Walmart’s Killer Bargains

December 4th, 2008 by

Jdimytai “Jimbo” Damour took a temp job for the Christmas rush at the Walmart in Green Acres Mall on Long Island. Some rush. When a crowd of bargain hunters pushed into the store at 5 am on “Black Friday,” Damour, a 34 year old who weighed 270 pounds, fell to the floor and was trampled. He died within an hour of heart failure. Undeterred by Damour’s plight, many shoppers pushed on toward the electronics department, where big screen TVs were going for $800.
Damour was employed through Labor Now, a temp agency. Because Walmart was not the employer of record, Damour’s family has a number of options for legal recourse. They have filed suit in the Bronx Supreme Court, alleging that Damour’s death was caused by “the carelessness, reckless negligence, wanton disregard for public safety and gross negligence” in the “staging, conducting and advertising for sales events.”
The lawsuit names Walmart, the shopping mall and the security company employed by Wal-Mart to control the crowd. Heck, they may as well include the advertising company that stirred up the masses. Despite what appears to be a good faith – albeit unsuccessful – effort to control the mob, the settlement is likely to be substantial.
The Green Acres Mall, where the incident took place, has a troubled past. According to New York Times reporters Ken Belson and Karen Zraick, the mall opened in 1956 on the site of the Curtiss Wright Airport. It was one of the first open-air shopping centers on Long Island, with 1.2 million square feet of retail space. In the 1980s, the mall was dubbed the “car theft capital” of Long Island. In 1990, four moviegoers were shot, one fatally, when two groups of teens opened fire in a movie theatre. What was playing? Appropriately enough, The Godfather, Part III.
The most telling comment concerning this sorry indictment of consumer mania came from an anonymous employee stationed at the time of the mayhem in the electronics department. “It was crazy. The deals weren’t even that good.”