The eagerly anticipated Black Friday 2011 was a black day in the lives of several hundreds of shoppers, following reports of stampedes, injuries and even deaths, against the backdrop of anxiety to secure the perfect shopping bargain.
The situation, in several stores, went so far out of control that the normal hustle-bustle of holiday season shopping, at several leading discount chains like Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, saw unexpected mad rushes all through the weekend - Black Friday, Sunday and Cyber Monday. There were large queues at the stores several hours before they were scheduled to open.
Despite the holiday season, the sight of hundreds of otherwise industrious and accomplished citizens, pushing, shoving and trampling their way over one another to buy discounted items, provides a startlingly real picture of the country's falling economy and its effects on the common man. Tragically, fights, injuries and damage to life and property have always been a part of Black Friday’s history.
In an incident a few years ago in New York, a Wal-Mart worker died, after being trampled by customers who barged through the door, crushing him and several others, who were later hospitalized.
In another incident, two men at the Toys “R” US store in California, pulled out rifles and shot each other, amidst thousands of holiday shoppers. The tragedy did not even spare a woman, eight months pregnant, who, along with a number of other female shopppers, had to be taken to hospital after being crushed and/or suffocated.
The glass doors at the Green Acres Mall in Long Island shattered, as impatient shoppers pushed through; store authorities were forced to call police for crowd control and plead for order, according to a Seattle Times report. A temp worker, Jdimytai Damour, was thrown on to the floor and trampled, as a stream of people crushed him. He was later declared dead.
According to Nassau County police, several other fatal injuries were registered and the people responsible for running over and crushing the victims could face criminal charges.
This problem is by no means a one-off incident. It is repeated every year and at every major shopping or holiday season. However, as of now, no major legal or regulatory provisions have been made or put into effect.
Check out the graphic video of the mad rush of Black Friday shoppers.
Woman Almost Crushed to Death at Wal-Mart
Black Friday Crowd Rushing Into Urban Outfitters