November 28, 2008

Wal-Mart Black Friday Opening Turns Fatal

We encourage this behavior with our discounts, promotions, and advertising featuring "doorbusters". Then folks actually bust down the door, ending a life. In some ways, we marketers need to consider our level of accountability here.

Look at some of the behavior we encourage, all so that we can make a few extra dollars of profit. And what if we're losing money on these promotions?


  1. Anonymous10:14 AM

    I'm sorry but I have to disagree that the retailer bears any responsibility. No individual or entity would ever advocate the kind of behavior that resulted in this tragic death. Ultimate responsibility for behavior belongs soley to the indiviual who commits the act.

  2. No, retailers would never advocate the kind of behavior that results in tragic death.

    But we do advocate the kind of behavior that makes this possible.

    We advertise "doorbusters". What are we inspiring when we tell the consumer to come in for a "doorbuster". If we didn't want the customer to bust the door down, might we call it something else?

    We advertise that the store opens at 5:00am. We encourage folks to line up, 2,000 deep, starting on Friday. We encourage TV stations to film people rushing into the store. We hire security guards in anticipation of trouble.

    We happily encourage the dynamics that cause a terrible outcome to happen. And then we stand back and blame the customer when things go awry.

    I agree with you that we don't advocate the kind of behavior resulting in trouble. But we heartily advocate the buildup to the activity, and we're accountable for that.


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