Walmart employees training for Black Friday mayhem using VR

Why the heck is that lady lying down in the middle of aisle 7? Wal-Mart employees can now address this and other fascinating scenarios using VR.

We all know what a freakin’ mess Black Friday shopping can be…  people pushing, swearing, and just generally being nasty to one another. Yes, holiday shopping can be scary, if not outright dangerous, particularly for store employees.

Given the challenge that lies ahead of them, some Walmart associates are busy training for the holiday onslaught this year using a bit of creative technology. Donning Oculus Rift headsets, employees can get a sense of the Black Friday experience beforehand by wandering virtually around their buildings and interacting with imaginary hordes of crazed shoppers.

Virtual reality (VR) has become particularly useful for training new managers by placing them in a variety of situations and scenarios, and allowing them to work through problems they are likely to encounter on the job… like the occasional counterfeit coupon or customers in clown outfits.

Right now there’s only one Wal-Mart VR-ready ‘Training Academy’ per 30 stores or so, but that’s still 200 academies total. Naturally this is expected to become a more common method of training employees in a variety of occupations, including the police and military.

I’m all for making Black Friday a little less chaotic…. though, honestly, I think I’ll just avoid the whole mess this year and shop at home in my virtual pjs.


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