There’s a pretty sad story from Walmart that you’ve probably heard about by now:

By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless.

Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.

Damour’s injuries were fatal.

I almost always respond to things like this with a cold curiosity before anything else. So here is what I was curious about: Walmart was closed? Half of the reason I’ve historically shopped at Walmart is because it does not close. Not in the big city of Colosse or the rural locations in Deseret. I was vaguely aware that some did somewhere and maybe this is one of them.

I’ve always wondered how 24-hour stores handle events like this. I got a taste several years ago when John Fustle, Hubert Graham, Dennis Loxley, and I (maybe Web was there, too, I can’t recall) went around from location to location trying to get ahold of PlayStation 2’s when they were originally released. Walmart was one of the places that we stopped. I remember wondering how they would handle people piling up in their store for the release that was supposed to happen at 8:00 or so. Or maybe they would keep everybody in line outside the place or something. The answer, it turned out, was that they secretly started selling them at 6:00 and were sold out by 7:45 when we got there.


Category: Market

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11 Responses to Retail Rodeo Stampede

  1. Peter says:

    This particular Wal-Mart, and the adjacent mall (Green Acres Mall) is well-known for attracting a rather rough crowd.

  2. thebastidge says:

    Another opportunity to dis Walmart simply cannot be passed up.

    It seems every year the same story is published, and it has nothing to do with the particular store, it is simply an insanity that runs among people fueled by advertising. Nothing could compel me to go shopping on Black Friday- even the silly name is overly dramatic.

    So many assumptions in the story: why should a crowd become a rabble simply because no cops were around? Would cops being present have stopped it?

  3. David Alexander says:

    Walmart was closed?

    That Wal-Mart is not a 24hr location, nor are any of the Wal-Marts in the area. OTOH, near me, one supermarket is open 24/7 (PathMark) with others closing at either midnight or 2AM (Stop & Shop or Waldbaum’s).

    This particular Wal-Mart, and the adjacent mall (Green Acres Mall) is well-known for attracting a rather rough crowd.

    I suspect Trumwill may edit this portion of my comment…

    While the Wal-Mart mentioned in the article is located in Valley Stream, a mostly white village on the border with NYC, most of the patrons come from Southeastern Queens and eastern Brooklyn. While SE Queens is a mostly black area that holds a sizable number of the city’s high prole and middle class black population, the mall has a garnered a bad reputation over the past decade or so, and I know of plenty of high prole and middle class black people who openly avoid going there.

    As a disclaimer, I must advise that until I moved into Long Island, I was a heavy user of that mall, and since moving, my trips to said mall have effectively dropped off as Roosevelt Field/The Source is much closer and offers a larger selection.

  4. trumwill says:

    Larry, I’m not anti-Walmart. I just find the story to be interesting.

  5. trumwill says:

    I thought NYC was the city that never sleeps. Yet Walmart does? What’s wrong with this picture?

  6. David Alexander says:

    I thought NYC was the city that never sleeps. Yet Walmart does? What’s wrong with this picture?

    As a lifetime resident of the NYC Metro area, I’ve always found that meme slightly overblown. In Manhattan and other areas close to its core, you’ll find some eateries, supermarkets, and even auto repair shops open 24/7, but that’s primarily due to the high density of residents that allows for some sizable market of residents who stay up late. Plus, one should add the numbers of employees who work late or overnight hours, the huge numbers of clubs and bars that stay open until 4 AM, and the fact that the subway and PATH stays open 24/7 with taxis and car services operating all night.

    Once one is outside of the core, like the outer boros and suburbs, the only 24/7 stuff that’s open are some diners, a few supermarkets, and convience stores/bodegas. Malls and department stores outside of holliday hours close around 9:30 or 10 along with Target, Wal-Mart, and K-Mart. The commuter rail system with the exception of the most heavily used portions of the LIRR peter out at 1 AM or so with service restarting around 5 or 6 AM. So while Manhattan maybe a 24/7 world, it’s suburbs are really 18/7.

    BTW, there are no Wal-Marts in NYC’s legal boundaries, but there are several Targets and K-Marts, but they’re much smaller than those found in Delosa. They feature mostly frozen foods and processed non-perishable items, but they’re simply poor substitutes for supermarkets. None of the Targets and K-Marts are open 24/7, and I suspect that maybe due to poor transit access for the employees during the overnight hours.

    Interestingly, while the Wal-Mart in the article is generally deemed to be the closest to New York City, most seem to be oblivious to the fact that the closest to Midtown Manhattan is located in Secaucus, NJ.

  7. Peter says:

    BTW, there are no Wal-Marts in NYC’s legal boundaries, but there are several Targets and K-Marts, but they’re much smaller than those found in Delosa. They feature mostly frozen foods and processed non-perishable items, but they’re simply poor substitutes for supermarkets.

    Not that New York’s actual supermarkets are much better. They’re reputed to be among the worst in the country, cramped, unclean, expensive, often selling perishable products that have already perished, and staffed with workers to whom “courtesy” is a wholly unknown word. One that that doesn’t help is New York’s bottle-deposit law. It ensures that supermarket entrances are clogged with filthy and often foul-smelling skells trying to return cans and bottles for liquor/drug money.

  8. ? says:

    The NYT article contains no art, but check out the YouTube video collection of the Green Acres Mall. It gives you an idea of what “a rather rough crowd” means.

    Funny (in a bad way) that the NYT can blame this on WalMart’s failure to unionize, yet won’t mention the race of the rioting shoppers.

  9. David Alexander says:

    Not that New York’s actual supermarkets

    As in NYC Metro or just referring to the 5 boros? If we’re leaving this discussion to the 5 boros, much of the discussion of bad supermarkets can be left to mostly stores catering to minority areas, especially if they’re low income. Some areas have lucked out with chain supermarkets that are in better shape than some suburban counterparts.

    If we’re discussing the metro area as a whole, then allegedly, NYC Metro supermarkets do have a bad rap, and supposedly, our best supermarkets in the suburbs are the worst supermarkets in other states. One could always blame the boogey men of high costs of living, high transport costs, and high rents that seem to plague New York…

  10. trumwill says:

    I agree that it’s a stretch to blame the incident on lack of unionization, but I would say it’s far less inappropriate to tag this as a racial incident.

  11. thebastidge says:

    Trumwill, not you so much. The thrust of the news article seems to place the Walmart brand name prominently.

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