I can't imagine. Talk about drawing the shortest straw. Last week, on Black Friday, as the day after Thanksgiving is known throughout the country, a Wal-Mart worker in New York was trampled to death after he opened the doors to thousands of eager shoppers looking to save a few bucks on Christmas presents.
An autopsy confirmed that 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour, despite being six foot five and 270 pounds, died of asphyxiation as hundreds of pairs of feet walked over him after he was granted the "honor" of opening the doors to the Christmas season. He had only been working at the Wal-Mart for a week, so he probably didn't know what he was getting himself into when he "volunteered." You can expect to see a huge lawsuit soon.
At least two others injured in the melee have begun the process to sue, and I'm sure several more will follow. Wal-Mart says it did everything it could to keep this tragedy from happening, but we know that isn't true. They should have had someone outside the store handing out tickets to shoppers, then allow just a few in at a time. It seems like a no-brainer to me.
Or even better, don't have a sale that begins at the crack of dawn on a particular morning, knowing full well that hundreds or maybe even thousands of shoppers will cram together to be the first to "save." This episode will truly be a tragedy if Wal-Mart or other retailers fail to learn the lesson here: general admission doesn't work.
I remember a Who concert in the 1970s when a handful of concert-goers were trampled to death as the crowd rushed in to grab the best seats. Rules were changed soon after requiring promoters to sell tickets for all seats instead of using a first-come, first-served approach. This is necessary because, unfortunately, people are sometimes too stupid to police themselves. They take on a herd mentality, which I think means not using a brain, and do just what everyone else does.
I mean, if you were in this group of shoppers and you realized that more and more people were crowding in, wouldn't you find your way out pronto? Is saving $10 or $20 or even $100 or $200 worth someone losing their life? I can't believe that these "sheep" couldn't see that the situation had gotten out of hand well before the doors were opened. How dumb can you be? Of course, many of these folks don't have a problem waiting outside in a line for hours and hours, so should we really expect them to know when a situation could turn tragic?
This episode certainly made Black Friday black, and I won't even mention the two guys in California who killed each other at a Toys "R" Us.
All in all, a great start to the Christmas season, wouldn't you say.