Death By Consumerism – Black Friday’s Walmart Murder

I am shocked and saddened by the death of a Walmart employee on Black Friday as he opened the doors to the Long Island, NY Walmart at 5 am. Thirty-four year-old Jdimytai Damour, a temporary worker hired by Wal-Mart for the holidays, was practically trampled to death as a crowd of over 2,000 shoppers burst through the Wal-Mart doors as he opened the doors for business.  Jdimytai was caught in the metal doors as the crowd literally marched over him to save a few measly dollars.  Video tape showed that Jdimytai struggled against the onslaught of shoppers as horrified Wal-Mart employees tried in vain to save him from the frenzied mob.  When they finally reached him, Jdimytai was dead of a heart attack.  

Four other people were hurt but survived the mayhem, including a pregnant woman.  But more was to come.  Seemingly unsatisfied with the initial horror of Jdimytai’s death, shoppers loudly complained and staunchly resisted when Wal-Mart tried to close the store, continuing to shop and save even when asked to leave.  Forget about humanity, forget about what Christmas is really about, forget about the man laying dead on the floor, what really mattered to these New York shoppers was saving money on a lousy HD LCD TV.  

Is this what we have become, a nation that values saving money over good will towards men? Are times so bad and money so tight that saving a few dollars on non-essential luxury gifts is more important than a man’s life?  Where is the compassion? What happened to human dignity?  I wonder what went through Jdimytai’s mind in those last desperate moments as he was trampled by those holiday shoppers. I’m sure it wasn’t, “Damn, I’m not going to be able to get that 37″ TV for $799.”

The police are reviewing the tapes to see if they can identify the shoppers and bring them to justice.  But what justice is there for taking a life so carelessly?  We as Americans need to take a step back and decide what is really important in our world today.  I am sure that the people in that crowd are good people, with family, friends, and co-workers who care about them.  And yet, for some reason on Black Friday, they were able to participate in what I call murder — as senseless a murder as they come.  And then to rub salt in the wounds, the refused to leave the store in respect of a man’s death.  We all should be sickened by this shameful demonstration of callousness and cold-heartedness. America, what have we become?  Im afraid to think what might be the answer.  


25 thoughts on “Death By Consumerism – Black Friday’s Walmart Murder

  1. TattooedMinivanMom says:

    I heard about this. It does make me sick. Especially when the consumers didn’t want to leave so a proper investigation could begin. I can’t even imagine. What is wrong with some people?

  2. SITS Girls says:

    This just breaks my heart. It is an incredibly sad statement.

    Wal Mart should have seen this coming. It happens every year. I don’t “do” Black Friday, but I have heard that some stores, like “Best Buy”, have changed their procedure and allow 10 at a time in, a few minutes apart.

    My son and I were in Palm Desert 2 days before the Black Friday shooting there at the Toys R Us.
    TOYS R US… a shooting, two men pulled guns on each other when their girlfriends began arguing in line.

  3. Preston says:

    Tattooed Minivan Mom – It’s shocking all the way around. How people could refuse to leave after the man was trampled to death is beyond comprehension.

    Sits Girls – It broke my heart too. And I think more precautions need to be taken by the stores to control the crowds on Black Friday, but people need to take responsibility for their own actions, too. And I didn’t hear about the shooting at Toys R Us. What a horrible thing to happen.

  4. Dave says:

    When I was working for Wal-Mart they told us (photo lab managers in training) a story.

    You know those little boxes you used to (or still do?) drop film into? Well, chances are once you do and you live in a remote location, your film is flown out to the “nearest” bulk processing facility which could be hundreds of miles away.

    At any rate, a plane carrying bags of the unprocessed film went down on its way to the airport, killing both people on board. But rather than be sympathetic about the situation, customers were complaining about their film being lost/damaged/etc. when they returned to pick up their prints.

    Then one year when my wife was working for Wal-Mart, she was nearly burned at the stake for sneaking in the shopping cart door while a gaggle of Black Friday shoppers were outside waiting to be obedient little consumers. She had to show them her name tag as she rushed in the store. That’s not what I would have flashed them.

    So sadly, having worked retail for years I can say that the consumers’ behavior in this story is not all that shocking. I’ve also worked at Target, Best Buy, Office Depot and a few others and it’s all the same: people effing SUCK during the holidays.

  5. Preston says:

    Dave – But why? Why do people suck during the holidays? Our experience on Black Friday was wonderful. We had a super helpful staff person at K-Mart go into the back of the store and find the last of the $9.95 comforters for us and the check-out lady was so friendly. The workers at the Christmas Tree Store couldn’t have been more cheerful and even the check-out gal at Kohl’s was super nice. If some people can be nice, why can’t all?

  6. Dave says:

    Dude, I dunno. It just seems to being out the worst in some.

    When I was a retail slave I went out of my way to get them what they needed or if not, offer a resolution. That’s just how I was and would still be if I had to go back to retail. But since becoming Joe Average, I make it a point to be patient and understanding to the employees on Black Friday–or any other time I’m shopping, for that matter. In fact I’ve gotten in others peoples’ faces to defend employees that were doing the best they could under the circumstances.

    That said, I avoided Black Friday this year. I’m broke 🙂

  7. Preston says:

    Dave – More people should be like you. (I’m broke,too but this was the first year in a long time that Heather had her own money to spend on Christmas so we went out on Black Friday.)

  8. Hahn at Home says:

    Then there's the shootout at the Toys R Us. That was nice too.

    I swear – man's greed is puke-worthy.

    My kids had very little money this year (because it comes indirectly from me), but insisted on doing their own shopping – Target & Barnes & Noble. I know they were prudent and thoughtful in their giving. No RONCO slicer dicers or anything.

  9. Gina says:

    That is a truly horrific story. My hubby works for Walmart (unfortunately…but hey, it brings a paycheck). Anyway, there is a tiny little lady who works there who was nearly trampled last year. A customer stepped in and wrapped himself around her to protect her. Sad times.

  10. heathersister says:

    They should have locked the doors and not let anyone out until they questioned people and looked at the tapes. I am sure people would have started talking then. It isn’t just now, people act like that all the time. Think about it. When you are driving, how crazy people are these days. It is sad.

  11. Country Wife says:

    It truly is a sad statement of our humanity, or lack thereof, isn’t it?

    I worked in a toy store once on Black Friday. I had a great time, even playing ‘personal shopper’ for one mom with several tiny children. I was only there as a favor to someone, so the angry people demanding my job, once they discovered we didn’t have an advertised item or the items were all gone, just got laughed at.

    I’ve always loved ‘people watching’ during the holiday season. But I can never understand the mob mentality that took over in NY. So sad.

  12. Preston says:

    Hahn at Home – I recently heard about the Toys R Us shooting. It’s disgusting. And good for your kids on insisting that they do their own shopping. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, even if it is a Ronco slicer. 🙂

    Gina – Nothing wrong with working at Walmart because we all need to earn a living. Thank goodness there was someone there to save that little lady.

    Heathersister – I am with you. I bet they’d have a different reaction when they were all lined up against the wall with cops pointing their guns at them!

    Country Wife – It sure is a sad statement of our humanity. Somehow we’ve got to get some of that humanity back. I worked at Electronics Boutique once during Christmas and I was shocked at how nasty some people could be while others were kind and understanding. And that was back in the 80’s.

  13. Elaine says:

    It is disgusting to even think of how bad greed has robbed “americans” into murderous thoughts and actions. I am completely appalled! I have never gone shopping during Black Friday, already knowing how bad it can get, but this is pure insanity. Preston, I hope you don’t mind me linking you to my site as well. I have found your posts to be very moving and influential. Thank you for posting this truth, I hope that people will wake up from their lust and greed to realize what’s going on!

  14. Preston says:

    Elaine – It’s disgusting and appalling and very, very sad. I’m glad you linked to my post and I hope more people will read about this and really think about what is most important during the holidays AND ALWAYS. Thank you for your kind words. Let’s see is America can wake up. Hope springs eternal!

  15. sandy says:

    I would hate to be on the receiving end of those gifts purchased at the expense of a man’s life! People are sick and I am so saddened by this story:(

  16. Dad to Two says:

    I agree with SITS Girls when she said Wal-Mart should have seen this coming. It is not like this is the first time it has happened. I think that these stores should be held legally responsible for deaths and injuries. Other stores were able to prepare for the event and find safe ways for people to enter the stores and have safe pleasant shopping experiences. Wal-Mart failed to insure/provide for the safety of its customers and created an unsafe situation. It is similar to the idea of someone yelling FIRE! in a crowded theater. That person would be responsible for the chaos/death/injury that resulted from the action of the idiots fending for themselves and trampling over others to escape.

  17. MakingMoney says:

    I heard about this as well how sad and scary. It is unbelievable that people wouldn’t want to leave the store, that is sick. I went out on Black Friday this year after second guessing but you know, it’s just really not that serious. I go with an attitude like if I get what I want good and if I don’t oh well I’ll catch the next best sale. I’m not the one for running people over. The walmart near me is getting smarter with these sales after seeing all the frantic rushing over the years. They opened the doors at 12am and allowed people to freely walk the store until 5am when they unwrapped the high deal items and the other lower priced items were just being watched by the workers. Thing is they actually had several police in the store. It’s awful that it takes all that isnt?

  18. Preston says:

    Sandy – I agree. Who wants a gift that was purchased after someone was trampled to death?

    Dad To Two – I also agree that Walmart shares some of the blame but you are wrong in you analogy if you think Walmart deserves all the blame. It was not a fire. It was not a line of 2,000 starving people waiting for bread to feed their families. These were people who wanted to buy $800 TVs and discounted dvds and other gifts. People need to be held accountable for their actions, even if it occurs in a mob. What about their refusal to leave the store? And the anger they displayed because the store was closing due to the death of the employee? What the hell is that all about? I’m sick of people passing the blame on someone or something else. These people could have controlled themselves, if they truly wanted. And they could have exhibited some compasion and humanity when the store was trying to close. Blaming Walmart is just too damn easy. Well, that’s just one man’s opinion, anyway.

  19. Preston says:

    Making Money – It’s so sad and scary. Your Walmart was smart to do what it did but it is a sad reflection of our community that such actions have to be taken at all.

  20. Justin Germino says:

    This is indeed tragic, I blogged about my own horror story with trying to shop at walmart at 5am on black friday. Never again, internet shopping only from now on, it just isn’t worth it.

    The meanest people come out, seriously its one thing to want to save money, but it seems the people who scrooge the most are the ones who don’t need to save and have the blackest hearts.

  21. Preston says:

    Justin – It’s so true. The internet is the safest way to shop but oh how sad that we can’t shop face to face in today’s world.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Such a repulsive story. I really don’t understand the “Black Friday” concept in the first place–getting up in the middle of the night to stand in line–I mean, the “deals” can’t be that great. And to be so focused on buying stupid junk that you trample and kill people? It’s beyond disgusting.

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