This year, as had been predicted, the queues were expected to be longer due to the prevailing economic situation. As usual too, the shoppers were expected to be unruly. The blame hence can be directed at the Wal-Mart’s management for a couple of reasons. Although aware and expecting hundreds of unruly shoppers, it did not invest in any crowd management tool. A look at a number of big stores indicates that they use vouchers to ensure that the shoppers stick by the queue.
They also invest in additional security to control the crowd. Long Island Wal-Mart however to escape this additional cost did not invest in this. The store did not hire adequate security but rather contracted additional attendants to ensure that the store maximized on the day’s gains. The management of the store after seeing the rising tension and the unruliness exhibited by the shoppers chose to let the workers manage their entry rather than close the store for a moment till the crowd became organized.
The workers that formed a ring to ensure that the shoppers did not force their way through were just mere workers with no security or crowd controlling techniques. Jdimytai Damour, the deceased worker had no form of training but rather was sourced from an employment agency for the day. This was so even with the rest of the workers (The Oregonian Editorial Board). In light of this incidence, Wal-Mart has come out in strong defense of the store denying any responsibility. Indeed the day’s events were unfortunate and painted a bad picture of the store.
As some have observed, the store did not expect such huge crowds and they were simply overwhelmed. Efforts to control the crowd proved futile. The police officers who were present at the scene also were not able to alleviate the situation and ended up as helpless by standers. Those that are pointing an accusing finger at the store are overlooking the criminal intent that some people in the crowd had. By pushing and breaking the stores entrance doors and also by stepping on the helpless worker, the crowd committed the crime and should be singled out and held accountable.
The crowd was just too unruly; the blame hence, as the management has pointed out, does not lie with store but rather with the few who incited the crowd to break past the workers ring (Gould, Trapasso & Schapiro). Indeed the number of shoppers that were pushing to get into the store was higher than for the previous years, the store lacked the capacity for controlling the crowd and they did not heed to management’s directions. However, the argument that the store did not expect such a high number of unruly shoppers does not hold water.
Black Fridays are traditionally characterized by high number of shoppers and for this particular day, in light of the economic pressure, the number was expected to soar. The store hence had a responsibility of putting up measures of ensuring that the crowd was controlled and that the events of the day took place without a hitch. In this way, the death of Jdimytai Damour and the injuries caused to the workers and the shoppers could have been avoided.
The Oregonian Editorial Board. A preventable death at Wal-Mart. The Stump. December 01, 2008. Retrieved on May 10, 2009 from http://www. oregonlive. com/opinion/index. ssf/2008/12/a_preventable_death_at_w almart. html Gould J. , Trapasso C. , & Schapiro R. Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede. NYDailyNews. November 28, 2008. Retrieved on May 10, 2009 from http://www. nydailynews. com/ny_local/2008/11/28/2008-11- 28_worker_dies_at_long_island_walmart_after. html