enough stock for everyone who wanted them, there would be no need to mass at the doors and stampede into the store and over anyone unfortunate enough to get in the way of the masses who have been teased for days by mob-inducing advertised specials.

I hope the victims' families make Walmart pay dearly for their Black Friday shenanigans.
You can't blame Wal Mart for people acting like animals. Not to say that Wal Mart is some great organization but unless Wal Mart encouraged people to push and knock others down, the people who acted like idiots are solely to blame.

#8 of 190 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted November 28 2008 - 09:36 AM

Cabelas was much better organized this morning. They had lots of stock in all items except for a real loss-leader rifle. So before the store opened they walked up and down the line asking "is anyone here for the Mossberg?" If so they gave you a ticket good for one of the 50 or so they had in stock. So basically by place in line you knew before the doors opened whether or not you would get a rifle.

Mossberg 702 .22 for $99 with stainless barrel. Yeah I stood in line at 6 AM for that.
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#9 of 190 OFFLINE   Stan

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Posted November 28 2008 - 01:10 PM

Walmart is scum, every negative thing you've heard about them is probably true. There's one about a mile from my house, I've been once in the ten years or so since it opened. Discovered it was filthy, had crowded aisles and stupid, disgusting employees.

My dishwasher had croaked and I needed one of those countertop drying racks for a week or two until the new one was installed. They treated me like I was shoplifting, actually called the manager to check things out because the thing had two silverware holders on it. They thought I had stolen one from another rack, claiming it only came with one. Bullshit....

The odd thing is there was some sort of neighborhood vote on whether people wanted a movie theater or a Walmart. All the lame old farts in the area said no way to a theater, there will be way to much traffic. Instead, we get a sleazy Walmart with probably 20 times the amount of traffic.

Very sad for the employee and his family. Of course Walmart will never pay a penny in damages. Probably worked for a temp agency, not officially on Walmart's payroll. Or if he did, signed some paperwork and buried way down in the fine print, released them from any responsibility.

Walmart tends to attract the hillbilly, trailer trash types from miles around, so not surprising something like this would happen.
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#10 of 190 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted November 28 2008 - 02:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan
Walmart tends to attract the hillbilly, trailer trash types from miles around, so not surprising something like this would happen.
I didn't realize that there were that many "hillbilly, trailer trash types" in Long Island.

#11 of 190 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted November 28 2008 - 02:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan
Walmart tends to attract the hillbilly, trailer trash types from miles around, so not surprising something like this would happen.
Wow, kinda snooty if you ask me. So are you saying that Wal-Mart is scum because of the type of clientele it attracts? Are you inferring that less fortunate people deserve to die? Wow! Just wow!

#12 of 190 OFFLINE   Stan

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Posted November 28 2008 - 03:10 PM

Sorry, guess that did come off a little harsh. It was just such a negative experience. Didn't mean to generalize and insult everyone.
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#13 of 190 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

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Posted November 28 2008 - 03:38 PM

gene c wrote (post #6):

Quote:
Trampled to death by a hoard of shoppers. Is this what we've become?

A culture of acquisitiveness first and acquisition at all costs? Yes.

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#14 of 190 OFFLINE   Carl Miller

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Posted November 28 2008 - 04:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
You can't blame Wal Mart for people acting like animals. Not to say that Wal Mart is some great organization but unless Wal Mart encouraged people to push and knock others down, the people who acted like idiots are solely to blame.

I think they share in the responsiblity. It's their business, their sale, and their property and these days, experience and common sense dictates that there is an inherent risk at having 2,000 people enter through the same doors at the same time.

We've seen this type of thing many times before. Even some Broadway shows have stopped the tradition of letting the crowd build outside before letting them in 15 minutes before show time, through a small group of narrow doors. People were more civil in the past, but today this practice just doesn't make for a safe environment.

Walmart should have done more to try to prevent this. Increased security outside, organized lines for entry, perhaps even some cops on horseback to aid in crowd control are all steps that could have been taken to reduce the liklihood of this happening.

If the store did all that it could have, I'd agree with you completely but they neglected to take proper measures and contributed to creating a dangerous environment.
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#15 of 190 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted November 29 2008 - 12:01 AM

I thought that this type of crowd control (or lack of) was done away with after the Who concert back in the 80s. It is definitely a businesses responsibility to ensure the safety of its workers and visitors (OSHA rules).

Have any of you ever been in a crowd like this? My experience has been that it is usually the people further back that do the pushing. They can not see what is going on up front and don't know the issues that they are causing. The people up front are generally pushing back so they can breath. It is kind of "no raindrop thinks it is responsible for the flood" situation.

A few things that they could have done:
  • Have a thinner longer line. Don't let the crowd pile up like that.
  • Hand out tickets for items with limited supply. That way people know who is getting what and it lessens the need to run.
  • Have more authoritative security there. Not just in the doorway, but walking around outside also. The situation was out of control before the door was opened.
I would not blame Walmart as a whole, just that Walmart store and its management. Thousands of other Walmart stores and tens of thousands of other stores opened with out incidents. What were they thinking? Sending one guy who is temp worker to open the door. What was his training for this type of situation? I can see them picking straws, him getting the short one, and everyone else standing way back.

#16 of 190 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted November 29 2008 - 02:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
Have any of you ever been in a crowd like this? My experience has been that it is usually the people further back that do the pushing. They can not see what is going on up front and don't know the issues that they are causing. The people up front are generally pushing back so they can breath.
This is very true. I forget the band, but back in the 80's, I was at one of those outside concerts where it was every man for himself (i.e. there were no seats, just an open field).

I was about half way to the stage and could feel the people behind me pushing so they could get closer. The people in front were litterally being crushed against the fence (right in front of the stage). They had to pull people out of the mob who were being crushed and passing out from the heat and pressure.

And while I do blame the store to some extent; from the above situation that I was personally in, I can say that the "mob mentality" doesn't usually kick in until right before the event occurs. We all actually entered the concert relatively civil. It was once we got closer to the stage that the adrenaline kicked in and everyone started to panic a little about where they'd end up.

The Wal-Mart 'mob' could have been civil right before the doors opened. To me, it sounds like the doors would have come down even if they weren't opened and before the cops had a chance to show up. And I'd hate to think about what would have happened if Wal-Mart DIDN'T open the doors (because they thought the crowd was out of control).

So what could Wal-Mart have done to prevent this? Not let people wait outside? OK, then you'd have to deal with hundreds of cars lined up just outside the parking lot. That would have caused traffic jams - - and I'd hate to think of what would happen to the guy who had to open the flood gates to the parking lot (and the ensuing mass of cars that sped into the lot).

Alright, so then you hire police and do a ticketing system, but that all costs $$ and it still won't stop people from mobbing. How do you control hundreds of anxious people? How about once they enter the store? I remember being in line at Toys-R-Us when the special edition Star Wars figures were coming out. There would be people lined up at the door and even though the people enetered the store in a reasonable manner, they all started running once they entered the store and piled up in the action figure aisle.

#17 of 190 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted November 29 2008 - 03:14 AM

Quote:
Have any of you ever been in a crowd like this?
The best way to get to the Oakland Colosium for an A's game is by way of BART. One day when I was leaving a sold out game (rare these days) thousands and thousands of fans were trying to get on the train while two poor guys were trying to get off. One of them didn't make it. He was pushed all the way to the back of the car. He had to go to the next stop and turn around. He was PISSED!!

BTW, I didn't make it on the train either. After seeing that, I went back down the ramp and bought a can of Coke and a bag of chips and waited 1/2 an hour for the rest of the fans to clear out. Quite a scene.
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#18 of 190 OFFLINE   Carl Miller

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Posted November 29 2008 - 03:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHastings
So what could Wal-Mart have done to prevent this? Not let people wait outside? OK, then you'd have to deal with hundreds of cars lined up just outside the parking lot. That would have caused traffic jams - - and I'd hate to think of what would happen to the guy who had to open the flood gates to the parking lot (and the ensuing mass of cars that sped into the lot).

Alright, so then you hire police and do a ticketing system, but that all costs $$ and it still won't stop people from mobbing. How do you control hundreds of anxious people?

All good questions...

I don't know if this can still be done, but the county (Nassau) where this town is located used to have mounted police which were deployed by the county to potentially volataile situations including concerts, sporting events, beach events and festivals. They of course cost money to the organizers but...they are one helluva deterrant and according to friends and family who are law enforcement, the most effective passive crowd control tool there is thanks to the intimidation factor it carries.

What bothers me about this is that it has happened before. This is the nations (if not the worlds) largest retailer. It can afford to foot the bill for the best security measures possible....getting a bunch of wooden barricades and hiring a dozen temp workers dressed in a security uniform doesn't cut it.
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#19 of 190 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted November 29 2008 - 03:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHastings
So what could Wal-Mart have done to prevent this? Not let people wait outside? OK, then you'd have to deal with hundreds of cars lined up just outside the parking lot. That would have caused traffic jams - - and I'd hate to think of what would happen to the guy who had to open the flood gates to the parking lot (and the ensuing mass of cars that sped into the lot).

Alright, so then you hire police and do a ticketing system, but that all costs $$ and it still won't stop people from mobbing. How do you control hundreds of anxious people? How about once they enter the store? I remember being in line at Toys-R-Us when the special edition Star Wars figures were coming out. There would be people lined up at the door and even though the people enetered the store in a reasonable manner, they all started running once they entered the store and piled up in the action figure aisle.

One of my duties at work is I am the safety manager. OSHA requirements:
  • Each job function is to be evaluated as to its hazards.
  • These hazards should be minimized as practical.
  • Proper precautions must be taken to protect the workers from the hazards.
  • Employees must be trained on the hazards and how to protect themselves from the hazards.
  • In KY this applies both to full time workers and subcontractor including temps.
Granted that Walmart is open 24/7 most of the year, but still the black Friday sale crowd is nothing new to them. Yes all the precautions you and I list cost money, but that is beside the point. You can not put a dollar amount on someones life whether it is the guy opening the door or the lady who miscarried. As mentioned before, tens of thousands of other stores opened with out incident.

#20 of 190 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted November 29 2008 - 03:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
Have any of you ever been in a crowd like this? My experience has been that it is usually the people further back that do the pushing. They can not see what is going on up front and don't know the issues that they are causing. The people up front are generally pushing back so they can breath. It is kind of "no raindrop thinks it is responsible for the flood" situation.
I remember being at the Celtics victory parade back in 1984 (Boston, MA). After the celebrations were over, and the crowd was dispersing, I felt it pushing up against me -- to the point that I almost could not breath for about fifteen or twenty seconds. I didn't think that that could happen, but it did. It was quite frightening, and not an experience I wish to repeat.


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