Monday, July 12, 2010

Walmart Trampling Case

The New York Times recently reported that WalMart has spent millions to avoid paying a $7,000 fine in the tragic trampling death of one its employees on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving in 2008, on Long Island.

It has also been widely reported that the frenzied crowd, estimated at 2,000, was anxious to shop for their bargains.

I have a different view on what might have happened that day.

A year earlier, my sister and I set our alarm clocks very early on Thanksgiving day so that we could wait on line at a K-Mart on Long Island to try to buy certain items (my treasure hunt was for a Nintendo Wii, my sister wanted to buy a GPS unit on sale). We knew that we had a slim chance of even getting the items, but while we were there, we'd do other shopping anyway.

By the time we arrived, about an hour before the store opening, there was already a line of about 200 people lining the sidewalk of the strip mall, leading from doors on the northern side of the store front. The crowd was fairly quiet, and the bagel store was doing good business that morning.

When the time came to open all of the store doors, the crowd was calmly moving forward.

Then I saw it happen.

People emerged from their cars in the parking lot, just several feet from K-Mart, and walked right in the front doors (which faced east). The crowd began pushing and yelling. "Don't let them in!" "They're cutting!" It was quite terrifying, and it's amazing that no one was hurt.

That's where the problem existed; there was no one in the store or security to make sure that only one entrance remained open until the line disappeared. They simply unlocked all the doors, and it was every man (or woman) for himself. It made no difference if you waited in line for hours, or you just pulled up to the parking lot and walked in the east or south entrance.

I knew that morning that I would never attend a "Black Friday" early store opening ever again. I will shop during regular store operating hours or online.

My heart breaks for the family of Jdimytai Damour, and the tremendous loss they have suffered.


  1. It is sad that major stores like this don't try to keep some sense of order. They know there's going to be a massive crowd, yet they don't try to have extra security on hand. I don't like going shopping on Black Friday. If I go, I wait until late in the afternoon when all of the crowds have gone. My heart goes out to this family too.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Hi Mason,
    If I didn't experience it firsthand myself, I wouldn't have believed it. The gall of the people who went straight for the front door avoiding the long line of people who waited hours to get in was unbelievable...but I blame the store for not anticipating this move when they opened the other doors, and it set the people off who were in line...they did the pushing to try to stop the cutters from getting in. But who's there to stop them? What law are they breaking, really? The stores should let the line go in before opening the other doors to avoid this problem.
    I knew I'd never go shopping on BF again. I used to work retail while I was waiting to become a cop, in between teaching piano privately and subbing in the school districts, and I hated BF...