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Black Friday warning: Don’t kill workers!22 Nov 2010 04:17 am

crowds.jpgI’ve been monitoring the Black Friday deals for a few weeks now as part of a new “Deal of the Day” section I’m writing for MSNBC.com and TodayShow.com, and I fear I may be contributing to what is expected to be holiday shopping hysteria later this week.

Already the airwaves, newspapers, and the Internet are bursting with endless, “never-before-seen” bargains. And whether these bargains turn out to be real or not, consumers can’t help but be caught up in the pre-Black Friday marketing push. I’ve talked to many deal-hunting hotshots in the past week, and they’re getting their game faces and cleats on for the big day.

In 2008, I wrote about a 34-year old Wal-Mart temp worker at a Long Island store named Jdimytai Damour who had hardly any training in dealing with crowds and was crushed to death by shoppers when the doors opened on Black Friday. His father Ogera Charles told me a year after his death that “there were too many people.” Of Walmart and the shoppers, he said, “they both could have done a better job.”

Turns out, retailers and consumers apparently aren’t doing a better job, because worker injuries during special sales events have actually increased in recent years.

Many workers are hopeful things won’t be as crazy, but they’re preparing for the worst. A worker at Sears told me yesterday she’s been asked to come into work at 3:45 am this Friday; and when I asked her how she felt about working she had a bit of fear in her eyes. “It will be okay,” she said, unconvincingly.

That’s why I decided to do a blog post to warn workers of the danger ahead. I’m not being an alarmist folks. Even the government is worried about worker safety amidst the buying bonanza expected this Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, and is warning retailers that if they don’t take precautionary measure to protect workers they are going to be in big trouble. (more…)

Are you too good to work at a dollar store?20 Jul 2010 09:07 am