Friday, November 28, 2008

Is Walmart to blame for Black Friday death?

A Long Island Walmart worker was thrown to the ground and trampled when anxious shoppers tore the doors off their hinges in an effort to get into the store to shop the annual Black Friday sale. The unnamed worker dies a short while after at a local hospital and the store was closed for the rest of the day to deal with the tragedy.

Of course, it only took a few hours before the talking heads began searching for someone to blame and, as expected, that someone turned out the be Walmart. Why not? After all, Walmart has quickly become a popular whipping post that can be blamed for everything from sweatshops in China to killing our kids with lead laden toys.

It's easy to blame Walmart.
They're big. They're powerful. And, let's face it, they are a bit evil.

But I think to lay blame at the company's doorstep for this poor workers death would not only be premature but would also be wrong.

I've worked at Walmart during Black Friday. And, as anyone who's ever worked in retail during a mega-sale will tell you, you can only hold out anxious shoppers for so long before unrest settles in and problems start to rear their ugly head. These people are not going to a sale; they're going to war and they're prepared to fight their fellow shoppers - and even store staff if they need to - to save a few dollars.

This problem isn't Walmart's fault. There is no amount of security or crowd control that could have prevented this unfortunate incident. I've worked during many big product launches and, I can tell you firsthand, Walmart does an phenomenal job with crowd control. The fault lies solely with the uncontrolled masses that roam the streets on Black Friday searching for a deal.

On Black Friday, the rules of politeness are suspended by our entire society. If you dare to go out to shop, you should expect to be cursed, treated rudely, shoved about, and maybe even punched or bitten. It's become a free for all and people lose total control.

No, Walmart isn't to blame for this. It's the 'do whatever you need to do to get what you want' mentality that our society's developed. We're greedy and we're willing to treat our fellow people like trash for a $4.00 toy.

I've seen it happen.
It's disgusting.

Unfortunately, it's human nature.

1 comment:

Movéo SEM said...

I absolutely think Walmart is to blame for this. Two years ago I went to a local 24 hour Walmart to find out how their Black Friday sale was being held for the PS3, they were handing out tickets, much like Best Buy does. Why did they stop? The ticket system for the big items works to keep this sort of tragedy from happening.