Friday, November 28, 2008

A Black Friday, Indeed

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Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down

By COLLEEN LONG

NEW YORK (AP) — A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday after an "out of control" throng of shoppers eager for post-Thanksgiving bargains broke down the doors at a suburban store and knocked him to the ground, police said.

At least four other people, including a woman eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.

Nassau police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the store doors at the mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the man to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

"This crowd was out of control," said Nassau police spokesman Lt. Michael Fleming. He described the scene as "utter chaos."

Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help the man were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said. Witnesses said that even as the worker lay on the ground, shoppers streamed into the store, stepping over him.

Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages."

"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."

The 34-year-old man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 6 a.m., police said. The exact cause of death has not been determined, and the man's name was not released.

A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital, where she and the baby were reported to be OK, said police Sgt. Anthony Repalone. At least three other people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.

Police said criminal charges were possible in the case, but Fleming said it would be difficult to identify individual shoppers. Authorities were reviewing surveillance video.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based 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 Dan Fogleman, a company spokesman. "At this point, facts are still being assembled and we are working closely with the Nassau County Police as they investigate what occurred."

Shoppers around the country line up early outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving in the annual bargain-hunting ritual known as Black Friday. It got that name because it has historically been the day when stores broke into profitability for the full year.

11 comments:

Kaaren said...

That is INSANE. Utterly insane.

Gina said...

It literally makes me sick...

Knit Wit said...

And then there are the two guys who apparently carried a private quarrel into a Toys R Us in So. Cal. today and ended up shooting each other dead...

And my mom wonders why I don't go shopping on Black Friday.

Anonymous said...

I would rather go to the dentist (which I usually sit in the chair and just cry at a cleaning) and have my teeth filled without novocane than go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. It is totally insane. Is there material item in this world that is worth trampling another person in order to get? No, no, no.

The Wandering B's

cath said...

I'm at my parents house for the holiday--just a few miles from where this happened. I'm so disgusted by humans.

egretsnest said...

There's a reason that 99% of my holiday shopping (heck, all of my shopping) is done online or in local small stores. Insane.

Syndee said...

This was absolutely nauseating to hear. It further supported my belief in never shopping on Black Friday. The money saved is not worth the chaos ensued.

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion for your gentle readers-

In June and July is when all major stores compete in markdown sales. Not to brag, but I got $60 sweaters for $3 each in June, and guess what? They are still new and look great, and everyone in the family gets one this holiday season. Also, there were no insane crowds to deal with in the sweater section in JULY.

Annalisa

John said...

Yet another demonstration of the dangerous cult of consumerism. I celebrate International Buy Nothing Day, which coincides with Black Friday.

Anonymous said...

This is why I either go for a nice hike (if the weather is nice enough) or stay around the house on that day.

Nothing I could possibly want for myself or my family is worth dealing with the craziness of people who will do anything to save a couple of bucks, and stores that will do anything to make a couple of bucks.

I have worked through a couple of Black Friday's (although thankfully the last was more than 20 year's ago), but I have never been shopping on one.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the people trampled at that Who concert however long ago. Same result, but that was a bunch of hippies.

Mob mentality is everywhere, not just at WalMart.

-ClioMouse

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