Setting up rope lines so people outside the store enter in an orderly fashion almost always works. That's not the same as always works. The kind of situation where the Walmart employee was killed is extremely rare. Usually, even when lines don't work (whether ropes are used or not), the stampede doesn't start immediately. It's the latecomers trying to cut in line after the doors are open that start the stampede (cutting in line before the doors open is just asking for violent confrontation; getting through the doors and into the store makes the chances of confrontation extremely small since both have made their goal).I agree. It wouldn't have taken much effort to put up rope lines to get people to enter in a more orderly fashion, especially once they saw the crowd growing.
The point is that once someone is in the middle of that crowd, whether they planned to walk in calmly and orderly or not, they propelled forward by the unruly mob behind them. Why the people at the back of the line think they're going to get a better chance at buying some cheap crap if they push the people in front of them faster, I don't know, but it's usually the people in the back of the crowd that are more the problem than the ones in the front. It doesn't take much on the part of the store to put some measures in place to control that crowd. From setting up a single-file queue with rope lines, to even putting an occassional stop in place along that queue so people have to wait for a portion of the line to move before the next section moves to keep things moving slowly and organized, it really isn't hard. It's the same concept used by amusement parks. You don't just let everyone in the parking lot rush at the door at one time and in no order!
I hope the employee's family sues the pants off Walmart for the loss. As for preventing it in the future, I think the best hope is for the insurance carriers for those stores to raise rates through the roof if they hold "door buster" type sales, and raise them astronomically, or drop them entirely, if they don't put specific security measures in place to prevent such incidents from happening.
A store would practically have to put up a chain link fence to be sure of controlling the lines. It becomes a cost-benefit situation where the store will probably be okay without any expensive measures to control the crowd. Expanded over an entire chain of stores nationwide, I would expect Walmart to make more money off of the sales that day than they'll pay in damages for one death and a few injuries.