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Trampling not allowed

Wal-Mart making big changes to prevent rampaging crowds on Black Friday.

By Kim Peterson Nov 11, 2009 2:15PM
Shopping for deals © CorbisRetailers don't like it when Black Friday leads to mayhem, fisticuffs and dead employees. Kinda puts a damper on things, no?

And this year, shoppers' desperation to get in on a good deal might be ratcheted up a notch. Blame the economy. Blame the pressure we put on ourselves to still shower friends and family with gifts even if we can't afford it.
So now retailers, worried about potential calamity in their future (not to mention lawsuits), are taking steps to make Black Friday less chaotic.

Wal-Mart even hired crowd control experts who handled the Super Bowl and the Olympics, according to The New York Times. The store is making big changes this year.

The biggest change, according to the Times, is that Wal-Mart will remain open for 24 hours from Thanksgiving day through Friday night. No more unlocking the doors to rabid crowds at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

So when do people line up? Whenever they want. Customers will now go to the specific merchandise display to line up, and can do so at any time.

Workers will start giving out the goods at 5 a.m. to people in line.

I like the change. It will keep everyone safer, and people won't be freezing in a Wal-Mart parking lot all night long.

Wal-Mart isn't the only store concerned about rampaging customers. The National Retail Federation is distributing guidelines for crowd control, the Times reports.

Best Buy told the Times it has a policy of handing out store maps and tickets to shoppers waiting in the parking lot. Tickets will be handed out at about 3 a.m., the store said.

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