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Black Friday – Serious and Willful Waiting to Happen

December 2nd, 2013

Welcome back from your weekend, dear readers, and Happy Chanukah as well!

Hopefully, you enjoyed Thursday in peace and did NOT go out into the frenzied crowds on Friday.  But, if you did, your humble blogger hopes you fared better than a police officer in Rialto (San Bernardino County), who suffered a broken wrist breaking up a fight in the parking lot of a Walmart.  And, as many will recall, some Black Friday violence even results in death, such as the 2008 case of Jdimytai Damour, who was trampled to death after a mob broke through the store’s doors.  There’s actually a website that documents Black Friday injuries.

In other words, dear readers, this “Black Friday” is bad news.  Each year, stores seems to be whipping potential customers into more and more of a frenzied state, knowing full well what might happen (and likely will happen) when 300 people camp out hoping to be the ones to snag the 12 available televisions for half price.

Never mind the tort liability, and never mind the fact that Rialto’s tax payers will now have to chip in extra for the cost of treatment and benefits for this injured police officer.  Sooner or later, some worker injured by a crazed mob fighting over the last “20% off” coupon, and will not only file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, but for an increase due to serious and willful misconduct as well.

A Google search for Black Friday 2013 shows side-by-side stories of the injuries sustained by customers and employees on the one hand, and vast increases in profits from Black Friday sales on the other.  The stores appear to know what they’re doing and willing to risk a few broken bones to make some sales.

This does not bode well, dear readers, and hopefully the retail community will come to its senses before this humble blogger and his colleagues are tasked with explaining to a Workers’ Compensation Judge how knowingly exposing workers to an angry mob that has just suffered a bait-and-switch does not constitute borderline criminal negligence.

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