Wal-Mart hopes added security protects shoppers

November 26, 2009 3:39:46 PM PST
It was a Black Friday with a dark cloud. A year ago Friday, a security guard was trampled to death at a Wal-Mart on Long Island after bargain hunters stormed the doors when they opened. Under orders from prosecutors, that Wal-Mart has changed its procedures and beefed up security. But will it work?

Like most shoppers, Janet Stephens is well aware of the Black Friday stampede that broke out last year in Valley Stream. A frenzy to get to those doorbuster sales claimed the life of part-time security guard Jamitri Damour.

"I'm not risking my life for a 32-inch TV," Stephens said.

Indeed, many shoppers decide to forgo savings for a peaceful quiet experience.

"I heard the savings aren't much different," she said. "So I'm going to buy online. This way I can spend time with my family."

There was a police presence in the parking lot Thursday and security guards manning the door.

Wal-Mart has implemented a host of safety measures. They're open round-the-clock this year and have staff dedicated to crowd control. But some feel they should get rid of the doorbuster sales altogether.

The big crowds will arrive Friday morning, and that will be the real test. The barricades are already up for the media. And Wal-Mart insist they're ready.