Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Trample Black Friday

Wal-Mart agreed today to pay nearly $2 million and improve safety at its 92 New York stores as part of a deal with prosecutors that avoids criminal charges in the trampling death of a temporary worker.  You know what they talks.  Anything to avoid criminal charges, right?

So I have a solution to this Black Friday thing.  Why don't we not have it at all?  I mean, what good is Black Friday anyways?  Every year, hundreds of stores open extremely early and slash tons of prices for customers on a first come, first serve basis.  I know that it depends on where you live that depends on what stores open at what time, but let me give you an example.  Or a few examples.  

A few years ago, I was all about Black Friday sales.  I remember going to the mall one time because a K.B. Toy store was going to open at 3:00am.  My wife and I got there about 45 minutes early and there was already a line about 50 yards from the front entrance.  By the time the store opened, I swear the line stretched a quarter mile.  As soon as the doors to the mall opened people started acting like fools.  Running, pushing, shoving, bad mouthing each other.  All in the name of toys.  Just to save a few dollars at that.  Now if you have ever been in a K.B. Toy Store, you'll know that they are not the biggest store in the world.  They are actually pretty small.  The one in my town has 5 small aisles, 4 which are about 30 feet and then the 5th being about 25 feet.  They also have a small area when you first walk in about 15 feet long by 25 feet but that area is packed with toys so it's hard to get around them.  Now just imagine a quarter mile of people in that small of a store.  People couldn't move in that place.  I have since decided that shopping on Black Friday is not for me!

The thing that bothers me is the enormous amount of people who get hurt every year in Black Friday incidents.  Some people are even killed by trampling, such as the Wal-Mart employee.  Some get hurt on accident(as much as I hate to say the word accident), while others are hurt physically by others trying to get a good deal.  There was one time that I worked at Lowe's in which one of the items on sale was a small shop vac, around 6 gallons.  The original price was $40 dollars I believe and Lowe's had slashed the price by 50% making it $20 dollars.  People fought like mad to get this little shop vac.  I can remember two women fighting over the last one.  Both would not let go when finally one threatened the other with physical harm.  Only then did the other lady let go.  But that's just in my town, and by the way, I live in one of the most peaceful places in the United States!  

It's not so peaceful in other places.  I remember seeing on the news that people were punched, and shoved so that others could get a "bargain".  Is violence the only answer we know on Black Friday?  I also heard one time that people were getting mugged as they came out of the store or as soon as they got to their vehicles.  Crazy!

Now I'm not sure how Best Buy does Black Friday does it in other cities, but in mine, they hand out coupons to the people waiting in line.  So lets say that their ad advertises a laptop computer for $399, regularly $699.  The store only has 20 on hand to let customers get.  So the store prints out 20 coupons and goes outside the store and asks who is there for the laptop and the first 20 customers in line who say that they are there to buy the computer get the coupons.  Then only those 20 customers are allowed into the store.  But it doesn't stop there.  They have to go to the register where their laptop is brought up to them.  When they are done, they get a police escort back to their car.  This goes on for nearly every item because they are high dollar items at very low prices.  Now I know that not every Best Buy will have a police escort, but the coupon program is a good start!  Other stores should implement this same type of program if they are going to have big sales going on during Black Friday.

Personally I think that Black Friday should be gotten rid of all together.  When people get hurt or even killed, it should awaken America to the horrific behaviors that people take on during these type of sales.  When people can beak down doors and shove the people down trying to let them in and then trample them to death without even looking back or stopping to help, then we have a problem!  Personally, I think that these sales should be held on days when the general public doesn't know about it!  After all, sales can go on at anytime.  If businesses didn't have major sales when the public knew about them, then these type of incidents would not happen!

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