What Stores Are Doing to Prevent Black Friday Freakouts

Tickets, Segways, live bands aim to keep shoppers calm
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2013 1:27 PM CST

(Newser) – Ever since a Walmart worker was trampled to death five years ago on Black Friday, the chain has increased its efforts to ensure safe shopping. Now, a range of top retailers are trying everything from live music to off-duty police hires to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy. Among their strategies, via Bloomberg:

  • Walmart last night handed out wristbands to shoppers for events starting at 6pm and 8pm. Those with the bands were allowed to come back two hours after the events began to pick up their goods. And last year, the company instituted a "One-Hour Guarantee": If you're in the store within an hour of a sales event starting, you'll be sure to get your item.

  • Best Buy workers actually went through dress rehearsals for today. The chain is also offering ticketed shopping, which sees workers distribute individual tickets for every item available in doorbuster sales. Shoppers are allowed one ticket per category of item. "That prevents the need for a big rush to get to the pile of TVs or whatever the hot item is," says a rep.
  • Target has security teams riding around the parking lot on Segways so they'll be noticed.
  • Miami's Dolphin Mall has hired off-duty police to keep an eye on things. "They have conversations with the customers; they tell them we expect them to come in an orderly fashion when the doors open," says the general manager. There will also be live bands to keep the crowds entertained.
Of course, that doesn't mean today is exactly an oasis of calm: Quite a few outlets are rounding up videos of Black Friday mayhem. (Read more Black Friday stories.)

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