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11/29/08

Black Friday Blood Lust

Grotesque, obsessive over-consumption, in the guise of holiday "giving" reached an all time high (or really, all time low) when a Wal-Mart employee; a temp, actually, was trampled at 5am on Friday during what turned out to be a literal "door-buster" sale.

Apparently the crowd could wait no longer and broke down the door, knocking down a number of employees, including seasonal worker Jdimytai Damour, 34. He wasn't actually killed from being trampled to death, but from a heart-attack caused by the shock of being trampled in the first place. More horrifying is that people continued to shop. People continued to shop even as police attempted to clear out the store. Customers demanded to stay claiming that they had been online since the day before.

Many are quick to blame Wal-Mart for not seeing how out of control the crowd was getting and taking proper security precautions. James works at Best Buy and his store (the only one in Brooklyn, so of course it was over-crowded) had organized shoppers into a single-file line, gave place tickets and only allowed a few in at a time. They even were able to have some police officeres on scene and the day known as Black Friday went off without violent incident.

While I love to hate Wal-Mart as much as the next person, and while they will obviously be sued and lose and do have a clear amount of responsiblity for not acting on behalf of their employees to prevent a dangerous situation- this is moreso a symptom of a much bigger issue that plagues all of America. Companies start advertising Christmas sales before Halloween even passes. Every other TV spot and newspaper ad is for an amazing "door buster" sale starting before the sun comes up. They fuel a buying lust in people, something that is bred into us since childhood is brought to it's foaming peak and erupts in a mad dash of grabbing just for stuff. And for what? What do the holidays mean to you? If you do celebrate Christmas and do so for any remnance of anything religious, what does buying a ton of crap have to do with the season? In a time that's supposedly about peace and fraternity, parents are worried that their child will grow up with a emotional disorder if they can't get their hands on an Xbos 360 before December 23rd.

This is not the first time that ravanous shoppers have commited acts of violence just to buybuybuy, nownownow. Plenty of others have been trampled, mauled, knocked over, punched in the face. If not for Xbox, it's the Wii, the PS3. Before Tickle Me Elmo, it was the Furbie, the Cabbage Patch Kid (which, by the way, my mom refused to buy for the Christmas they were the hot toy in the 80's because she refused to get killed for it and knew that I could take it. My self esteem would be unscathed even if I didn't get everything I ever wanted for one holiday). No, it is not the first, just one of the worst. The thing about a mob is that not only is blame hard to prove (as in, who started it, who stepped on Mr. Damour first), but so is culpulbility. When a group is crazed, it spreads like a virus. And even if you're not lost in the moment, just being lost in the crowd means you have to run with them or fear being trampled yourself.

I don't celebrate Christmas for any kind of religious reason. In all honesty, if my family didn't celebrate I might not at all. But it does mean something to my family. And the most important thing about the holiday IS family. Being together is what matters most. It may sound corny, but we're adults now and can realize that the reason holidays are important isn't about amassing more shit you don't need. It's about spending time with people you love, maybe sharing a tradition that you value. But is it really worth getting up at 3am to wrestle a Blue Ray player out of some old woman's hands?

Before you blame stores from not protecting us from ourselves, we should question our own motives. Don't let companies sell you a sad lifestyle, where you always have to keep up with the latest and greatest, because it won't ever happen. And don't be tricked to think your friends and family will love you any less if you gift is not all of it could have been. Sometimes it really is the thought that counts, so long as that thought is sincere.

Next year I hope you'll join me in staying home on Black Friday. And those of you who work in retail, remember to take care of yourself. Sadly, someone isn't always looking out for you, even at Christmas.
Read more: http://www.blogdoctor.me/2007/02/expandable-post-summaries.html#ixzz1Ygp5vxLJ

1 comment:

  1. I second that and am happy to say I spent my black friday in bed, not in line.

    ReplyDelete

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