We went to Walmart for Black Friday — and it was nothing like we expected

Walmart’s Black Friday sales are wildly popular – so popular, in fact, that they have led to massive crowds in stores every year, brawls over merchandise, and tragically, the death of a worker in 2008 after he was trampled by shoppers at a Long Island, New York, store.

When we visited a Walmart store in Dublin, Georgia, last year at the start of the retailer’s doorbuster sales, we expected to find chaos.

Here’s what we saw instead.


We arrived five minutes before the start of the doorbuster sales, which kicked off at 6 p.m.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

There were tons of people in the store, but it was shockingly calm.

source
Hayley Peterson/Business Insider

The general mood was far from the frantic one we expected. Everyone was pretty quiet — and strangely serious.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

No one was fighting over merchandise or seemed to be in any rush. Foot traffic throughout the store was slow.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

That’s partly because Walmart seemed to have stocked up well for the event. The store hadn’t sold out of any of its doorbuster items when we were there.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

To manage crowding, Walmart hands out a limited number of wristbands for big-ticket items like televisions.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Then shoppers who get the wristbands wait in line to collect their items.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The company started using this tactic a couple of years ago to help reduce chaos in the stores, particularly in the electronics department.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

This strategy worked. Crowds were evenly dispersed throughout the store.

source
Hayley Peterson/Business Insider

The store set up caution tape across some aisles to help direct traffic.

source
Hayley Peterson/Business Insider

Police officers also helped shoppers find their way around the store. Ten police cars were parked in front of the store, and there were security personnel at every turn.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Overall, the event was organized and shockingly tame.

source
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson