Man dies in Black Friday shopping stampede.

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  • #76
BobG
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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.
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).

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.
 
  • #77
mheslep
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A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky animals and you know it!
K to J!
 
  • #78
WarPhalange
Are we freakin stupid zombies all of a sudden that need to be corralled like cows?
"All of a sudden"? Where have you been for the past 10,000 or so years?
 
  • #79
turbo
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A Finnish research collaborator of mine has as his sig:

Stupidity grows denser in a crowd. (Old Finnish saying)
 
  • #80
Monique
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I wish I had a taser so I could jolt all the people who are rude enough to push me over just to get into a train or bus, or the ones who are pushing from the back (why would you push?) :grumpy:

I agree with Moonbear that there should be additional security measures taken in situations that are potential crowd-attractors, but I think it will be difficult to make a law to reinforce this (how much crowd control do you need for what situations).
 
  • #81
Moonbear
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I agree with Moonbear that there should be additional security measures taken in situations that are potential crowd-attractors, but I think it will be difficult to make a law to reinforce this (how much crowd control do you need for what situations).
I saw an article in the news earlier today (but didn't save the link) that local officials in Long Island are already looking into passing a law to mandate what types of sales would require additional security, and to specify what types of additional security are needed, as well as require coordinating such events with local police so they are prepared if a situation gets out of hand. I'm not sure how realistic it will be. I mean, some parts they certainly can require, such as sales of limited quantities for limited times that typically attract large crowds could be required to have a certain amount of security personnel and sturdier barriers to prevent them from all rushing the door at once. But, I'm not sure that the local police will have enough officers to cover all the stores that want to do this type of sale if they require police be involved.
 
  • #82
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the store should just run a raffle system. everyone that wants gets a ticket for the in-demand items, then you start calling out numbers. anyone that isn't present, you go to the next until all items are sold. no need for a stampede.
 
  • #83
turbo
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Sears was even more blatant about the "quantities limited" and "bait and switch" scams years back. In 1982, my wife did not have a driver's license, so I bought a nice Honda Civic, and since winter was coming on, I wanted to equip it with all-weather tires. Sears advertised a sale that featured some high-quality Michelin tires, and of course, the smallest ones (that fit the Civic) had REALLY low prices in the ads. I was the first person in the store, only to be told that those tires were sold out in that size. I had to threaten the manager with a law-suit before she agreed to issue a rain-check.

During that same sale, an attractively-priced set of screwdrivers were also "sold out" first thing in the morning, though larger, more expensive sets were available. Creeps.
 
  • #84
Moonbear
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Sears was even more blatant about the "quantities limited" and "bait and switch" scams years back. In 1982, my wife did not have a driver's license, so I bought a nice Honda Civic, and since winter was coming on, I wanted to equip it with all-weather tires. Sears advertised a sale that featured some high-quality Michelin tires, and of course, the smallest ones (that fit the Civic) had REALLY low prices in the ads. I was the first person in the store, only to be told that those tires were sold out in that size. I had to threaten the manager with a law-suit before she agreed to issue a rain-check.

During that same sale, an attractively-priced set of screwdrivers were also "sold out" first thing in the morning, though larger, more expensive sets were available. Creeps.
Back in the 80's, a lot of stores used those methods to attract customers, which is why there are more laws prohibiting it now. The other common trick used by stores selling major appliances was to put out a circular ad with an unbelievably low price on an item like a refrigerator or washer and dryer set. When you got to the store to buy it, it would be sold out, even though the same model was sitting on the floor in front of you. They'd then point to the fine print in the ad that would list the SERIAL number of the appliance for sale...they only had ONE at that price! I don't know how that ever really worked, because when they tried it on my parents, we just walked out in disgust from that appliance store never to return.
 
  • #85
Office_Shredder
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Back in the 80's, a lot of stores used those methods to attract customers, which is why there are more laws prohibiting it now. The other common trick used by stores selling major appliances was to put out a circular ad with an unbelievably low price on an item like a refrigerator or washer and dryer set. When you got to the store to buy it, it would be sold out, even though the same model was sitting on the floor in front of you. They'd then point to the fine print in the ad that would list the SERIAL number of the appliance for sale...they only had ONE at that price! I don't know how that ever really worked, because when they tried it on my parents, we just walked out in disgust from that appliance store never to return.
They get the people who go in after seeing the ad expecting great prices, see..... prices, and hence assume they're great
 
  • #86
BobG
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Which would be a better example of mob mentality overcoming an individual's most rational decision (from the standpoint of achieving their goal)?

1) Calmly going to the end of the Walmart line knowing a position at the end of the line reduces your chances of purchasing any of the items on sale.

2) Joining the stampede into Walmart as soon as you see someone else cutting in line.

I'm not advocating that cutting in line and starting a stampede is a good action. I just think maybe the stampede is mischaractized a bit.

Peer pressure encouraging conformity has some good aspects, as well, which is probably why it becomes such a powerful force in influencing individual behavior. It maintains some stable behavior in society even when that behavior can be disadvantageous to the person in certain situations.

Kind of like the popular ethics question where a poor man has an ill wife that will die without a rare, expensive medication. Should he steal the medication to save his wife, especially since stealing a rare medication means it won't be available to save a different, wealthier patient with the same disease?

Or the famous Asch experiment where if everyone else gives the same incorrect response, the subject of the experiment has a much better chance of giving the same incorrect response - even when the questions are so easy that the average person would be sure to give the correct answer if tested alone (the percentage of correct responses dropped from 100% to about 63% with 75% of subjects making at least one incorrect response - people can resist peer pressure, but few are completely immune to it).

As soon as one person breaks conformity, others find it much easier to break conformity as well (Asch experiment and the Milgram experiment). As soon as shoppers see latecomers making the more rational decision (at least for that single situation) of cutting into line and getting into the store as rapidly as possible, many shoppers throw conformity aside and start looking out for their own interests - society be damned.
 
  • #87
LowlyPion
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The simplest way to deal with it is to create a line in the parking lot and force people to enter in a much narrower stream than the doors. No line then the doors won't open. It should only take a few employees outside to create orderliness and throw up a temporary rope line.

I was reading about a man in NJ that was pinned to the ground by Walmart employees for shoplifting a few day ago and he died.

If they have the muscle to do that, then they should have been able to prevent a surging crowd.
 
  • #88
BobG
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The simplest way to deal with it is to create a line in the parking lot and force people to enter in a much narrower stream than the doors. No line then the doors won't open. It should only take a few employees outside to create orderliness and throw up a temporary rope line.

I was reading about a man in NJ that was pinned to the ground by Walmart employees for shoplifting a few day ago and he died.

If they have the muscle to do that, then they should have been able to prevent a surging crowd.
Or one policeman. You don't need enough to outmuscle the entire crowd. You only need enough that no one wants to risk being the only dissenter.
 
  • #89
LowlyPion
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You mean the "I've got 6 shots. Who's going to be first" deterrence?

Probably a useful tactic all the way up to lynchings and likely more than enough to keep a half-priced Barbie crazed mob at bay.
 

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