Wal-Mart Employee Killed in Black Friday Stampede

A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said.

The 34-year-old employee, a temporary maintenance worker, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

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I think this terribly sad story shows a desperation in people that didn’t exist even a year ago. I’ve worked in retail on “Black Fridays” in years past. The crowds were elbow-to-elbow but I never saw this kind of “escape the burning building” mob mentality. Ever.

It’s frightening too because this could end up being typical behavior at grocery stores if the worst-case-scenario predictions about our economy come true. You’re fooling yourself if you think it can’t happen here.

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