If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday Madness

This is disturbing on so many levels and I'm having a hard time getting it out of my head. Now this is also disturbing, especially since they both happened on Black Friday, but it is the Wal-Mart story that really grabs me.

I think because to me it says that people in our country feel their right to buy cheap "stuff" is so inalienable that consequences be damned. We are so afraid of the falling/failing economy that instead of curtailing our purchasing frenzy we start lining up at 9 pm on the night of a major holiday for a chance at a sale.

Now people are blaming Wal-Mart for the lack of security and I'm certainly not one to let Wal-Mart off the hook, but is it really the lack of security guards that is the issue here? Why do we need to open stores at 5 am on Black Friday? But more importantly why are so many people lined up by 3:30 am that the police need to be called? And why are people so impatient by 4:55 am people that they feel the need to bang and press on the doors? Another article reported customers chanting "push them in." Really? They couldn't wait 5 more minutes? Is this our Christmas spirit?

It particularly bothers me that the man who lost his life serving Wal-Mart was a temporary employee. But I think the part that took me over the edge was that after it happened people did not want to clear the store, stating that they had been on line since the day before. I guess our right to shop exceeds the rights of others to live.


post-doc said...

I found the story very disturbing - terribly sad for the poor man and remarkably telling for what people are capable of doing for cheap stuff. I've always disliked Black Friday for this very reason - the mob mentality seems a lot closer - and more threatening - than normal.

Hilaire said...

Yes - *such* an upsetting story. This is the kind of thing that makes me feel like the world has tipped over some edge and there is no return.

And i wonder how the people who wanted to keep shopping live with themselves.

k8 said...

This was really horrible. I should be shocked but I'm not. People do horrible things to people they know - that they would be this callous towards someone they didn't know doesn't surprise me.

I probably sound very cynical. I knew (at least abstractly) at a fairly young age about these things because of my mom's work in child protective services.

fwiw, I have never shopped (except maybe a brief trip to the grocery) during the weekend following Thanksgiving. It just isn't worth it.