Walmart had its fair share of disasters on Black Friday last year.
A screaming mob fought over a $2 waffle iron, a woman allegedly pepper sprayed a crowd so she could get an Xbox and people were sent to the hospital after being slammed to the ground in a tussle over smartphones.
This year, Walmart employed a brilliant tactic for controlling the crowds.
The retailer staggered promotions to prevent another stampede.
Walmart opened doors at 8 p.m., allowing shoppers to get into the store. Those interested in the toys, clothes or kitchen appliances on sale bought them. But shoppers who wanted electronics had to wait.
Some electronics, including printers and cameras, were placed in plastic-wrapped kiosks. Employees and a police officer guarded them. They unwrapped some at 10 p.m. and others at 5 a.m., preventing overcrowding that would occur if everyone rushed in at the same time.
Shoppers who wanted bigger-ticket items like televisions were put on a first-come, first-serve list and given a ticket.
The plan seemed to be working at a Cincinnati Walmart.
"It's a lot nicer than last year because it prevents the lines from getting too long," one Walmart worker told us. "The atmosphere in general is a lot less chaotic."
Shoppers also approved of the strategy.
"Because we knew they weren't going to let us buy the electronics until two hours after the store opening, there was no motivation to wait in front of the store beforehand and just try to rush and buy something," said a man shopping at Walmart. "When you're all waiting there is when people start to get hostile."
Walmart "nailed it" with the new plan, said Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions.
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