Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday indeed

Crazed shoppers at a Wal-Mart on Long Island trampled a worker to death as he tried to stop the unruly crowd from entering in a mob. Good lord. What the hell is the matter with people? Apparently a pregnant woman also got knocked to the floor. (Though there are conflicting reports, I believe the accurate report is that she is fine and still pregnant.) And when emergency responders tried to help the dying man, they were also pushed and shoved by the jackasses who cared more about saving a few dollars on a dvd player than the lives of their fellow humans.

Black Friday has never been more aptly named. And it needs to stop. Today should be the last day after Thanksgiving ever of ridiculous sales and early morning openings and lines of rabid crowds competing to get one of the 20 Wiis inside. I always thought it was an ugly display that brought out the worst of people's stinginess and greed, but this is so beyond that, there are no words. It's despicable, barbaric, heinous, atrocious, and cruel.

When the shopping on Black Friday stops being about spreading holiday cheer and buying nice gifts for people but instead becomes a mob scene, it's time to rethink Black Friday. How about stores go back to opening at their regular times, offering sales that will go on all weekend? People can show up at the store when they want, no one has to wait in lines, and maybe no one will wind up dead.


dmarks said...

I like the 24-hour stores. Many of the Walmarts are open 24 hours, so maybe this one was too. In that case, why couldn't they just sell the stuff since it was there anyway? Instead of waiting for the one special time on the clock?

The whole thing with the mob reminds me of a quote: "A person is smart, but people are stupid". I think it is from Men in Black, but I am not sure. No one person would stampede like this, but once there is a wild crowd, watch out.

S said...

I hadn't thought about the 24 hour stores. I wonder how they do handle the sales prices beginning at 5 aspect. But this particular store was definitely unlocking doors at 5, which is how this unfortunate man died.

I think your quote is right on the mark! Collectively, we kind of lose our minds.

Lisa Johnson said...

People do seem to lose their minds in crowds. That's one of the reasons I try to avoid them. I think the same thing happened last year. This is definitely not a good trend. Hopefully next year retailers will make some changes.

kristen said...

The story you mentioned and the one about someone getting shot at another sale make me so sad. Deals are not worth dying, killing or hurting...Kind of makes me happy that we don't do black friday in Canada.

Dan said...

You cannot blame a crowd for acting like a crowd. the fault lies in WalMart and the local police for poor crowd control. They have ordered lines for concerts, sporting events, etc. Don't they think they need crowd control at the door of a store where only the first 10 people in will get a chance to buy the $80 toy for $20? And lets face it, when it comes to Christmas for people with limited means, a little pushing and shoving is nothing in the names of their kids. And when 100 people do a little pushing and shoving each, then either the doors break or the people closest to them get killed on the outside.

And as for people not stopping shopping when the store was "closed", was it announced over the loudspeaker that the store was closed because someone was dead, or was some phoney reason given, (like "due to unruly customers" or "computer malfunctions")

Its sad. But unless you have a plan in place to control the crowd (which I've seen no evidence that they had), the crowd will act like a crowd. Someone flips the lights on at 4:50, people are going to press the door, someone at the back of the crowd thinks people are getting in the store, nudged the person in front, and a chain reaction is started.

You'd think after videos from past "doorbusters" (gee, when did that word change from a description of a tragedy to an event, and now back to a tragedy?) Wal Mart would invest in a temporary security guard and some velvet rope to insure people enter the store at an orderly pace. Oh, but that'd cost money. Sorry, I guess that $9.99 toaster would now cost $10.07.

S said...

Dan, it's my understanding that the announcement to the shoppers was that there had been a death.

I agree that the problem doesn't lie as much with the individual people in the crowd as it does with the stores that hold these sales, especially if they do not have adequate procedures in place to keep things organized and civilized. If they can't keep their employees and shoppers safe, they need to rethink the whole Black Friday concept.

ambimb said...

Next year you could always make "black friday" into Buy Nothing Day.

S said...

I love the idea of Buy Nothing Day, but the reality for me is that Friday is generally the only day my mom and I have that we can go Christmas shopping together. But we NEVER go before about 11:30 and we're not looking for deals so much as we're looking to share ideas for gifts for my sister and dad. This year, I only bought two things: one gift for my dad that Mom suggested and a package of socks for myself.

BTW, ambimb, thanks for stepping up on PD Stuff! I hadn't even realized how far removed I'd become from my fellow PD bloggers.

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