THE BASIS POINT

Holiday Shopping Off To Deadly Start: WalMart & Toys’R’Us Unwittingly Involved

Holiday shopping is always a closely-watched measure of consumer strength, and this year it’s all the more closely scrutinized because of the 18-month long credit crunch finally taking its toll on consumers.

Black Friday, the Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping day that kicks off the holiday season, got off to a deadly start with two separated incidences of violence. In New York, a WalMart worker was trampled to death by eager consumers who broke down the store doors to get the day going. And in Palm Desert, two men got into a running shootout in the aisles of a Toys’R’Us, killing each other and—in a true Christmas miracle—harming nobody else.