- (Photo: AP Images / Mike Derer)
Two men shoot each other. A pregnant woman was assaulted and miscarried. A man was trampled to death by a frenzied mob.
Black Friday sales can get you good deals on computers and televisions, but they can also endanger one's life, as various reports from big box stores like Walmart and Toys "R" Us have shown over the past few years. But will this year be different? Or is it just a matter of time before another death of this kind occurs?
The latest most disturbing Black Friday incident occurred in 2008, when Jdimytai Damour, 34, a Walmart employee in Long Island, N.Y., was trampled to death by a mob of customers who stampeded into the store as soon as the doors opened.
"They pushed him down and walked all over him," Damour's sobbing sister, Danielle, 41, said, according to the New York Daily News. "How could these people do that?
"He was such a young man with a good heart, full of life. He didn't deserve that," Damour added.
"His body was a stepping bag with so much disregard for human life," said Ernst Damour, 37, the victim's cousin.
During that same incident, a pregnant woman was knocked down and suffered a miscarriage from the injuries. She was eight months pregnant, according to MSNBC.
A few hours later on the other side of the country, two men in a Palm Desert, Calif., Toys "R" Us killed each other in a gun fight.
"These guys ran into each other, they squared off against each other, they killed each other," said Sheriff's Capt. Daniel Wilham, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's a miracle that these were the only two people killed, given it was a crowded toy store."
Toys "R" Us released a statement citing a "personal dispute" between the two men for the deadly incident, rather than a Black Friday frenzy.
Nevertheless, several years of Black Friday tragedies have led the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which issued Walmart a $7,000 citation for the tramping death of Damour, to send out a letter to retailers around the country last year, listing several safety tips to control discount-crazed shoppers.
"Crowd-related injuries during special retail sales and promotional events have increased during recent years," said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels in a press release anouncing the organization's safety effort. "Many of these incidents can be prevented by adopting a crowd management plan, and this fact sheet provides retail employers with guidelines for avoiding injuries during the holiday shopping season."
The safety tips advise retailers to train staff, have extra security or law enforcement on site, and to use "bullhorns to manage the entering crowd," among other suggestions.
Despite OSHA's attempts, Black Friday 2010 saw several instances of violence and injury across the country.
At a Madison, Wis., Toys "R" Us, a woman cut to the front of a long line. When shoppers protested, she threatened to get a gun and shoot, CNN reported.
The woman was arrested for making the shooting threat.
Also, in Buffalo, N.Y., a Target shopper was hospitalized after being trampled when shoppers rushed into the store, WIVB-TV reported.
As he was being stepped on by shoppers, Keith Krantz said he was fearful for his life.
"At that moment, I was thinking I don't want to die here on the ground. That's exactly what I thought," Krantz said.
Black Friday will take place this year on Nov. 25.