Stampede Death at Wal-Mart

The death of a Wal-Mart employee on Black Friday in New York should never have been allowed to happen.

The Police are said to be reviewing tapes to see if they can identify who was responsible for trampling the poor man to death. What will that achieve? Obviously it was not done on purpose. The findings are bound to result in an “accidental death” determination.

Getting back to; who is responsible? I think that is quite clear. Wal-Mart has to accept responsibility. UNLESS…they really did hire an outside security company and the employees of that company did such a poor job organizing that mob of “door busters”, that they lost control of the situation.

One thing is a given. The family of the employee who lost his life is bound to bring a civil law suit against Wal-Mart. If I were them, the first thing I would look to find out would be who(if anyone)was providing security on Thanksgiving night outside of the front door?

Unfortunately, many clients do not take the function of security very seriously and they delegate the responsibility to those with no security training or experience. We have consulted for clients at arenas and found that ordinary ushers will be given a fluorescent vest or jacket with “SECURITY” written on the back and asked to provide security. This is a libility claim waiting to be filed.

If Wal-Mart did in fact outsource their security to an outside company, was the company allowed to provide an adequate number of officers to ensure that shoppers lined up in an orderly fashion? One security officer to a couple of hundred people is another liability suit waiting to be filed.

Next, they should be looking at the training that the security officers (Wal-Mart better hope that shelve stockers were not given the task)receieved. Because it was Thanksgiving night, there is the possibility that the company couldn’t get anybody else to work and used untrained and inexperienced personnel. If that turns out to be the case, hopefully the company was legal and had adequate insurance coverage.

Whatever happens regarding a civil law suit, one thing will remain unchanged. A man lost his life in an incident that should have been prevented. It is obvious that not everything was done to ensure the safety of the shoppers who traditonally lined up to get the best bargains when the store opened on “Black Friday”.

Whether it was Wal-Mart or the security company who may have been hired to prevent this very incident from happening – somebody failed to do their job. Whichever one it was, they should step up to the plate and apologize to the grieving family for letting them down.

Similar Topics:

  1. Celebrity’s Bodyguard Caught on Camera Paparazzi seem to draw bodyguards to their cameras like moths to a light bulb. This recent grapple caught on video was aired on the Fox News show in the “Kelly’s...
  2. Copper Thieves are the New Gold Diggers Be careful if your property contains a lot of visible copper. Thieves are cashing in on the rising price of copper. In one case, two men tried to sell copper...
  3. As the owner of a private security firm I am always trying to stay current on security trends, techniques, new technology, laws pertaining to the profession etc. I figure that...
  4. Do you know Who your workers are? It used to be that potential clients would call us up to help them discover what their employees did during work hours. It would make very interesting reading if I...

Comments

  1. davomiller says:

    People are crazy in general yes. But I also think Wal-Mart has the worse organization skills ever. For example, I always stand in line to buy the new video game systems, and did so for Playstation 3 in Nov. 2006. We showed up at 4:00 a.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot and the systems wouldn’t go on sale until Midnight of that day. People kept coming, and the crowd got bigger. The 24 hour Wal-Mart, wouldn’t let anyone get in line for the Playstation 3 until 7 a.m., why, we have no idea. But what did everyone do? We’ll… we formed a line to get in line of course. The crowd kept getting bigger. I would say at around 6:40ish, a manager came out and explained the situation.

    “We will have 10 systems for sale.”

    That’s not a surprise, when systems come out, a store like Wal-Mart, Target, Shopko, etc, get on average 8-12 of the systems, depending on the city. He then explained they have 10 chairs lined up next to the flag pole, and, at 7 a.m. we could “get in line by sitting in one of the ten chairs.” The crowd kept getting bigger. I’d say we are now have at least 100 plus people. We all knew how stupid this was. 100 plus people were standing in a line outside, a line that was the length of the store, and perpendicular to the 10 chairs near the flag pole. The person closes to the chairs was probably 30 feet from them. (Just FYI, if they would’ve allowed a line to form from the beginning, none of this would have happened)

    Everyone knew we had to run for a chair. Half the people there knew they wouldn’t be able to run for a chair based on how far they were from the set of chairs or how fast they could run. But the other half knew they had a chance.

    Okay, but I’m straying from my point. Wal-Mart is by far the most organzingly challenged corporation ever. New systems come out every so many years. They should know to let people just start the line, a first come first service basis, hand out number or draw numbers. This was 24 hour Wal-Mart, and the year before when the Xbox 360 came out, they let people sit in line, INSIDE, at the electronics department. What was wrong with that?! No one got hurt.

    So, at 6:58 a.m. the stores manager said, “No pushing, no shoving, no fighting. We have the cameras on and if any of you cause any trouble, we will know and you will not be given your Playstation 3.” There was one cop there to maintain order. 7:00 a.m. we got the command… “Okay, get in line.”

    Everyone ran. I was among them. I didn’t think people would fall or get shoved. I was only thinking to get a seat. And being a pretty agile guy, I didn’t think I would get knocked down or pushed. I say this because no one planned on hurting anyone. Everyone was really excited and anxious, but if you asked any individual if they planned on hurting someone, I believe no one would say yes. It was a simple race to the chairs.

    So anyways, 100 people converging to a single point certainly caused a problem. One person was stopped suddenly when his face met that flag pole I had mentioned that was by the chairs. The whole 100 people converging (at a sprinting pace) to a single point is what caused the pain. People fell, people behind us couldn’t see that people had fallen, but the momentum kept pushing us forward. If you stopped, you would fall, so just keep your feet moving. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but I found myself stepping over people as well. I definitely didn’t see this as a life and death situation, as I’m sure those people at the Wal-Mart in Long Island thought the same thing. But people were getting hurt. For the most part, everyone was okay. That one kid was pushed into the flag pole, probably with incredible force. I just remember the aftermath; people moaning as they slowly stood up from a tangled mess of bodies. The one kid, in his early twenties, his eyes tearing up, and blood on his red face from his meeting with the flag pole.

    All I’m saying is that all this could be avoided. People like deals, they like low prices and they like getting up early for them. Who cares? But fricken Wal-Mart needs to use some fricken common sense. I think that Wal-Mart should be held responsible for the death of that young man. No one else. People there didn’t know what was going on; they just wanted to get their holiday presents. Wal-Mart knew what was going to happen, or they should’ve known by now!

    What makes me disgusted with Wal-Mart even more is they completely lied and denied the whole event concerning the Playstation 3’s, even with a police report that contradicted them:

    Mike Dooley, the store’s manager, said in a phone interview Thursday morning that there was no race and that the chairs were put outside for the convenience of the shoppers, some of whom he said had been standing outside for a long time. Later in the day he declined to comment further about the incident, and an assistant manager at the store referred questions to Wal-Mart’s corporate relations department. –from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    To read about the PS3 incident in Wisconsin, follow this link:
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29212964.html

    That’s all I wanted to share. I blame Wal-Mart. They had the most power to prevent this.

  2. davomiller says:

    People are crazy in general yes. But I also think Wal-Mart has the worse organization skills ever. For example, I always stand in line to buy the new video game systems, and did so for Playstation 3 in Nov. 2006. We showed up at 4:00 a.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot and the systems wouldn’t go on sale until Midnight of that day. People kept coming, and the crowd got bigger. The 24 hour Wal-Mart, wouldn’t let anyone get in line for the Playstation 3 until 7 a.m., why, we have no idea. But what did everyone do? We’ll… we formed a line to get in line of course. The crowd kept getting bigger. I would say at around 6:40ish, a manager came out and explained the situation.

    “We will have 10 systems for sale.”

    That’s not a surprise, when systems come out, a store like Wal-Mart, Target, Shopko, etc, get on average 8-12 of the systems, depending on the city. He then explained they have 10 chairs lined up next to the flag pole, and, at 7 a.m. we could “get in line by sitting in one of the ten chairs.” The crowd kept getting bigger. I’d say we are now have at least 100 plus people. We all knew how stupid this was. 100 plus people were standing in a line outside, a line that was the length of the store, and perpendicular to the 10 chairs near the flag pole. The person closes to the chairs was probably 30 feet from them. (Just FYI, if they would’ve allowed a line to form from the beginning, none of this would have happened)

    Everyone knew we had to run for a chair. Half the people there knew they wouldn’t be able to run for a chair based on how far they were from the set of chairs or how fast they could run. But the other half knew they had a chance.

    Okay, but I’m straying from my point. Wal-Mart is by far the most organzingly challenged corporation ever. New systems come out every so many years. They should know to let people just start the line, a first come first service basis, hand out number or draw numbers. This was 24 hour Wal-Mart, and the year before when the Xbox 360 came out, they let people sit in line, INSIDE, at the electronics department. What was wrong with that?! No one got hurt.

    So, at 6:58 a.m. the stores manager said, “No pushing, no shoving, no fighting. We have the cameras on and if any of you cause any trouble, we will know and you will not be given your Playstation 3.” There was one cop there to maintain order. 7:00 a.m. we got the command… “Okay, get in line.”

    Everyone ran. I was among them. I didn’t think people would fall or get shoved. I was only thinking to get a seat. And being a pretty agile guy, I didn’t think I would get knocked down or pushed. I say this because no one planned on hurting anyone. Everyone was really excited and anxious, but if you asked any individual if they planned on hurting someone, I believe no one would say yes. It was a simple race to the chairs.

    So anyways, 100 people converging to a single point certainly caused a problem. One person was stopped suddenly when his face met that flag pole I had mentioned that was by the chairs. The whole 100 people converging (at a sprinting pace) to a single point is what caused the pain. People fell, people behind us couldn’t see that people had fallen, but the momentum kept pushing us forward. If you stopped, you would fall, so just keep your feet moving. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but I found myself stepping over people as well. I definitely didn’t see this as a life and death situation, as I’m sure those people at the Wal-Mart in Long Island thought the same thing. But people were getting hurt. For the most part, everyone was okay. That one kid was pushed into the flag pole, probably with incredible force. I just remember the aftermath; people moaning as they slowly stood up from a tangled mess of bodies. The one kid, in his early twenties, his eyes tearing up, and blood on his red face from his meeting with the flag pole.

    All I’m saying is that all this could be avoided. People like deals, they like low prices and they like getting up early for them. Who cares? But fricken Wal-Mart needs to use some fricken common sense. I think that Wal-Mart should be held responsible for the death of that young man. No one else. People there didn’t know what was going on; they just wanted to get their holiday presents. Wal-Mart knew what was going to happen, or they should’ve known by now!

    What makes me disgusted with Wal-Mart even more is they completely lied and denied the whole event concerning the Playstation 3’s, even with a police report that contradicted them:

    Mike Dooley, the store’s manager, said in a phone interview Thursday morning that there was no race and that the chairs were put outside for the convenience of the shoppers, some of whom he said had been standing outside for a long time. Later in the day he declined to comment further about the incident, and an assistant manager at the store referred questions to Wal-Mart’s corporate relations department. –from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    To read about the PS3 incident in Wisconsin, follow this link:
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29212964.html

    That’s all I wanted to share. I blame Wal-Mart. They had the most power to prevent this.

  3. Jmaccauley says:

    The days of Black Friday sales need to end. Of course the idea is to have a few items marked down to an unbelievable price and hope that those who weren’t early or fast enough would just stay and continue shopping. Unfortunately, we have seen more and more tragic events like this occur due to the greed of these customers. Plus, surveys are showing that most shoppers are buying the bargains and not spending on the more expensive items that the stores depend on. Security would need to organize these sales events as an athletic event, complete with customers signing a liability waiver.

  4. Anonymous says:

    WalMart security is a joke. Here in Wichita they have hired a major national security company to provide store security. It’s your typical low pay untrained security people. No offence to them personally, it’s the nature of the job. We had an instance of 3 shoplifters try to leave a store and was stopped by an employee. Other employees stepped in to help. A fight ensued and an employee was tasered by one of the shoplifters. They were all arrested, but it shows the attitude of WalMart and the private security companies that do this kind of work.

Speak Your Mind

*