Supermarket employee trampled to death by sale crowds

1 December 2008

We can't see this happening in the UK. We just can't picture it. We'd all kill for a bargain in these times of trouble and strife, but not like this.

Black Friday is a tradition in the US; when families celebrate Thanksgiving by eating enough food to fill a hollow horse, nearly every store in the land holds a slashed-price sale. This year of course, sales aren't just a frippery to be enjoyed; balancing the household budgets every month can depend on them.

Queues began forming at 9pm last Thursday night, outside the Walmart store in Valley Stream near New York City. At half past three the following morning, police were called in for crowd control, and an officer with a bullhorn pleaded for order. Just before 5am, a mob of more than 2,000 people were outside; a handful of Wallmart employees attempted to brace the doors from the inside. The doors shattered, the mob poured in, and a 34 year-old Wallmart employee was trampled to death.

Even when the police and staff tried to clear the store, the customers were having none of it; according to one eye witness:

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,’. They kept shopping.”

According to a local union, Wallmart had no security barriers in place and the shopping centre where the store was based had provided no security. Frightening. Criminal charges may be possible, if the identities of those responsible for trampling the victim can be determined. According the the officer investigating the  death:

“I’ve heard other people call this an accident, but it is not. Certainly it was a foreseeable act.”

TOPICS:   Black Friday


  • dan n.
    This is absolutely disgusting, the world has gone crazy! i remember hearing about a similar story when ikea had offers on. Each and every one of those people should be ashamed of themselves and walmart should be shut down for endangering the lives of their employees. make me sick
  • Why B.
    [...] in the crotch and claustrophobia on the High Street, or the sales staff in imminent danger of being trampled to death, but for customer service departments, too. That’s assuming, of course, you aim to provide [...]
  • dougie
    Seriously - what sort of offers do these people get, that they are so willing to trample each other to death? We can't be talking 5 to 10% discounts - this looks like something people would do for 70%+ discounts. Would someone care to enlighten us on just how cheap american lives are valued in sales??

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment