Friday, November 28, 2008

Walmart Casualty: Worker Killed in Black Friday Stampede

The New York Times and other news sources report that frenzied shoppers trampled to death a Walmart stock clerk in New York state as they rushed toward post-Thanksgiving deals. The Walmart opened at 5:00 a.m.
The 34-year-old employee, who was not identified, was knocked down by a crowd that broke down the doors of the Wal-Mart at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y., and surged into the store. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital at 6 a.m.

The police said that three other shoppers were injured and a 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to the hospital for observation. (NYT)
CBS local New York reports in its video that Walmart was offering big plasma TVs for $400 and one shopper believes that's why most people were there. People started lining up at the Walmart as early as 10:00 last night, and one shopper said that shoppers became angry when Walmart opened the doors but only allowed a limited number of shoppers through. The station also has video on shoppers in one of its local malls and another clip of people rushing the doors at the New Port Centre Mall Sears in Jersey City, NJ, to snatch door buster deals.

NBC local news New York, Channel 4, has a video feed from the scene and its story says that Walmart closed the store for several hours after the tragedy.

New York's ABC 7 reports:
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. (ABC 7)
I saw the line of cars this morning headed to my local mall and avoided it, taking an alternate route home. WWL TV reports that people are equally anxious for bargains on New Orleans's West Bank. One retailer said he was surprised to see how many people showed up so early in the morning.

Early I understand because who likes crowds? I don't enjoy bargain hunting and would rather eat cold grits than venture into stores during Black Friday sales, which is why I shop when I can online.

I'm surprised to hear of the crowds because retailers have been saying that while people will still shop for Christmas, they expected a decline. However, it seems people are so desperate to save money during this economic mess that they're heading to the stores in droves. Retailers said they're cutting prices drastically to attract shoppers this season. It will be interesting to learn if shoppers dished out big bucks.

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